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What a Magazine Means to Readers: The Sequel

Alan Rooks
By Alan Rooks Editor in Chief, Manufacturing Engineering

In my October Up front column, I wrote about an email I had received from Steve Wenning, who was retiring and told me about how much he used Manufacturing Engineering throughout his career. I enjoyed corresponding with Steve, particularly since I don’t often receive direct feedback from readers.

Then I received another email from a reader of the October column, and he related how he has used the magazine. My first thought was, “Great! Here’s another column that’s already half written!” But seriously, folks, we editors like to hear about how our work is used by the people we write for. Full disclosure: the email was from Phil Waldrop, LSME, CSTM, who is on the SME Member Council (SME is the publisher of ME). I should also mention that Phil is a Ph.D. and Professor (Retired/Adjunct online instructor) for the Departments of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, College of Engineering & Computing, at Georgia Southern University. In layman’s terms, he knows what he’s talking about!

Here’s Phil: “I enjoyed (as usual) your ‘Up Front’ column and want to comment that the magazine has been a very important resource over the past decades of my work both in manufacturing engineering and manufacturing education. The breadth and depth of articles have provided me with a lot of insights and reference material. The latest information is important in keeping current (there is probably an electrical engineering joke there, but I digress...). If we all depended on books we’d be far out of date as time passes. In teaching about manufacturing technologies, I use books, but to keep the courses up-to-date I revise the reading assignments and lecture materials by incorporating information on new and emerging technologies and methods.

“One can debate the definition of ‘expertise’, but I know from direct experience that the solution to a problem may come from simply having read a recent article in an industry publication such as Manufacturing Engineering. I once solved a machining problem that plagued the production of critical aerospace components. My having read about a particular specialty process, and thus having basic awareness of its applications and advantages, allowed me to recommend it as a possible solution—which it turned out to be. Having at least an awareness of possible solutions is a major component of successful problem solving. ME’s broad scope of content allows countless professionals to develop their own expertise, which in turn enhances their careers and the success of their employers. Thanks for this great resource.”

Thanks, Phil, for the vote of confidence. I liked your comment about how magazines are a necessary corollary to books, since the former can explain the most recent technologies. The ME editorial staff is constantly searching for what’s new and what’s important, and we’re grateful for long-time readers like Phil—and for those who are reading us for the first time. We hope you enjoy the technology journey as much as we do.

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