Heck of a Ride

The German philosopher and poet Goethe said:Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

I can’t believe that it has been five years since Dave Harvey, Jane Gerold and I gathered in the conference room in the Summit Publishing offices on the 24th floor of the IBM Building in Chicago to put together a new magazine. Dave took that one moment to commit himself—then he convinced Jane and me to make the commitment, too. Dave told us about the idea of a new magazine, and Jane and I spent a month batting e-mail messages back and forth like tennis balls with ideas of what would make a new magazine work.

In less than a month of, shall we say, “animated” discussions starting with the ideas Jane and I had developed, we had put together the target market, target readers we wished to serve, a marketing plan, an editorial calendar and the ever-present Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Dave had lots of ideas about innovative business methods, while Jane and I laid out an innovative editorial plan. We announced our start at the ARC Forum in Orlando in February 2003, kicked off the plan at National Manufacturing Week in March and published the first issue in June.

Growing the team

We knew the team had to expand, so on the business side, Jim Powers joined as the ace sales person. My background was in technology and the actual workings of the industry, so I needed someone who could define the editorial style and policies. So we got Wes Iversen as managing editor to complement my weaknesses. Then we needed a good art director. Mike Bedenian showed up with a portfolio of trade journal work—then showed an extra bonus of work with an upper-class consumer magazine. I told him I wanted to apply the consumer look to the trade journal genre, and the look of Automation World was born.

This core group is still with the magazine—sometimes with slightly shifting roles as the needs of the company change. We’ve recently added another great sales person with lots of ideas about what works in media, in Glen Gudino. We needed to expand our Web presence and hired Grant Gerke as digital managing editor to boost that part of the magazine. On the ad services and production side, we were able to get George Shurtleff. We have a group of contributing editors who bring much experience of reporting on the industry. Rob Spiegel and Kenna Amos have been with us since the beginning. And along the way, we’ve picked up Terry Costlow, Greg Farnum, Dave Gehman and James Koelsch. That’s the current team that brings Automation World to you every month. The stability and commitment of the team is gratifying, making this the best place I’ve ever worked.

I’m still passionate about the industry we cover and believe that we’re on the cutting edge of making manufacturing a competitive advantage for companies around the world. We’ve done Webcasts, podcasts, blogs, RSS and more. We’re still exploring all the cool new media ways to bring relevant information to you in ways you can use. Look for even more blogs, plus videos, twitters and whatever other technology pops up. I love feedback and ideas. Be part of the conversation by sending a message to gmintchell@automationworld.com
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