From the Editor: Time to Ride

Regular readers of Aerospace & Defense Technology will be surprised to see this page. In all the years I’ve edited this magazine, this is the first time I’ve written an editor’s column. It will also be the last. Like Clint Eastwood in one of those old westerns that made him famous, at the end of this year I will saddle up and ride off into the sunset.

A lot of people have asked me “Why?” To be honest, I’ve asked myself that question several times since deciding to retire. I still love making magazines and getting to make them with some of the most talented editorial and art professionals in the business for the last 15 years has been one of my life’s greatest blessings. That may sound like a cliche but consider this – we came through a pandemic together, continued producing top-notch issues, and never missed a deadline. That’s dedication.

There’s a lot about this business I’m going to miss. First and foremost are the people who create the cutting-edge technology we cover in A&DT. I’ve had the privilege to meet more bona fide geniuses than Albert Einstein, and I certainly don’t have his credentials. But they always made me feel like I did.

The PR and marketing communications people have been equally amazing. When your lifeblood is high-quality contributed content, those folks can make or break an editor. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best in the business and it shows in the articles we’ve published.

For me, one of the most pleasurable aspects of creating magazines is making them visually appealing. That’s not always easy with technical content, but I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some of the most talented art and production people on Earth. It shows in every issue.

I’ve also enjoyed working with our sales team. The relationship between sales and editorial has always been tricky because the revenue they generate pays everybody’s salaries, but editorial must maintain an objective, arm’s-length relationship or the publication’s credibility will suffer. Not once have our salespeople ever put me in a compromising position, and I will always be grateful for that.

Finally, I’m going to miss collaborating with our publisher, Joe Pramberger. I’ve worked with a lot of publishers in my career, but I’ve never met one who cares as much about the readers as he does. It’s a publisher’s job to ensure the magazine is profitable and to do that, most adhere to strict guidelines regarding the ratio of editorial to advertising. Joe never enforced those rules. If I needed more pages to educate our readers, he gave them to me. I thank him for that...and you should too.

So, getting back to the original question: Why am I retiring?

I’ve been married to the same wonderful woman for 47 years and she has selflessly been my rock throughout this amazing journey. I’d like to spend more time with her. Maybe travel together instead of me jetting off all the time. I’ve got three great kids and their partners who, for some strange reason, still think dad is cool and enjoy hanging out and going on vacations with me. I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that. And I’ve got three beautiful grandchildren that I adore and who adore me. I’d like to be a bigger part of their lives while we’re all still young enough to appreciate it.

That’s it in a nutshell. It’s been an amazing run, but as I said earlier, it’s time to saddle up. And if you’ll tolerate just one more Clint Eastwood reference, my favorite line of his is the all-time classic: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”

Actually, I do, Clint. Very lucky.

Bruce A. Bennett