A new editor-in-chief to join the Control team

Aug. 10, 2022

Some of you may recall those seemingly carefree days when I resumed the editorship of Control magazine and our companion digital presence at from the retiring Paul Studebaker. In fact, I first reappeared on the magazine’s editorial page back in the January 2020 issue, reminiscing on all that had changed since I last sat in the editor-in-chief’s chair back in the 1990s. Clearly, I couldn’t possibly have anticipated the roller coaster ride on which we were about to embark.

The novel b-coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was already in circulation, and a scant three months later the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered many aspects of life as we knew it. And while some are now returning to their previous setpoints, others have clearly shifted for good.

In our April 2020 issue (in a piece penned appropriately enough on April Fool’s Day) I mused in this space about whether the pandemic would result in a permanent step-change in our work processes. I had just spoken with Brad Budde, vice president, digital, for Emerson’s Automation Solutions business, who already believed this historic event would create a step-change shift toward digital in the way knowledge workers do their work.

“The technology is available,” Budde said, “and for many use cases, the growth constraint has been changing human behaviors.” Even then, Emerson’s business-to-business customers were already moving to digital in their interactions with the company.

“There’s an underlying behavioral shift,” Budde continued. “Now, we’re asking ourselves, how do we use these digital tools in conjunction with our support and services channel to ensure business continuity for our customers? We’re going to start turning up the volume, so that people know the tools are there and they can take advantage of them right now.”

I had also spoken with David Nehodin, cofounder and chief customer office for Scope AR, a provider of enterprise class augmented reality tools. One of the company’s customers, a major Chinese food and beverage maker with a key plant in Vietnam, was already using the remote assistance functionality of the company’s WorkLink platform to maintain vital operations.

“There’s only so much knowledge to go around,” Nedohin said. And whether it’s due to the longer-term global shortage of engineering talent, pandemic-induced travel restrictions, or the next natural disaster or cyber-attack, “company leaders are starting to realize that the ability to scale knowledge without someone getting on a plane is a need to have, not a nice to have.”

“When you’re forced into a situation where you need to do things differently, you recognize there are probably better ways of getting things done, of supporting your workforce,” Nedohin added. “Change is often difficult, but when you’re forced to approach a problem differently, it’s also an amazing opportunity. Innovation comes from times of crisis.”

Closer to home

Prescient words all, and ones that might also be applied to my own situation and the smaller microcosm surrounding Control. On June 1 of this year, the small, family-owned media company that I had been part of since 1989 was acquired by the much larger Endeavor Business Media. Along with the uncertainty of joining a new organization, I was faced with the opportunity to lead a much larger business unit as vice president and group publisher of a newly formed Processing Group consisting of 10 industrial media brands (including Control) within the Endeavor organization.

I’m enjoying the new challenge, but frankly something had to go. So, to make a long story short, a new editor-in-chief is taking the helm so I can devote more of my time to advancing the entire group’s relevance and success.

Watch this space for the new editor-in-chief’s image, story and byline next month. And rest assured that I remain, as always, yours in Control.

About the author: Keith Larson
About the Author

Keith Larson | Group Publisher

Keith Larson is group publisher responsible for Endeavor Business Media's Industrial Processing group, including Automation World, Chemical Processing, Control, Control Design, Food Processing, Pharma Manufacturing, Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Processing and The Journal.

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