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A Plumb-Good Fit?

By Steve Plumb Senior Editor, SME Media
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Steve Plumb

It’s my pleasure to join SME as a senior editor for SME Media and Manufacturing Engineering, the trade organization’s flagship publication.

As a longtime automotive journalist, I’ve admired SME as a leading voice and advocate for the advancement of manufacturing, as well as the association’s premier educational programs, renowned events and other member-oriented services. Up until now, however, I’ve been more of a passive bystander—and avid consumer—of SME’s knowledge base.

Now, I’m firmly in the trenches. Literally. My formal tenure began with this issue of ME, much of which was largely completed before I came on board, and last month’s RAPID + TCT show in Detroit. The latter was quite an eye-opener. It not only showcased the latest advances in additive manufacturing—including hundreds of exhibitors and expert panelists—the event also underscored the breadth of SME’s capabilities.

I had the opportunity to meet dozens of colleagues and showgoers, many of whom I interviewed as part of SME’s “Voices AMplified” platform that highlights the people—and their stories—behind 3D printing’s innovative machinery, materials, and finished products. It was a learning experience (to put it mildly), which I look forward to continuing in the coming months.

A little about myself: As a native Detroiter, it’s not surprising that the bulk of my career has been tied to the auto industry. I’ve had the good fortune to work on some of the leading pubs—learning from the best editors—while covering just about every aspect of the business, from new car launches and the latest product technologies and materials to management, marketing, and labor relations.

Fear not, my reporter’s notebook also has plenty of manufacturing stories—including additive, automation, and Industry 4.0. But, needless to say, I have a lot to learn. Luckily, I landed among a team of dedicated industry veterans, including scores of outstanding contributors. Unfortunately, my arrival coincides with Senior Technical Editor Bruce Morey’s retirement. In the short time I worked with him, I quickly grew to appreciate Bruce’s value and unbounded enthusiasm.

On a more personal note, it’s with great sadness to report the loss of my dad, Charles “Dick” Plumb, who died last month at the age of 97. I owe much of my success to him, having followed in his footsteps as a reporter, editor, and, albeit briefly, into the realm of corporate communications. Thankfully, I was able to share the news of my new job with him, but I can only hope to live up to the example he set.

To this end, I’m reminded of my grandfather. He was a man of many hats, including small-town mayor, probate judge and the owner of a pioneering five-and-dime store. He also had a knack for words, including this slogan: “A Plumb-good store, in a Plumb-good town.”

I aim to be a Plumb-good editor and make them both proud. I know that SME already is Plumb great!

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