by Patrick McLaughlin
The first weekend in October, we had a family party for my niece's 13th birthday. As is the case most years, Courtney's birthday party was also the setting in which my sister-in-law said, "We need to figure out what we're going to do, and where, for Thanksgiving." I had to do a double-take at the calendar to realize we were indeed getting close to that distinctly North American holiday. And while I like to think I am thankful every day for the bounties of good fortune I have been afforded, I took the opportunity to reflect on them from a professional standpoint—something I don't do nearly as often as I should.
That weekend, I was fresh off the BICSI Fall Conference. The country and the world were still reverberating from the stock market's freefall. Prognosticators spoke about difficult times ahead for world economies in general and our industry in particular—the former on all the talking-head cable-news shows and the latter in the convention center in which we spent the week. Yet through the upheaval, I took note of the professionalism on display at the conference. It looked like a levelof professionalism derived from a certain combination of competence,experience, and savvy.
I took a timeout from visiting the booths of product- and service-suppliers and instead stood in our own booth for a little while. Spending some time interacting with conference attendees is a practice I try to take part in each time I'm at such an event. After attending my first few conferences years ago, I realized if I spent the entire time going from booth to booth finding out what some people wanted me to know, I would literally be walking by hundreds of people who could tell me some things I really needed to know.
That type of insight also came from my former boss, Arlyn Powell, a founding editor on this publication. Perhaps the most important lesson Arlyn taught me was to respect the intelligence of Cabling Installation & Maintenance's audience. "They know more than we do," he'd often remind me, "and we'd be well-served to listen to them whenever possible." By listening to them—listening to you—I have learned whatever small amount I do know about the technical and business workings of this industry. For that, I am sincerely grateful.
As we buckle up for what could be a rough financial ride in the coming months, I want to take this opportunity to let you know I personally appreciate your continued use of this magazine as a resource. And I'll be wishing the best for each one of you during times of personal reflection, including November 27—our national day of giving thanks.