Taking care of business

No doubt many of you enjoyed a rather hectic holiday season, balancing your desire to be with friends and family against the responsibilities of performing plant maintenance, repairs and improvements during a scheduled shutdown. I congratulate everyone who began the new year on time and in spec. You support the engines of our economy, and we salute you.

This month, we welcome new Managing Editor Lisa Greenberg and Contributing Editor Sheila Kennedy. Along with her degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University, Lisa brings five years of experience with, among others, Automotive Body Repair News and Motor Age magazines. We plan to make great use of her news-writing and editing skills, and expect to enjoy her gearhead perspective both in the magazine and on our Web site.

Sheila is the force behind our new Technology Toolbox column. Now managing director of Additive Communications, Sheila has 18 years experience implementing, then marketing EAM and related technologies. A terrific researcher and engaging writer, her new column packs a lot of useful information, and it's generally not about software.

This month's cover story on trends in pumps continues a departure from our traditional tutorial feature format we began in December. Instead of delving deeply into a specific problem or method, it takes a broad look at emerging technologies, drawing on industry perspectives and commentary to deliver an overview of what you can expect to bring to your plant now and in the near future.

Articles like this aren't everybody's favorite read, and they won't be taking over the magazine. Their usefulness depends on solid input from practitioners and consultants as well as vendors. I'll be welcoming your comments (and your help) as we proceed through 2004, giving similar treatments, one a month, to power transmission, lubrication, EAM/CMMS software, compressed gas systems, flooring, roofing, motors and drives, instrumentation and controls, predictive technologies, utilities/energy conservation and material handling. If you have expertise in any of these areas and would like your opinion to be heard, let me know.

Finally, loyal readers will have noticed a change to better paper and a stapled binding with this issue. The thicker, more opaque paper and lay-flat binding make the magazine more readable. The many readers who tear out and file articles for future reference will find that operation much easier and neater as well.

You'll see additional careful changes in Plant Services throughout 2004. Please never hesitate to tell us what you think and how we're doing.

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