Legacy: John S. McClenahen

Legacy: John S. McClenahen

Much about manufacturing.

When IndustryWeek launched in 1970, John S. McClenahen had already been on the job as our Washington correspondent for three years, reporting for our predecessor, Steel magazine. As of this issue, though, John will be retiring from IndustryWeek. His immediate plan is to pursue a doctorate degree.

Having covered manufacturing for 40 years, John knows as much (and probably more) about the industry's ups and downs as anybody else, so we asked him to share some parting observations. John's service to IndustryWeek, as well as the manufacturing industry, has been auspicious, and he will be missed.

Much about manufacturing has changed during the past 40 years, most notably the dramatic and often disruptive integration of U.S. manufacturing with manufacturing in developed and developing economies elsewhere in the world. Much about manufacturing remains unfinished, notably employment opportunity, employee involvement and environmental stewardship.

John S. McClenahen (center), flanked by IndustryWeek editors-in-chief past and present: from left, Stan Modic, Pat Panchak, Dave Blanchard and John Brandt.
I leave these pages with three major concerns. I am concerned about imperious executives and managers in manufacturing who demand trust and respect but earn neither. I am concerned about leaders in manufacturing and elsewhere who continue to attack the messengers rather than pay attention to the content of the messages. I am concerned about a public education system in the U.S. that emphasizes testing over critical and creative thinking. The nation and its manufacturing sector ultimately will suffer.

I leave these pages with these concerns but not with despair. There are thousands of people in manufacturing each day taking initiatives, encouraging innovation and improving their worlds of work. And, at a level of excellence unequaled elsewhere in business-to-business media, my colleagues at IndustryWeek will continue to keep you informed. To my now former colleagues and to you, thanks for letting me be a part of your world.

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