Here at Transmission & Distribution World, we've collected quite a menagerie of technical writers and editors. Each comes to T&D World with experience from different utilities and with different technical backgrounds. But you'll find one thing in common — not one of us is in it for the money. That I can promise you.
As editorial director, I am always on the lookout for co-conspirators who have deep technical knowledge and experience, a lot of industry contacts and can write. But the primary ingredient is the passion to make a difference.
Here's How I Got Here
Remember back in 1992 when Vice President Al Gore was pitching the future of the information age? We were moving from the world of bricks and mortar into the age where information would be the global differentiator. I bit on his vision for an interconnected communication superhighway. So when opportunity arose, I came here to T&D World to take part in the information revolution.
But I have come to understand that with high information bandwidth comes high volumes of misinformation and (might I say) outright sleaze. So while it becomes easier to research topics on the net, it is increasingly difficult to put any confidence in the accuracy or the value of what you find. So how do you decide what to believe? Here is a quote I taped to my bookcase: All forms of decision making other than coercion require trust.
We are not that sophisticated here at T&D World. Our goal is to connect buyers and sellers. But we can't waste your time. We realize that focused, accurate information has tremendous value in an era of information overload. Back in 1996, Chris Hickman, then with Public Service New Mexico, said to me, “Don't tell me how until you first tell me why.”
He's right. How many of us change what we are doing unless we have a reason to change?
We're On a Mission
I know this might sound corny, but information is power. Vito Longo, Gene Wolf, Gerry George and the rest of the T&D World editorial team are on a mission to unearth the best information and insights to enable you to make solid purchasing decisions. And we are always visiting utilities to keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry.
Within the past six months, I've personally visited utilities in Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma, but I also visited utilities in Switzerland, China and India. And this July, I went to Australia, because vision and innovation have no borders. Gene, our technical writer, Vito, our technology editor, and Gerry, our international editor, are lesser road warriors as well.
Not That We Are Anywhere Near Perfect
I'd be the first to admit I've made errors in judgment. I recall one month when a utility asked me to pull an article that left me short of content that month. I found myself between a rock and a hard place, and decided to run an article that might charitably be called weak.
The next month, I was at the IEEE General Meeting in Tampa, Florida, and a friend came up and said, “Rick, I want you know I am cancelling my subscription to Vendor T&D.” Ouch, that hurt! Still, he was only doing me a favor as there was an element of truth in his statement, causing me to mend my sorry ways by making sure we have quality articles in reserve.
We Continue to Broaden Our Reach
You might have noticed that we now publish a lot of supplements. We've found that we can add more value if we bring significant focus on all aspects of an issue. Gene and I write most of the supplements. We have the chance to get really deep and separate the soothsayers from the naked emperors. You might recall that we've researched and published a series of supplements on all aspects of smart grid on both sides of the meter.
We also produce an annual vegetation supplement. We collaborate with the Utility Arborist Association to present vegetation strategies, emerging NERC rulings and state regulatory guidelines, while keeping you abreast of innovations in airborne surveying, trimming techniques and herbicide applications. We're working to make sure vegetation management gets a seat at the table when money is divvied out in T&D.
All the editors at T&D World are approachable, so let us know what is on your mind. Share what is exciting to you, but also share what is bugging you. We would be honored to be your eyes and ears. I am proud to work for a for-profit trade journal. It helps focus the mind. If we don't provide you with helpful information that you act upon, our advertisers won't support us.
Put another way, if we don't make a financial difference to you, to our advertisers and to our parent company, we won't be around for long. So in conclusion, although I love what I do, I'd like to revise the headline: We're here to make a difference and a dollar.