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Thirty Years of “Mark: My Word”

Mark at his desk in 1981.

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Mark at his desk in 1981. Gardner Publications, which produces Modern Machine Shop Magazine, was located in downtown Cincinnati in those days.

“Mark: My Word” first appeared as my column of opinions, commentary and ideas in the January, 1981 issue. The name of this column was suggested by Ken Gettelman, top editor of the magazine at the time. This January 1981 column was not the first I had written for MMS. For a few months I filled in for retired editor, Fred Vogel, as the author of a column called “Over the Editor’s Desk.” However, having my own column with its own name in MMS was a special honor and a privilege. It was also a challenge.

Coming up with a relevant topic and a worthy message about it month after month, year after year, hasn't always been easy. Yet it has always been rewarding, even though I certainly recognize that some of these columns were more memorable or important than others. I'm proud of all 361 “Mark: My Words” I have written so far.

Of course, that number includes the column appearing in our current issue. This column, which advocates the value of MTConnect, is one I consider important because the message about this communications standard is timely and urgent. A few years from now, though, I hope MTConnect will be so well entrenched in the manufacturing industry that the comments I am making this month will be irrelevant and this column forgotten.

Other columns covering different topics (those concerning the nature of manufacturing, life in a machine shop, the role manufacturing plays in our culture and personal fulfillment of life, for example) might have more lasting value and interest. A small selection of my favorite columns from the past are archived here if you'd like to see what I had to say about the things that seemed most meaningful to me in the last 30 years.