Even without a round number, 2007 can be a milestone year

At the end of the year, we spend a lot of time to take stock of what has been gained and lost in the preceding 12 months. In 2006, there has been much to tally up on both sides of that equation. Looking back is useful for historians – and in a way, magazine editors are historians. Looking back gives us perspective on where we've been, and a foundation to build for the future.
By Bob Vavra, Editor December 1, 2006

At the end of the year, we spend a lot of time to take stock of what has been gained and lost in the preceding 12 months. In 2006, there has been much to tally up on both sides of that equation.

Looking back is useful for historians %%MDASSML%% and in a way, magazine editors are historians. Looking back gives us perspective on where we’ve been, and a foundation to build for the future.

The truly optimistic among us %%MDASSML%% and magazine editors are also optimistic types %%MDASSML%% also like to look forward. Optimism gives us hope that however far we’ve come, however much progress we’ve made, there’s always more wonders around the next corner.

When you look back, you gain perspective; when you look ahead, you gain hope. Plant Engineering will do both in 2007, as this magazine turns 60 years old.

For some reason, historians like round numbers. It may be because we have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Or maybe it’s just because the math is easier. In any event, we treat decades of achievement %%MDASSML%% life, business, publishing %%MDASSML%% with a greater sense of awe. Having celebrated what I refer to as a ’round-numbered birthday’ in 2006, I can also tell you it was treated with a certain sense of “Aw…” by my friends and relatives. As in, “Aw, he doesn’t look SO bad…”

Plant Engineering looks great for 60 years old, and gets better each year. We will mark our 60th birthday with a series of stories and events that will put what has happened to the magazine, what has happened to this profession and what has happened to manufacturing into some kind of perspective. That’s a useful exercise, because as we have already found in our research, so much has changed, and so very much has stayed the same.

I invite your participation in this celebration as well. One thing Plant Engineering has always been about is sharing ideas and suggestions on how to do the work a little better every day. Your thoughts on how this profession has changed and evolved over the years, and photographs of plants and people from the last 60 years will be part of that coverage in the coming 12 months. My e-mail box at BVavra@cfemedia.com is always open.

We also want to look ahead to the next 60 years. How will American manufacturing change? More important, how should it change? I welcome your thoughts on that as well. What challenges do we need to confront today so that when our grandchildren look back at this time, they will see that instead of the world changing us, we changed the world.

It’s possible, you know. It was just 60 years ago that a group of intrepid people created Plant Engineering magazine. Look how far we’ve all come in such a short time. Even without a round number, 1947 was a milestone year in manufacturing.

As we turn the page toward 2007, we can resolve to make this another milestone year for manufacturing.