Building a soapbox

Since I came to Control Engineering more than a year ago, numerous changes to content and presentation have been made. Starting in May 2003, we introduced a new order to editorial content to make navigating the magazine easier. In June, we re-designed our look for a cleaner, up-to-date, easier-to-read publication.

05/01/2004


Since I came to Control Engineering more than a year ago, numerous changes to content and presentation have been made. Starting in May 2003, we introduced a new order to editorial content to make navigating the magazine easier. In June, we re-designed our look for a cleaner, up-to-date, easier-to-read publication. Then, in September, we introduced two new items designed to provide end-user insight on IT and engineering issues (Insight) and engineering involvement with new manufacturing projects (Voice of Experience). We also introduced the quarterly Academic Update column last February; the next installment appears in June.

These changes expand our core of technology, application, career, and market-related information to add input directly from the engineering field. Our goal with all these additions has been to create more of a peer-to-peer level of communication with you. Now, we are taking it one step further by introducing our "Soapbox" column.

This column is designed to let you have your own say in our pages. Of course, this space cannot be used for directionless rants, product promotion, finger pointing, or anything that might set us up for a libel suit. (I do have to remain mindful of such things.) Beyond that, the field is open.

If you would like to have your turn on our soapbox—and be read by more than 88,000 of your peers—contact me (my contact information is below) with your premise and, if approved, compile your thoughts into a cogent 650-word piece of persuasion for our audience to ponder.

To kick off the column, I asked Robert Dunlap, a former control engineer with UOP and current MBA student at the University of Texas, to author the first article. I met Robert last summer when he helped provide the basis for my October 2003 column, "Better than Payback," where Robert and I provided readers with a formula to calculate the return on automation investments in a language a CFO will understand. Learning a little of Robert's range of opinions during this process led me to see him as a prime candidate for the inaugural "Soapbox." By providing a column that explores "Engineers' evolution?" Robert has not disappointed. This is a topic that's sure to spark some interest (see page 50).

Now it's your turn. I know from this past year's experience that our readers are not short of opinions. Let us know what you're thinking.

With our core industry readership and your direct insight and opinion, we can create a communication platform with the power to develop far-reaching ideas, foster meaningful discussion, and maybe even the potential to affect real change.

I look forward to hearing from you.

dgreenfield@reedbusiness.com