The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) Has Lasting Value to the Manufacturing Industry

Originally titled 'Making It Last'

The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2018 propels the manufacturing industry forward, so it has a lasting effect on the direction and momentum of technology adoption. It’s a ride not to be missed.

One of the things I will carry with me to IMTS this year that I have never had before is a Medicare card. Of course, I’m not planning to use it, but it will be in my wallet just in case. My application was filed a few months ago and will be effective the beginning of this month.

This is not a trivial milestone. Turning 65 signals that there are big decisions to make about retirement, lifestyle changes, spending habits, new relationships with family and friends, and an evolving outlook on one’s personal existence.

One thing is rather certain: At the end of 2018, my role with this magazine will change. The details of a new role (or any at all) are still in the works. January 1, 2019, will mark my 40th anniversary on the editorial staff. That’s a long time doing the same kind of work for one company. I am very lucky that I can say that.

At the moment, however, I am aware that IMTS 2018 is likely to be my last visit to this show as a working editor. Should this make a difference? I’d rather it didn’t. I have attended 18 consecutive shows before this one, and I would like this latest one to be business as usual.

I want to be swept up in all the excitement, stress, activity and purpose that this show has always represented for me. I don’t want to be thinking that when it’s over, it’s over. For me, and I hope for everyone who goes to the show, it is the beginning of a new cycle in the industry’s recurring rhythm of change, renewal, growth and development. At its best, the show represents a boost in momentum, a fresh chance to update processes, procedures and workforce preparedness. IMTS is about progress.

After the last day, I want to experience the same relief and sense of accomplishment I have felt after every previous show. As always, I would like to leave McCormick Place anticipating positive reactions to the technology introduced at this event. Persisting in this approach gives me the luxury of holding on to this show as one more like the prior ones, another classic edition of IMTS to be endured, enjoyed, absorbed and digested. Show after show, the experiences have added up. This year’s event will be a part of this valuable accumulation. That it also may be a culmination is secondary.

IMTS has always been a great time for me to catch up with many of the friends, colleagues and acquaintances I have gained over the years. The productive partnerships and collaborations I have enjoyed with them are treasured. I will be making a point of looking up as many of my favorite people as I can while I am at McCormick Place—just as I have done at every show, but I will try to be more thorough and comprehensive this time. My theme will be, “Hello, again.”

I have several ways to view the meaning of my new Medicare card. Most clearly, it is proof of entitlement to certain well-earned medical benefits, the need for which I hope to forestall as much as possible. I can also see it as a kind of pledge card marking a commitment to protect my health with good habits and the appropriate precautions. I can see it as a reminder of the relentlessness of time’s passing and a call to make each day count. Having it with me at IMTS adds a new level to what it might signify. It will symbolize that I am making a promise to myself to seek new beginnings, find new opportunities, revel in more discoveries and savor a deeper appreciation for what’s before me in the moment, at this event and beyond.