Happy Birthday to us

Our editorial staff looks back through previous issues and chronicles everything from salaries and economic factors, to the changing landscape from advances in control, to global market influences.

By Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

We’ve been celebrating all year long, so it isn’t exactly a surprise to most of you that June 2007 marks 10 years since our first issue hit the mailboxes of machine control professionals in Machine Builder Nation. The most important element in our growth was [and still is] the resolve of every editor here to focus first and foremost on the technology users, and present their viewpoint—not ours, not the vendors—on how new technologies help them build today’s high-performance, high-reliability machines, while getting ready for what industry will demand of them tomorrow.

One of several ways to measure how we’ve been doing is the mail we receive from readers, most of which we print. We excerpted some of it for this month’s Feedback section, but here’s where it started: the very first feedback reacted to the premier issue. Engineer John Short wrote, “I don’t know how you got my name, but I got your first issue and was glad I did.” He went on to say the articles discussing PLCs vs. PCs, the user guide to proximity switches, and the classification scheme for operator interface helped him with his job. He concluded saying, “You had a lot for me in this issue. I don’t know if this was coincidence, or if you managed to tune in to the technical interests of engineers like me. Only time will tell.”

During these past 10 years, the feedback has told us we’re engaging you in the automation discussion, and often hearing we’ve been of real help. Please keep talking.

Something I say to both current editors and job applicants is my best way of explaining what this brand has to be. I tell them I’m just as terrified by the next issue of Control Design we produce as I was by the very first issue we produced. I tell them they need to feel the same way. Some find “terrified” to be an odd descriptor.

I’m terrified because the next issue will be the first issue for some new readers looking for help. We can’t disappoint them. The next issue will be the first one a current subscriber really takes some time with to find out if it’s worth the read. We have to make sure it is. The next issue might be the first time a new marketing person for a vendor evaluates Control Design’s affinity with its audience if they decided to advertise. We owe it to all of them to be better than they expected to find.

Equally important are you regular readers, who over the years have come to expect high and consistent standards of relevance and value from us. The next issue can’t let you down.

It’s a good thing to “sweat” the next issue. We have to retain that sense of urgency, obligation and high expectation to live up to what we promised 10 years ago. If we ever lost that, we wouldn’t deserve more birthday celebrations. 

For a few minutes, though, let’s enjoy the party.

10 Year Anniversary10 YEARS OF CONTROL DESIGN
We’ve devoted the below articles to a look back at how machine automation has changed since our inaugural issue in 1997.
» Globalization drives consolidation
» Control systems evolve slowly, steadily
» After-sales support moves into mainstream
» Salaries and states of mind
» Throw away the clipboard. Networks rule
» Insight from issues past
» 10 years of reader feedback