Before it's Too Late, Appreciate


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Most of you have probably read my writing before, many of you know who I am and a fair number of you have met me face to face. Now you will have the opportunity to get to know me on a more personal level that is difficult to communicate in the authoritative style of my typical articles.

I have been presented the opportunity to share my experiences in this space on a monthly basis, and I plan to use this forum to communicate my views of the industry while opening up more about my experiences and how they may fit into yours. By sharing this information, I trust that you will learn more about me, find common interests of conversation (whether you agree or disagree), and feel freer to approach me to further discuss these topics. It’s my turn to share my experiences; I hope they are meaningful to you.

Opening this line of communication can be beneficial to all of our readers as I learn more about what is important to you and I share more of this relevant content through other editorial outlets such as feature articles, Tech Briefs, blog posts and e-newsletter columns.

Perhaps I should provide a little bit of background about myself. After graduating with a degree in technical writing and editing, I began my career in the metalworking field as an editor with our sister magazine, Modern Machine Shop. Early responsibilities included editing product news releases and case studies as well as management of the annual Buyer’s Guide. As I continued to take on more production responsibilities, I quickly gained familiarity with most of the big names in the industry. Although I had a lot of respect for the metalworking field and loved my company, I suppose I was too young and naïve to appreciate what I had.

After 7 years with Gardner Business Media, I decided I should try something new. Coinciding with the birth of my second child, I started my own marketing business (with a home office). Through the mid to late 90s, I helped companies develop their first websites. These were still early days in the life of the Internet, so timing was good, and I was able to team with a small computer networking firm to quickly expand these services. Although things were going well, something seemed to be missing, and I felt a need to move on once again.

I tried my hand at a few other jobs during the next several years, including positions as a client manager for an online research company, a writing instructor at a local college, and an editor for a marketing agency. I never was able to find my groove, though, until I got the call from Production Machining Editor-in-Chief Chris Koepfer. The magazine was looking for an associate editor, and Chris thought I would be a good fit.

So I found my way back to where it all started for me, and almost 9 years into the role now, I’m still so thankful for the opportunity to return. Maybe it comes with age or experience or both. Maybe I had to see what life was like outside of Gardner and the metalworking industry to entirely appreciate what life on the inside holds.

I’m sure that while I was away, I learned some things and matured in certain ways for the benefit of both Gardner and myself. But I also know that my work, at no other time in my life, has been as fulfilling as it has been while in this field.

I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I have a role in sharing important information that helps shops improve their businesses, therefore, doing my part to help strengthen U.S. manufacturing in general. While my personal contributions may be relatively small, I know that I make a difference in a critical industry that in some way affects every person, whether they realize it or not.

It’s this appreciation for my work, my co-workers, our company, our readers, and the combined difference we all make that I feel is important to recognize. Look around you. Your situation may not seem ideal, but be sure about your goals before making a change. You might already be in the right place and only need a refresher about why you should appreciate it.