Celebrating you

On the occasion of our birthday (we’re in our early 20s now so the time for self-celebration has passed), we’re taking our hats off to all those who advance the cabling industry in a positive direction.

Well, we’ve gone ahead and done it. We tabulated a list of 20 people (well, 18 people, one association and one profession as a whole), as nominated by our audience at large, who have made significant, positive impacts on the cabling trade over the past 20-plus years.

Creating lists like this one is kind of an old trick in the publishing/internet/media business. It’s a virtual guarantee that everyone who looks through it will think of at least one person who deserved to be included and wasn’t. (In many cases the reader’s reaction could be, “Hey, why wasn’t I on that list?!”) I say it’s an old trick because oftentimes one of the main objectives of those producing the list is to elicit just such a reaction. The more people talk about it, the more attention it gets. In today’s media environment, attention equals website page views. Website page views make our bosses happy. Hence the “old trick”—create a list just to get people talking.

That wasn’t the intent here. This list of the cabling industry’s positive contributors was conceived and developed as the most appropriate way to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine. I’ve always kind of snarkily shaken my head at people who plan their own birthday parties. Actually, make that, adults who plan their own birthday parties. When you’re a kid, the most important days of the year are your birthday, the last day of school, and for us who celebrate it, Christmas. I’ve always kind of believed that once you turn oh, I don’t know, somewhere in your early 20s, the whole birthday thing should take a back seat. If someone else wants to throw you a party, great. Consider yourself a success for being important enough to someone that they want to do something nice for you on your birthday. But planning your own party kind of reminds me of the Brady Bunch episode when Peter planned a celebratory party for himself after he saved a girl from harm. Everyone he invited thought up reasons not to go. It was kind of sad, actually. In the end, the people who gathered to celebrate his good deed were his family members—the very same people who would throw him a birthday party because they care about him for who he is, and who were there for him before he was basking in the glow of his heroic act, and after that glow had faded.

So, as Cabling Installation & Maintenance was about to turn 20, the thought foremost in my mind was that I didn’t want to have a “Peter Brady Party” in which we spend pretty much all our energy asking, and answering, how great we are. That sentiment doesn’t come from any type of modesty, but rather from the reality that the cabling industry was humming along quite well before we showed up on the scene. Have we been an overall asset to the industry in our two decades of existence? I like to think so. But at the same time, we don’t embrace the pre-Copernicus mindset that the rest of the universe revolves around us. We’re happy to be one of the figures that floats around what’s really at the center of this industry—a combination of hard work and competence. And, I also like to think, whatever gravitational force we have helps to keep the whole thing in balance.

But it’s that core of the industry, the competence and hard work, that we have chosen to emphasize as a commemoration of our 20 years in business. Like any industry, ours has people, products and practices that span the full spectrum. Many times the structured cabling industry as an entity in and of itself has been challenged to garner an appropriate level of credibility, both from the information technology/networking industry of which it is an integral part, and from the construction industry of which it also is an integral part. While that challenge has been met and overcome in many cases, it remains dogged in others. Still, the complete “food chain” of players—from product design and manufacture, to distribution, through system specification, installation and maintenance—has the opportunity every day to fortify and enhance the credibility of the trade we call ours. In doing so, they (you) have earned recognition.

Yet the structured cabling industry doesn’t really have a platform to, a la Peter Brady, throw a party for itself. So on the occasion of our birthday (we’re in our early 20s now so the time for self-celebration has passed), we’re taking our hats off to all those who advance the industry in a positive direction—the few who we call out on our list as well as the many whose names don’t appear here but whose competence and hard work remain the central lifeblood of the industry. Our thanks to all of you.

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