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On Process, Progress and Parting

Dec. 9, 2021
An unrelenting focus on unrelenting improvement drives manufacturing and publishing.

Normally, our “Parting Words” column is reserved for some final observation or nugget of wisdom Jill Jusko picked up over the quarter just to wrap up the issue. Parting words for this edition, until the next parting words.

But this time, I’m taking over the space to flex the column title a bit more broadly—my parting words after a very long, very satisfying tenure at IndustryWeek.

Which is a hard thing to write, honestly.

My entire career has revolved around IW—starting as an intern almost exactly 21 years ago, then as the technology editor during the rise of Big Data and IoT, and finally as chief editor.

This journey wasn’t nearly as neat and linear as it sounds when I put it like that, though—there was plenty of time spent on other media brands, in other careers and pursuing odd degrees all throughout.

But I always came back to IW. Always. Because I could never shake it. Because it turned me on to something real, something relevant, some vital in the world I could never manage to turn off. I don’t mean manufacturing—I come from a manufacturing family, so that light has always been on. And I don’t mean technology, as endlessly cool as it is.

No, it’s something more philosophical. The sense of process. The drive for continuous improvement. The rejection of stasis.

Way back in those intern days, I overheard a conversation between Jill Jusko and then chief editor Pat Panchak—or was it my mentor John McClenahen?—about root-cause analysis, about looking past the problem to find (and correct) the process that created it.

I have absolutely no idea why they were talking about it or why I was eavesdropping. I’m not even clear on how much of that conversation I’m making up. But it changed my life.

After, I poured my attention into IndustryWeek, into the manufacturing mindset, and found this model at play everywhere. I found a whole world of people who lived in the long-term, who dedicated their attention to machinations, on processes, on rooting out problems at the source. I found the driver for continuous improvement. I found the model for resiliency, for flexibility, for success and progress and efficiency.

And I was hooked.

This, to me, is what is so special about IW: this unrelenting focus on unrelenting improvement, on the deep philosophies guiding pragmatic actions, on the people and the minds that drive it all. As my career now pulls me to another role here at Endeavor Business Media, that perspective comes with me. Not that I have any choice—the process-focused, continuous improvement mindset of the manufacturing world is firmly a part of me now. As is the family I have found in the IW team.

But I leave you in good hands. The IndustryWeek editors are the best folks I’ve ever known, and Robert Schoenberger’s time in the chief seat will be marked with untold new adventures and growth. There is much in store for this brand and an amazing future ahead.

My job now is just to take all these hard-earned lessons and put them to good use in my new seat here, to spread the gospel of IndustryWeek and the manufacturing world to all the brands I serve. All that’s left now is this: Thank you. Thank you for all you do for the world, for all the lessons you share with us, for continuing to read and engage with this powerful brand. This has been an incredible chapter in my life—thank you for sharing it with me.

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