Goodbye and good fortune!

1 March 2007

On a day that just seems like yesterday, when discussing a freelance feature I was writing for Packaging Today, I overheard the publisher saying that the editor of Converting Today had left. “I'll help you out for a couple of months while you advertise the position,” I volunteered. That was 20 years ago!

But, finally, this is truly the last issue of the magazine I will edit. I retired at the end of February after 35 years of journalism in the packaging and converting industry. I am so fortunate to be able to say I have enjoyed nearly every single day of that career. Meeting so many interesting people and travelling around the globe has been exciting enough, but the innovations in the business and in publishing have made it fascinating, even inspiring at times.

On the publishing front I started out with my trusty portable typewriter not too dissimilar in weight to my laptop of today. Over the years copy has been dictated to a secretary down the phone, then faxed, then posted on a disc, then a CD and now emailed. Today we can even post news on our website from distant shores. And I have seen blocks, hot metal, letterpress and litho, the paste up of galleys to PDFs.

There is so much to pick from the technology advances witnessed. My first major story was the invention of carbon fibre reinforced plastics. My last story was covering a nanotechnology development in security labels. Along the way I have watched as simple rubber stereos producing low quality flexo morphed into packaging you'd be hard pressed to know wasn't gravure. And I've seen the old slow changing gravure presses leaping forward to speeds of change that can compete with anything, gearless presses, automated controls, modems to diagnose faults, closed loop registration controls, inks that can change colour, holograms, workflow, UV, EB, legislation of every hue, automatic knife positioning, converters going global, drupas and interpacks galore, the rise of China… and of course the environment.

The environmentalists were regarded as the sandal brigade back in the '70s. I well remember covering a march by Friends of the Earth, who piled non returnable bottles outside the headquarters of Schweppes in a sack delivered by Santa Claus. Now we are all having to look seriously at our carbon footprint and sustainability of materials.

As I leave, I am happy to say Converting Today is in the healthiest position it has been for a long time. I wish all our readers, advertisers and everyone on the magazine the same good fortune as I have had over the past 20 years.

In particular, I wish my good friend and colleague Mike Taylor a special thankyou and many congratulations as he takes over the editor's chair.



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