At the dawn of our current millennium, when my former colleague and dear friend Kirsten Nelson and I were tasked with creating the magazine that would become Residential Systems, I was more than a bit overwhelmed by the work ahead of us.
As a writer, the blank page had never scared me, but filling an entire magazine’s worth of blank pages with content made me break out into a cold sweat. Even 18 years later, that feeling, while much diminished, still creeps back into my head after we close one issue and begin planning the next. Then I’m reminded of the contributions coming from our panel of trusted advisors and writers, and I know we can pull it off.
The first mission for Kirsten and me back in late 1999 was to bring together many of the same expert columnists and contributors who continue to lend credibility to our publication to this day. We reached out to these industry leaders to write monthly articles for us, cultivated a collaborative relationship with CEDIA, and made the calculated decision to focus on business solutions rather than “technical how-to” articles. It was a formula that has remained at the core of who we are.
Although I have grown to feel much more self-confident in the role “industry spokesperson,” I still believe that Residential Systems’ columnists and bloggers are the real core of the publication. Our slogan, “written for custom integrators by custom integrators” reflects from-the-field reporting of insightful folks like Sam Cavitt, Henry Clifford, Jason Griffing, Tony Grimani, Todd Puma, John Sciacca, Heather Sidorowicz, and Gordon van Zuiden, as well as the seasoned industry voices of Llanor Alleyne, Pete Baker, Dennis Burger, Ted Green, and Michael Heiss. These writers have not only made my job easier, but have provided insights into real-world challenges that you just can’t get from the editor’s chair.
Running a magazine and website can be a stressful job, but it’s a lot more fun when it involves writing about the products and technologies created by the inventive manufacturers in our business. Of course, we wouldn’t exist without their support, either.
I have grown to love the ever-changing nature of our industry and the folks who work in it. It’s never been easy for me to enter a room full of people, but this business has enabled me to form life-long bonds with integrators, manufacturers, publicists, and CEDIA staff that have made running this magazine much more than just a job.
So, as I step aside from my role at Residential Systems this month, my roots remain deeply planted in the CI community. I’m leaving the magazine, but not the industry. I’m excited to explore new opportunities, even if I’m not entirely sure where they will lead. Thanks to my long-time colleagues Adam Goldstein, Tony Savona, Nicole Cobban, and David McGee for their continued support and to Paul Gallo for giving me my start. Thanks also to all of you for your loyalty over the years, your friendships, and your stories. Let’s keep in touch!