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Thanks for the Memories!

Alan Rooks
By Alan Rooks Editor in Chief, Manufacturing Engineering

Well, the time has come to take down my shingle, hang up my spikes, pick up my gold watch and head out to the old fishing hole (wait a minute, I don’t fish!).

Yes, it’s time for me to retire.

I’ve been part of the magazine business for 40-plus years as a writer and editor, banging away on manual typewriters, IBM Selectrics, early Compaq portables and now a laptop computer. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Well, maybe not every minute, but most of them. Writing, editing and managing the magazine production process has been my life’s work, and it’s been great fun. I’ve written about countless topics, interviewed a lot of smart people, worked with incredible editorial teams and traveled the country and the world as part of my work.

But like many people my age, there is another life out there for me and I’d like to get started on it, so it’s time to say farewell to SME, Manufacturing Engineering and my career. I’ve spent nearly my entire career as a business journalist, covering several industries, from food distribution to papermaking and finally metalworking.

I’ve had the pleasure of writing about metalworking for more than 15 years, including the last five-plus years at ME. It’s given me the opportunity to take a look inside this proud, highly productive and innovative industry. And I’ve met many wonderful people along the way.

I’d like to thank SME and my boss, Dave O’Neil, for giving me the opportunity to serve as editor in chief of ME, making it the capstone of my career. I’d also like to thank all my great colleagues at SME, especially the writers, editors, designers, digital producers and operations professionals who do such a great job of producing top-notch publications and the SME web site. And I’d like to thank you, the readers, for your loyal support of print publishing. I hope the magazines I’ve worked on over the years have helped bolster the industries they’ve served and helped develop a sense of community among the people for whom manufacturing is their life’s work.

I’ll be hanging around until the end of January, so feel free to reach out if you are so inclined at, and I’ll stay active on LinkedIn as well. I hope our paths will cross again sometime, and in the meantime, if anyone has any leads on a used rocking chair, please let me know!

This farewell has probably gone on long enough, but I thought I’d leave you with these words from one of my favorite artists, Bob Dylan, who in addition to being a folk artist turned rock-and-roller is also a Nobel laureate. It’s from what I think is one of his greatest songs, “Forever Young.” I quoted another part of this song at events when my kids were young, but this passage seems appropriate now:

May your hands always be busy

May your feet always be swift

May you have a strong foundation

When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful

May your song always be sung

And may you stay

Forever young

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