Legacy: John S. McClenahen

Feb. 7, 2007
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.

About the Author

John McClenahen | Former Senior Editor, IndustryWeek

 John S. McClenahen, is an occasional essayist on the Web site of IndustryWeek, the executive management publication from which he retired in 2006. He began his journalism career as a broadcast journalist at Westinghouse Broadcasting’s KYW in Cleveland, Ohio. In May 1967, he joined Penton Media Inc. in Cleveland and in September 1967 was transferred to Washington, DC, the base from which for nearly 40 years he wrote primarily about national and international economics and politics, and corporate social responsibility.
      McClenahen, a native of Ohio now residing in Maryland, is an award-winning writer and photographer. He is the author of three books of poetry, most recently An Unexpected Poet (2013), and several books of photographs, including Black, White, and Shades of Grey (2014). He also is the author of a children’s book, Henry at His Beach (2014).
      His photograph “Provincetown: Fog Rising 2004” was selected for the Smithsonian Institution’s 2011 juried exhibition Artists at Work and displayed in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., from June until October 2011. Five of his photographs are in the collection of St. Lawrence University and displayed on campus in Canton, New York.
      John McClenahen’s essay “Incorporating America: Whitman in Context” was designated one of the five best works published in The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies during the twelve-year editorship of R. Barry Leavis of Rollins College. John McClenahen’s several journalism prizes include the coveted Jesse H. Neal Award. He also is the author of the commemorative poem “Upon 50 Years,” celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Wolfson College Cambridge, and appearing in “The Wolfson Review.”
      John McClenahen received a B.A. (English with a minor in government) from St. Lawrence University, an M.A., (English) from Western Reserve University, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University, where he also pursued doctoral studies. At St. Lawrence University, he was elected to academic honor societies in English and government and to Omicron Delta Kappa, the University’s highest undergraduate honor. John McClenahen was a participant in the 32nd Annual Wharton Seminars for Journalists at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During the Easter Term of the 1986 academic year, John McClenahen was the first American to hold a prestigious Press Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.
      John McClenahen has served on the Editorial Board of Confluence: The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies and was co-founder and first editor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown. He has been a volunteer researcher on the William Steinway Diary Project at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and has been an assistant professorial lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


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