Good Managing Editors are Hard to Find: Happy Birthday Nancy! @Nancy_Bartels #pauto

Jan. 1, 2000

Today is Nancy Bartel's birthday, an event that gives me a chance to reflect on the importance of competence and teamwork.

Today is Nancy Bartels' birthday. Out of respect, I will refrain from disclosing which one. If you are her friend on Facebook, you know anyway. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that this gives me a chance, first, to publicly wish her a happy birthday, and second, to comment on the importance of competent people in any enterprise-- and the reasons that teamwork makes the team greater than the sum of the skills of all the members.

Nancy is an all around good person. But more than that, she is supremely competent at what she does. She makes being my managing editor look ridiculously easy-- and it is not. It is a very hard job. She has to be the "traffic cop" that sees to it that the writers and columnists get their stuff turned in on time, and that the editors get their jobs done, and that the art department pulls it all together. While mine are the last set of eyeballs on the magazine, and it is my name on the top of the masthead as editor in chief, it is important to let you all know that the magazine is, in great part, Nancy's creation.

I've written before about Kipling's poem "The Sons of Martha" about the workers and engineers that keep civilization on its rails. Nancy is another of these. 

Nancy makes my job easy, and it would be difficult to imagine doing what I do without her able assistance on the team. Yes, team. We are a team here at Control and, and we need to work together to bring the magazine to you every month and the website to you daily. We happen to have a group of people with extraordinary skills here at Control, Jim Montague, Dan Hebert, Katherine Bonfante, myself, and of course, Nancy. She is the center that makes the team cohere. Individually, we are all pretty hot, but "together, we are Hell on wheels!" as the quotation goes.

Perhaps you've found that you have a co-worker that teams coalesce around, like Nancy. If you do, you know the truth of what I say. If you don't, go find one, hire them and give them all the opportunity you can to be the nexus of your team. You will benefit greatly.

So, Happy Birthday, Nancy (and all the other Sons and Daughters of Martha out there)!

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