For days, I have been devising ways to cleverly introduce myself as the new editor-in-chief of Design News and have come to the not so startling conclusion that a simple “hello, I am the new editor-in-chief of Design News” works best.
I have been serving as such since Nov. 15. So, if you've read this far, I assume you'd like to know a little bit about me. Most of my career has been covering information technology and electronics so I find the prospect of covering wonderfully tactile topics such as steel, plastics, gears, motors and drives refreshing. It's real stuff. Of course, we cover electronics, too, and that's my long-standing area of expertise having served previously as chief editor of sister publications EDN and Electronic Business. Before that I was editor of PC Week for 16 years and during that time for seven years was a technology and business columnist for the Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal.
Covering topics like materials and motion control is exciting given my love for machinery and industrial history. And I remain addicted to electronics. But before I turned journalist 30 years ago, I ran my late grandfather's machine shop which fabricated shoe machinery. A mechanical engineer, he owned more than 80 patents in this area and as a kid, I remember lots of wooden prototypes kicking around the shop. I ordered castings and forms from the foundry. The forms that came in contact with shoes required buffing before we I took them to a small DuPont Teflon shop for a coating (older models were chromed). A simple machine designed in the 1950s, the Dodge Fitmaster (pictured) was manually operated and the form over which the shoe sat had a heating element in it to expand the leather. I made more than 200 of these machines and sold them wholesale to the distributor at $125 each. The distributor more than doubled the price and sold these to high-end shoe stores.
So my experiences touch motion control, design tools, electronics and materials — all key topics for the Design News audience.
As top editor, my emphasis will be on online and print execution. Are our stories thorough and relevant to the designer? Did we call our readers for their opinion on the value of a particular part or product? Asking ourselves how we can help you do your job better translates to execution on our end. My predecessor Karen Field did a fabulous job ramping up the Design News website and launching a spectacular redesign of the print magazine (note the column's new name). My job is to build on those foundations. And while we want to continue to be hyper focused on the engineer, we do not want to lose the edgy, exciting and consumer-ish feel Karen brought to Design News.
There's much progress to report: we've enlisted plastics and steel veteran Doug Smock to cover materials and Beth Stackpole to follow design tools. Their contact info is listed on the magazine's masthead and Doug is authoring the Material Thoughts blog while Beth is writing CAD/CAM Corner. We've also launched three other new blogs: If It Ain't Broke ... by yours truly with more than 20 posts already; a Mechatronics Blog by RPI Engineering Professor Kevin Craig; and I Have the Power, a blog covering alternative energy sources by MIT doctoral candidate student Matt Traum. The new blogs compliment our existing ones: Technologies in Motion by Motion Control Editor Joe Ogando; Electronics News and Comment by Electronics Editor Chuck Murray; Talking Points news blog by Managing Editor Liz Taurasi and Lead-Free Zone by Rob Spiegel. For all our blogs, go to www.designnews.com/blogs.
Come visit, read and comment. These blogs are rich with opinion, news and pointers to relevant content elsewhere on the Web. AND WE WANT MORE BLOGS! If you have an engineering and/or design topic you're passionate about, e-mail me about your idea. We're especially interested in real-world mechatronics' projects or sharing trials and tribulations on long-term design projects. We can't pay a lot, but can pay! We'll assess it and have you blogging on the Design News website in 48 hours. We've also hired Web Editor Regina Lynch from TechTarget to oversee online content.
Finally (whew!), we're sprucing up the home and channel pages with the addition of a news feed and more prominent placement for our blogs, video and podcasts for which a small studio is being created. Come by our Waltham studio and we might do a podcast with you. And we'll continue to expand high traffic online features such as Gadget Freak, case studies and how-to articles.
That's all for now, and we have a lot more work to do. Let me know what you think. Do you or would you read a blog that helped you do your job? Likewise, would you listen to a podcast? Write, call or comment at my blog. I love to hear from readers … especially a voice on the phone, so call me at 781-734-8437. Or, e-mail me at email@example.com, or ping me on my blog.