Celebrate Enlightenment

Celebrate Enlightenment

MH&L's 2014 Innovators are both merry and bright. Share in the joy of their success.

As we reach the end of another year and look forward to the next, it's useful to take inventory. What did we accomplish? What did we fail to accomplish? What mistakes did we make? How did we correct those mistakes?

December is a good time to audit, edit, simplify—and celebrate. This year-end edition of MH&L is dedicated to all of those things—especially that last one. Our annual Innovation Awards recognize companies whose improvement stories have appeared in our pages in the past year and impressed our Editorial Advisory Board with their successes on several levels. Simplicity, customer-focus, labor savings and technology application are among the aspects of innovation we're celebrating the most among this year's winners. Congratulations to GE Aviation, Silver Eagle Distributors, Goya Foods and Urban Outfitters for measuring up on all those counts. We're revisiting those stories that inspired us so you can share in our recognition of their excellence.

Then, to get you started on your list of 2015 MAKE, STORE, MOVE and COMPETE resolutions, our features in those categories will help you focus on getting leaner, safer, better informed and more organized. By working on such improvements we'll be ready for the opportunities that lay ahead. I'm not just speaking in the "royal we," either. I'm right there with you in that resolve to take on new challenges. In fact it leads me to make this bittersweet announcement:

This is my last issue as editor of MH&L.

Just when I thought I was too old to take my career in a new direction, an opportunity presented itself recently and I decided to welcome it into my life. The good news for me is that I won't be leaving the topic of material handling entirely. That's impossible. If you're going to be writing about industrial processes, you'll be writing about the circulatory system of those processes and that happens to be called material handling and logistics. I'll just be doing that on the corporate side rather than the business media side.

Before leaving this page of my career, however, I want to acknowledge the people who brought me to it in the first place—and the second and third places as well.

In the first place was the late, great Bernie Knill, the editor of this magazine when it was Material Handling Engineering from the late 1950s to the dawn of this millennium. Bernie introduced me to this art and science called material handling in 1980 and taught me everything I know about selecting and covering stories that are important to our readers. Over the years those stories have included powered industrial truck operator training, occupational safety education and regulatory risk management.

The second person I'd like to acknowledge for my material handling & logistics education is Perry Trunick. He brought me back to these disciplines after my leaving the field for a while to pursue other opportunities. Perry was editor of Transportation & Distribution at the time and he hired me as a senior editor of that pub. Perry broadened my horizons beyond the four walls of factories and warehouses and taught me to respect the awesome responsibility that comes with being a supply chain manager. The experience I gained under his watch gave me a fighting chance to succeed Bernie as editor of MHE in 2000 and to make a go of running its successor, Material Handling Management.

Opportunity knocked for me five years later and I left to follow it yet again for another five years until mentor number three called me back home—this time to manage the transition from MHM to MH&L. Long-time colleague Dave Blanchard, this magazine's editorial director and a key member of IndustryWeek's editorial staff, brought me in to do for MH&L what Bernie and Perry did for me: break material handling out of its silos and let it flow where it needed to go: out into the world of supply chain management.

Now that Dave and I have been at the controls of MH&L's online and in-print presence for almost five years now, I've decided to give Dave the wheel so I can take my career in a new direction. And though I may be moving on to another industry, I'll continue to draw from the experience of working with Bernie, Perry and Dave over these many years. Their enlightenment has influenced not only the MH&L brand, but who I am as a professional and as a human being. And I'm confident you will continue to enjoy their influence as you follow MH&L into a new era.

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