I hope the end of 2007 finds your companies busy and profitable. End-of-the-year issues are often challenging to compile - and their accompanying editorials to write - because so many companies are already focused on the next year.

Next month, the AHR Expo returns to New York City for the first time in almost 20 years and most companies prefer to show their newest products there, making the HVAC trade shows at the end of October and into November comparatively quiet (except for Fabtech, which is always loud) for news.

For the Snips staff, much of this year was dedicated to our 75th anniversary issue, which we published in March. The issue was a huge undertaking unlike anything I had experienced before.

The death of former editor and publisher Edward C. “Nick” Carter Jr. in November 2006, just as we were beginning to plan the issue, made the project more daunting. But Carter’s son, Edward C. Carter III, proved invaluable in his assistance after telling us about the death of his father. While I spent hours going over dusty, bound copies of Snips from the 1930s and 40s, his family stories and memories of working on the magazine while in college gave me clues on what to look for - and where.

As we looked back during this year, we also made changes to our Internet presence, which many experts consider the future of publishing. We expanded our monthly e-newsletter complied by associate editor James J. Siegel, and added a “digital edition” of the print issue at www.snipsmag.com. It allows visitors to “turn” pages using their computer’s mouse.

We also started offering Today’s News Update, a section that often features online-only stories and very recent industry headlines. More new additions include two story-related videos and “Mr. Sheet Metal,” a blog written by Snips’ editors. We had our art director, Nicole Kevonian, design an icon that you’ll find on the right side of our Web page. The editors write about a variety of issues related to the sheet metal and HVAC industries, including some that probably wouldn’t make it into the print edition. So far, posts have included traffic accidents caused by wayward compressors and record-high summer heat.

Our experiences with online videos so far have not gone as smoothly as I’d hoped, but we’re committed to offering them. I hope to soon have images from the many conventions we attend and jobsites we visit. If you’re having trouble viewing or hearing any of the videos we post, please e-mail me at mcconnellm@bnpmedia.com.

Your suggestions on how to improve Snips are always welcome. As we start our 76th year, we’re hoping to continue the legacy established by the original Edward C. Carter in 1932 as we venture into areas he probably never thought about.

Letters - Lawmakers make it hard to hire

I just finished reading your article about teaching sheet metal in prisons (“Education and incarceration,” October 2007 Snips). You mentioned that there is a program here in Texas. I have personally worked with a technician that came out of the Texas Department of Corrections program. He was a rare talent.

Unfortunately, these programs in Texas are for naught. In their last session, our state Legislature passed a “feel-good” house bill to register all service techs who perform residential service. By the time the bill will get implemented, anyone who services or is involved in change-outs (residential or commercial) and if they are around the general public will have to be registered with the state.

This was a bill to keep predators, rapists and child molesters out of people’s homes. The end result will not be so pretty. We are an industry that is having a hard enough time keeping up with the demand for new workers since HVAC is not as glamorous as hi-tech (careers).

Funny thing about all of this: because the apartment lobby is so strong in Texas, the same people who can’t get registered to work for a license holder can go to work at an apartment complex as a maintenance man - no questions asked.

Mike Creamer

Vice president

Pro-Air Engineering Inc.

Austin, Texas