This time of year, it seems as if I'm always coming or going. If I'm not just returning from a trade show, I'm getting ready to leave for another one.

I just spent a week in Anaheim, Calif., at the massive AHR Expo; at the end of this month, I'll be at the National Roofing Contractors Association's and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America's annual meetings.

I like to travel and don't usually mind visiting the warm climates where many associations prefer to hold their meetings. Any excuse to escape a dreary Michigan winter, even for a few days, I say. An added bonus is I usually get a chance to meet some readers and they almost always have a suggestion or story idea.

Some of the new columns and features we've introduced during the past year have been suggested by readers, or in one case, actually written by one.

A number of you have called to say that you're really enjoying the articles by Wisconsin contractor Thomas "Bud" Goodman on manual sheet-metal layout. Goodman contacted me last summer, wondering if SNIPS was interested in running anything about his book, The Forgotten Art of Sheet Metal Layout. I wrote a feature on Goodman and his book ("Turning Back the Pages," August 2003), and he convinced me to let him write a how-to piece with information from some of the vintage sheet-metal manuals he has collected.

Goodman really takes pride in his work, and for him, sheet metal is as much a hobby as a vocation. The phone calls I received showed that many of you felt the same way. If you're interested, Goodman operates a Web site, www.thesheetmetalshop.com, discussing the trade.

After years of visiting trade shows such as Fabtech and Metalcon, where the latest in plasma cutters and other automated machinery are abundantly on display, I had forgotten that a lot of sheet-metal shops still do things by hand, either by choice or economic necessity.

On another subject, Business News Publishing Co., SNIPS' parent corporation, recently changed its name to BNP Media. Along with a new name, we also have a new home. Please update your mailing lists and send letters and press releases to 2401 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 700, Troy, MI 48084. Our phone and fax numbers remain the same.

Letters

The family 'secret' is out

I would think that it would be apparent that the tremendous response to the article on family businesses ("All in the family," November 2003) was due to the company featured in the article. (Just kidding.)

I'm glad the article got (a good) response for you. I too have heard several comments, all favorable. Thanks again for featuring us.

George "Butch" Welsch

Welsch Heating and Cooling Co.

St. Louis

Working on Lady Liberty

I am a subscriber to SNIPS magazine and have been for a number of years. I am a fourth-generation tinsmith in Syracuse, N.Y., where my great-grandfather started his tin shop in 1892 with a contract to make splash guards for the many horse-drawn carriages that filled the streets of our city.

I am the last member of my family in the trade.

I was pleased to see the recent article titled "Sheet Metal in America" (November 2003). I am privileged to be involved in the ongoing restoration of the Statue of Liberty and was pleased to see it as one of the featured items in your article. I work mainly in the fields of historical restoration and feel that I have reached the pinnacle of my profession being entrusted with this universally recognized symbol of freedom.

Your magazine has proven to be a great resource for me, and I'm glad that you are keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry.

Dennis Heaphy, "The Sheet Metal Man"

Syracuse, N.Y.