It's a funny thing about opportunities. They often come when you least expect them. I know that's a clich¿but it's true. No one could have predicted the stroke that Ed Bas, SNIPS' former editor and publisher, suffered in July 2002. And if you asked me a year ago if I would become editor of the only national trade magazine covering the sheet metal industry, I would have laughed. I hadn't even really thought about it.

But here I am. I hope you'll welcome me as SNIPS new editor. Some of you may already know me from talking on the phone or we may have met at a trade show. And those of you whom I haven't met, please feel free to call and introduce yourself. One thing I've always liked about SNIPS is that it's a people-oriented publication. Sure, we write about what companies are doing or about this or that project, but it always comes back to people: How did this contractor feel about working on the biggest project in the state in 10 years? It's something I think sets this magazine apart and something I plan to continue.

When Ed Bas hired me, he told me to think of SNIPS as a sort of community newspaper for the sheet metal industry, the type of publication where you would look to see your neighbor's name or picture in print. That was good advice and is something I've thought of often.

SNIPS readers are some of the most passionate and loyal people I know. I get a kick out of visiting your offices and seeing our magazine in your reception areas, right next to Time and Newsweek. I'm also honored.

In the last few months, we've had some new stories on subjects that we haven't covered before. I hope you found them entertaining and informative. But we'll continue to offer the kinds of information you've long counted on SNIPS to provide: ways to help grow your company or work more effectively. Our corporate mission at Business News Publishing Co. (owner of SNIPS) is to help readers succeed in business by giving them superior information.

But what else would you like to see in the magazine? Give me a call or send an e-mail and let me know. We're always looking for new stories about interesting projects our readers have worked on. They don't have to be big. If you found it challenging or interesting, chances are other readers would, too. And send us your job-site pictures; we can never get enough of those. Just remember that if you're using a digital camera, we need the pictures taken at the maximum size and resolution your camera can handle.

And speaking of stories, don't forget about your sheet metal shops. Does your shop run especially well? Why? Could other readers gain some insights? Let us know.

You don't have to worry about writing the story; in most cases, I'll be able to write it myself. Just send us the basics and whatever you think is important, along with your contact information, and we'll do the rest.

We have a small staff and can't be everywhere or get to everything, but we'll do our best.

A little bit of background on me: I joined SNIPS' staff in the spring of 2000, after working since college at a twice-weekly community newspaper. It would be an understatement to say I didn't know a plasma table from one used to play pingpong. But during the last three years, that's certainly changed. I've learned just what it takes to create the ductwork that hangs in most buildings and how important its proper installation truly is.

I'm looking forward to making SNIPS, already a fine publication, even better. Thanks for reading.