Welcome to our annual issue that focuses on architectural sheet metal.

As I’ve written before, it’s one of my favorite issues, since it gives us the chance to showcase some of the more unusual items our readers have designed or worked on. If you have a collection of back issues of Snips - and I know many of you do - you’ll see that we have always enjoyed highlighting some of the finest examples of sheet metal craft that our readers have done. From the restoration of Atlantic City, N.J., landmark Lucy the Margate Elephant to numerous churches, state capitol domes and even the Statue of Liberty, Snips readers have worked on a lot of high-profile projects over the years.

And we know readers are pretty proud when we tell others about their work. I was reminded of that as I was putting this issue together. A friend of mine who lives in Denver recently sent me a link to an article in Westword, an alternative weekly newspaper that covers life in the Rocky Mountains city. The reason he sent the article was that it included a profile of a Denver-area heating and cooling contractor. The business, Federal Heating, has a replica of the Statue of Liberty, fashioned from 250 pounds of galvanized sheet metal by the family company’s late owner.

The 800-word article details how Bob Ramsour built it from a home-based business where he erected sheet metal robots, knights and tin men when he wasn’t servicing furnaces. But his greatest work, family members said, was the replica of Lady Liberty that he built over the course of two years.

The Westword article reads a lot like something you’d see in Snips. But what drew my friend’s attention - and the main reason I’m telling you about it now - is that the writer mentions that the statue was featured on the cover of Snips in 1983!

It’s not very common that we see a mention of Snips in the mainstream - or in this case, the alternative - press. I was honored that a reader was so proud that we featured the company’s work that she mentioned it in an article 17 years later.

If you’d like to read the article, go towww.westword.com/2006-09-07/news/a-federal-case/3/.

By the way, if you follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/snipsmag, you can find a much shorter link to the article that I “tweeted” about last month.

If you’ve worked on a landmark project that you’re pretty proud of, whether it made your local TV news or newspaper, please let us know. That’s what Kevin Harpring did, which brings me back to this month’s cover story.

Some months ago, Harpring, a former Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association president, e-mailed me about the project that graces this month’s cover. As associate editor James J. Siegel noted in his story, we featured Harpring’s work on the famous Twin Spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in 2004.

This time, the Kentucky contractor told me about the work he did for a new pastry shop that would be part of Aria, one of the luxury hotels that make up the massive CityCenter project in Las Vegas. The contract called for workers to erect a sculpture 40 feet long and 16 feet high that would surround shop visitors. You can read about it on page 16.