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Personal Best (and Worst)

Dec. 1, 2022
In my end-of-the-year editorial, I talk about some of my personal highs and lows from 2022.

As Editor-in-Chief of this publication, a lot of what I do is project management. I have to make assignments and keep in contact with my various columnists and freelancers. I have to coordinate with my production manager on the layout (a working map of which pages of the magazine will go where). I go back and forth with my art director getting the magazine, page by page, into shape and finally off to the printer.

But I also get to write the occasional article. This month my contribution is the Best (and Worst) of 2022 article. My main trouble in writing it—and this is a common problem for me—was that I kept getting too personal. Instead of thinking about the best and worst things to happen in the industry, I kept thinking about the best and worst things that happened to me. I finally decided to lump all the personal stuff together and save it for this, my end-of-the-year editorial.

Some of my best moments this year were at industry events. We’ve been back to in-person events for more than a year now so you’d think the excitement of getting to a show would have worn off—but not for me. I still get a kick from getting face-to-face and shaking hands with people. Maybe the pandemic has just made me appreciate it more?

Back in May I attended the seventh Emerging Water Technologies Symposium in San Antonio, TX (fantastic town, by the way). It was great to see people from the various stakeholder organizations, every presentation was full of valuable information, and I even got to get up on a podium to moderate a panel discussion. Normally, I’m terrified speaking in front of a crowd, but the panel was lively, the audience very forgiving of my flubs, and it ended up being a great time.

This October I was able to attend PHCCCONNECT2022 in Charlotte, NC (and again, it was a chance to enjoy a fantastic city I’d never visited before). I don’t think any show I attend better suits the niche this publication occupies. Everyone there had a laser-focus on the plumbing and hydronic heating industry and its problems and potential. From new products to government regulation to workforce development, you could not turn around without having a productive conversation.

Other best moments were had sitting right at the desk where I’m writing this now. The thing I think the trade press is best at is shining a light on those companies and individuals doing extraordinary work; helping to share that work—and the attitude and innovation that made the work possible—with the wider industry.

Back in January we named GSM Services our Contractor of the Year. After a mass shooting that left two employees dead, the company re-dedicated itself to serving both its employees and its customers. Most of the article was a series of employee profiles, just people talking about their relationships both within the company and with the wider community.

This issue we have a profile of Brent Ridley and his Miracle Mechanical project, dedicated to helping needy families with cost-free plumbing and HVAC services. It’s a great example of the good a company can do through the power of partnerships.

In fact, if you look through this issue, we have story after story of businesses partnering, donating, and giving back in ways large and small. I know in hard-news journalism they call these “puff pieces,” but I like to be part of an industry that’s so community-minded.

So that’s some of the best of my year—what about the worst? I suppose I’ve had a few tough deadlines. And I’ve had some travel hassles. But looking back, now, somehow it all doesn’t seem that bad.

I want to wish our readers a happy, healthy holiday season. Thanks for spending the year with CONTRACTOR, and we’ll see you all in 2023.

About the Author

Steve Spaulding | Editor-inChief - CONTRACTOR

Steve Spaulding is Editor-in-Chief for CONTRACTOR Magazine. He has been with the magazine since 1996, and has contributed to Radiant Living, NATE Magazine, and other Endeavor Media properties.

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