(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Be The Beatles for Someone

Nov. 4, 2014
John, Paul, George and Ringo inspired generations of people with their excellence. Of such inspiration careers are made.

Earlier this year showbiz celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I’m old enough to remember that appearance. Their music and their appearance influenced a new generation of fans around the world and helped shape pop culture.

Humans are social beings, so we influence each other—some for good and others—not so much. And even pop culture influences can go deeper than just entertainment. The Beatles entertained America, but they were also a symbol of freedom for young Russians growing up in the Soviet Union. The Beatles inspired this generation to do whatever they could to get their hands on music their government banned. Some went as far as to make bootleg Beatles recordings on discarded X-ray film!  

Our own personal influences say a lot about who we are and what we become. Rarely do we get a chance to acknowledge and thank them for what they’ve meant to us. When we do, it’s usually at a career turning point like one I’ve just reached.

I’ve accepted a position with an industry marketing firm and am using this, my final blog post for MH&L, to acknowledge those who helped get me to this point.

First on my list is you—the professional seeking to advance in his or her own career. Since the dawn of the 20th century and the birth of new industries, the thirst for continuous education among people employed in those industries has inspired journalists to seek careers feeding that knowledge. On behalf of my colleagues in the business media, thank you for helping us get to know you and how you contribute to the well-being of global commerce.

Bernie and me in 1984

Next I need to mention Penton, the media company that brings you this blog and has been the professional home to industrial journalists since industry began. My career began here in 1980, when the late, great Bernie Knill—one of the pioneers of material handling journalism and editor of MH&L’s predecessor, Material Handling Engineering—took a chance on hiring a kid fresh out of college holding an English degree.  Bernie was one of those rare industry journalists who knew not only what his audience wanted to know, but also what they needed to know. Over his 40-plus-year tenure that included the need for better powered industrial truck operator training (for the safety of his readers) and the need to teach bureaucratic regulators unjustly fining new businesses the difference between an elevator and a vertical reciprocating conveyor (for the sanity of his readers). Bernie made a difference with his career and made mine and many others possible.

Perry Trunick

Next there were Perry Trunick and Bob Eck, the editor and the publisher of Transportation & Distribution, MHE’s sister publication in those days. They hired me back to Penton after I went elsewhere for a while. Their mentorship gave me a deeper understanding of freight transportation and logistics.

Dave and me at some industry event in the 90s

Then there were Dave Blanchard, Pat Panchak and John DiPaola, who together headed up Penton’s Manufacturing and Supply Chain Group of publications, who hired me back to Penton yet again after another departure. Together we created Material Handling & Logistics, the fusion of its predecessors: MHE, Material Handling Management, Transportation & Distribution and Logistics Today. It was Dave’s spiritual and industrial wisdom, Pat’s editorial leadership and John’s business savvy that helped us make MH&L the award-winning publication it is—both online and in-print.

I look forward to joining you as a reader of MH&L and seeing how Dave and Pat take it to greater heights as an industry influencer.

Will I ever come back to Penton for another encore?

I’ll close with another memory from the Ed Sullivan Show. Yiddish humorist Myron Cohen was a frequent guest. On one of these appearances Mr. Cohen told this story:

One night at La Scala an opera singer was called back on stage for seven encores of an aria. Finally he had to tell the crowd he was running out of energy. Suddenly someone in the audience yelled, “You gonna sing-a dat thing until you get it right!"

I’m taking my act on the road once again. If by the time I reach the end of that road I’ve influenced anyone along the way as my heroes have influenced me, I’ll know I got it right.

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