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Adieu, Part II

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As I wrote in the previous column, I will be retiring as of April 30 and wanted to say good-bye to the industry in two parts. The first part of this farewell, published in the April 19 issue, dealt with some general observations. This column will deal with some of the people it’s been my privilege to know and work with over the years.

Obviously, one is going to meet an awful lot of people in a 30-year career. It would be impossible for me to mention everyone with whom I’ve shared something memorable. So, if you’re in the business and we’ve had drinks or dinner, or I’ve interviewed you or leaned on you for comments or any of the other innumerable things editors do, then please assume that you contributed to my gratifying stay here at NU and that in some degree I’ll miss you.

Due to space limitations I’m going to concentrate on some of the folks I’ve worked with on the magazine in the last 3 decades. Old timers (hey guys, I’m one of you now) may remember some of these names, while the Twitterati likely won’t.

First, I’d like to remember Bill Macfarlane, who was editor when I landed here. Bill also had a long career at NU and was full of joie de vivre. He came the closest of anyone to being my mentor and, indeed, even now I will be following his example of moving to Cape Cod after I retire.

Another colleague, also now departed, who I remember with the greatest affection is Mary Jane Fisher, NU’s longtime Washington correspondent. She had a fascinating life and I used to love it when there was an industry meeting in D.C. and I could take Mary Jane out to dinner. We’d talk politics and since both of us were dyed-in-the-wool liberals we’d usually end up bashing Republicans.

It’s been my pleasure and my honor to be editor of two legendary industry leaders who had stints as columnists for NU. First was Don Barnes, whose writing was a model of clarity and wit, and second is Jack Bobo, who still anchors the last page of every issue and is a model for anyone seeking to stay sharp and active in retirement.

Any editor worth his salt will tell you that the staff is what makes or breaks a publication. Some of the people I’ve worked with who are no longer with NU–Carole Ann King, Jim Connolly, Cynthia Crosson and Lisa Howard–each contributed greatly to the magazine’s success.

Then there’s the current staff and I could not be more blessed than having writers like Trevor Thomas, Allison Bell, Warren Hersch, Dave Postal and my dear friend Linda Koco to work with day in and day out.

Nor can I forget my art director Don Heyl whose work has done so much for these pages.

Penultimately (to use one of his favorite words) there’s my long-time colleague and editor of NU’s property-casualty magazine, Sam Friedman. Together we’ve had to fight so many battles and lift so many loads over the years. I couldn’t have asked for a better comrade in arms than Sam, with whom I’ve shared lots of laughs (often laced with large dollops of gallows humor).

Finally, there’s Andy Goodenough, president and CEO of Summit Business Media. Andy’s mandate, when he bought the company, was for me to write signed columns to go upfront in the magazine with my picture. I was to make them controversial, he said, and when I asked him if he was sure, he said yes he was. Well, he’s stood behind me all these years, calling people who wrote to him wanting to cancel their subscription because of something I wrote or who wanted to tell him to throw me out. Thanks for having my back, Andy.

It’s been a great ride, folks, and no doubt I’m going to miss a lot of it, but it’s time for turning a new page and being the editor of the next stage of my life.

Thanks for the memories.

Steve Piontek



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