Your Space

Feb. 4, 2010
Paul Studebaker, CMRP, editor in chief, has created a place for your experience, wisdom or perspective.

Back in the 1970s, when the accelerator stuck on my Studebaker Lark wagon, I’d just catch the edge of my boot sole under the pedal and pull it up. The connection to the carburetor was a couple of rods and a bellcrank. It pushed the throttle closed as easily as it pulled it open. If I was wearing sneakers, I might have to reach down and pull it up with my hand.

In the 1980s, my Honda 600 and Civics had cables, so when they’d stick, I’d try tapping the pedal a bit to see if it would come back. When it wouldn’t, I’d hold the car’s speed down with the brake — not a challenge with less than 125 hp — until I could pull over and free it up. The problem was usually ice in the cable or the carb.

Now, I suppose if I had a sticky fly-by-wire gas pedal on a 300-hp Camry or Tundra, I’d turn off the ignition (if the machine had a key and doing so wouldn’t lock the steering) or shift it to neutral and let the engine hit the rev limiter while I pulled over to the side — about as exciting as a flat tire.

But, apparently unlike the vast majority of Toyota drivers, I know how an accelerator pedal is connected to a throttle body, and I have some experience dealing with malfunctions, as, I’m sure, do you.


What I don’t have is your experience and perspective on industrial maintenance, reliability and asset management. Every month, my fellow editors, regular contributors, and I have the opportunity to try to write something interesting and relevant for you with, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, varying degrees of success.

More than likely, on at least one occasion you’ve realized that you could do better. Maybe you’ve found an important truth about the maintenance profession that you’d like to share. Perhaps you’ve had an experience that, if they knew of it, might save others money, time, trouble or risk. Or, you have an idea or opinion that you’d like to air.

Now you have the opportunity to see your words on the pages of Plant Services and Allow me to introduce you to “Your Space,” our new guest column where you can have the same exposure and audience as me and our regular contributors. We kicked off “Your Space” in January with the first installment of “Road to Reliability,” a series of Web articles on operational excellence we’re collecting under our home page “Voices” tab. This month, it’s a discussion about how to deal with the economic times.

Both are great columns, but don’t let them constrain your thinking about what topics might be appropriate. The key is value to your fellow plant professionals and that might come in any form, including information, perspective, experience — even humor.

And please don’t be held back by any concerns about your ability to write. We have a great deal of experience editing and polishing, and we won’t let you look bad. Shoot for about 800 words, slam it down and shovel it on over to me at [email protected] — you’ll be glad you did.

To open a place for “Your Space,” we’re occasionally publishing the monthly columns “Human Capital,” by Tom Moriarty, P.E., CMRP, or “Crisis Corner,” by Joel Leonard, only in digital form. You’ll find them every month under that “Voices” tab on