I've been spending a little time reading through the forum, lots of information and lots of posts here.
Remembering back on the exact years is tough, but I started at TRACO shortly before Al Bartz left, so around 1963 to 1964. I was there when "Skipper", George Bolthoff started, in about 1965. I had little experience so I offered to do whatever they required, Frank Coon handed me a push broom and asked if I knew how to use it, I started sweeping the floor and he immediately said "let me show you how to do it properly", which he then did, after that I learned "the proper way" to do everything that Jim and Frank could teach a punk kid. I left TRACO for a year to set up Roy Woods engine shop, then returned and finally left for good in the early 70's. The last engines I built were for the Penske AMC Matador NASCAR project and the IROC chevys. Over that time frame I probably built and rebuilt 400+ Chevys, 75+ AMC's, a few dozen Fords, a few Pontiac's, a few Ferrari V-12's and countless sets of Chevy heads.
After I was there for a few months, the person building the heads left (he was named Willy I think) and I took over the job, after many months of training that is. I built the heads for a few years, along with other work as needed, always learning. Walking down the isle to the bathroom one day, covered in Cast Iron dust from grinding valve seats, Walter Howell "Davy Crocket" made some cutting remark about my appearance as I passed by his assembly area where he was oiling the cylinders on a block he'd just cleaned, so I walked up to him and jumped up in place once, the Cast Iron dust from my shop coat covered the area in a black cloud, the entire shop fell silent waiting for the punch, he stood there for a moment staring at his freshly cleaned and oiled block, now covered in dust, then pointed at me and yelled "PIGPEN", then everyone in the building laughingly yelled it as well, so it stuck.
To my knowledge, Lockerman's was the only Port and Polish shop that TRACO used, he was fast and did a very good job. We selected the new head castings, did some machining in the chambers, then scribed over blue die the outlines of the ports. Lockerman usually picked up a lot of 10 to 30 heads at a time and more would be ready when he delivered them. I never saw anyone at TRACO attempt to Port and Polish heads.
Edit: Missed the part about "Hot Rod Alley". That term was coined before I started there, TRACO, Hilborn, Narin , Iskenderian and probably more were located there. Across the alley was a large dirt parking lot for Hughes Aircraft, caused some problems for us when the wind blew, so we used it as a dumping ground for all our used oil, lots of oil, sort of cheap asphalt. I pitied the Hughes workers getting into their cars with all that mess.
Sorry if I'm rambling on some, it's been a lot of years and millions of miles on multiple continents ago, a lifetime ago, so I'm proding the old grey matter a lot.