UpFront: Closing Time
By Brian J. Hogan
On April 11, my birthday, I turned 68 years old. This fact has led me to certain conclusions. First, I will never play strong safety for the Bears. The dream is over. Second, when it comes to working on deadline, I have had the adult dose, plus a good bit, and that is about enough. I appear to have enough money saved to provide a modest long-term income and, accordingly, I have decided to retire from my position as Editor of Manufacturing Engineering.
I have always regarded my writing and editing as being done for the readers of this magazine, and I’ve attempted to write, commission, and edit articles that you might find interesting and useful. I hope that in your eyes—from time to time—that goal has been met.
Manufacturing truly matters to all the nations of the world. As I’ve pointed out before, manufacturing is the specialized field of endeavor that translates the ideas of designers and pure scientists into material objects—products—that can be used by human beings. Industrial society is based upon manufacturing, defined as the application of technology and human intelligence to the production of useful goods of all sorts. The superficial and the silly among us view manufacturing as a polluting, old-fashioned activity for the intellectually inferior, and assume that society can prosper without it. They are quite wrong. We walk and drive every day through an environment created by manufacturing and manufactured products. Eliminate manufacturing and the human consequences will be grim. I have no wish to abandon the industrial revolution and find myself living in the eighteenth century.
Amidst the economic and political turmoil of these days, it’s my hope that you’ll remember there are really three ways to generate wealth—mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. Every other sort of enterprise, when one digs down to the foundations, rests upon these activities.
Much of the industrialized world can be compared to the façade of a building. Lots of lights, glitter, interesting shapes and colors; but behind the façade is the structure that supports the building, and carries all the loads that the building encounters. Manufacturing is a vital part of that structure. You have every right to be proud of your career as a manufacturing professional.
It was a great privilege to have been, for a time, a small part of your world. And now, as I prepare to go into the wind, I extend to you my best wishes, and a most affectionate farewell.
This article was first published in the May 2011 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.