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Mike Hockett
Editor of Industrial Distribution

I always wondered what I’d say when the time came to write this editorial. That time came far sooner than expected.

Today, Aug. 31, is my last day as editor of Industrial Distribution. I begin editorial duties at a different B2B media publication on Sept. 4. I was recently presented with an unexpected opportunity that I eventually accepted. It was something I didn’t inquire about or apply for, and was a much nicer employment change experience than job-hunting, which we all know sucks.

It still hasn’t really hit me that I won't be editor of ID after this Labor Day weekend. It's been my baby since I took its reins in August 2014 as someone who knew nothing about the industrial distribution marketplace. Along with serving as editor of ID’s sister publication Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation (IMPO) since the start of 2016, my time here has allowed me to see some really cool things and meet many great people. It’s taken me inside the operations of multi-billion dollar companies like Grainger and Motion Industries, as well as distributors run by teams of less than 20 employees. I learned more about American manufacturing in the last four years than in the rest of my professional or academic life combined. It's taken me on press trips to The Netherlands and Thailand — the former being my first time traveling outside the U.S. — and to a lot of cool cities around the country that I hadn't visited before.

Ever since my journalism career started, my favorite part of it has been telling stories. Writing news reports and whitepapers and hosting webinars is always interesting, but getting to know an individual or a company and sharing their story with an audience never fails to be a great experience. I’ve always taken great pride in producing ID’s Distributor Profile stories, so I hope you enjoy our September/Fall issue's about Hazel Park, MI-based Motor City Industrial. That issue gets mailed to subscribers later next week.

I’ll miss the trade shows. I vividly remember my first one — the National Safety Council Expo in September 2014 — where I was wowed by a world of safety products. My wife still jokingly reminds me of how when I returned home, I raved about all the innovative features about the ladders that a particular manufacturer had on display there. She couldn’t believe I found such a seemingly simple product so interesting. But that’s the impact this industry has had on me. Entering as a millennial with next to no knowledge of industrial products or the stakeholders involved, it became more and more interesting to me as time went on. The free food, drink and entertainment at the trade show hospitality parties was also a nice bonus.

Most of all, I’ll miss the people. I’ve been fortunate to establish countless great professional relationships among the ID readership and those who help keep this industry so vital to the industrial supply chain. All the chats during industry events, over the phone or via email have gone a long way towards increasing my working knowledge and providing our audience with the best content possible.

Of all the sentiments I’ve experienced over these last few weeks of transition, the biggest I’ve felt is gratitude. I’m tremendously thankful to all those who helped me serve you as editor of ID. So, thank you to all the content contributors. Thank you to all the marketing staff at distributors, suppliers, associations, buying groups and service providers that have sent me news and information over the years or partaken in our whitepapers and webinars. Thank you to my current and former co-workers at Advantage Business Marketing for being excellent colleagues. Thank you to Advantage for the opportunity of this job, and thank you to my wife for listening to me discuss all the cool new industrial product features I've seen in my travels, even if it makes her roll her eyes.

While it’s bittersweet for me to leave ID and start my next journalistic chapter, at least I get to leave this publication with a bang. The last project I produced for ID was its 2018 Big 50 List, which has a 15-page spread in our September/Fall issue. Hopefully you’d already seen our video countdown (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) or the full list on the website or newsletter. It’s ID’s biggest undertaking each year, but also by far its most well-known and rewarding.

Speaking of the Big 50, if you have registered for our upcoming Big 50 Conference & Awards Luncheon — to be held Sept. 25 at the Hilton O'Hare just outside of Chicago — that event is going full steam ahead. I'm definitely bummed I won't get to see ID's first-ever in-person event, as it'll be a great one, both for ID and for all attendees to hear and learn from leaders of prominent industrial distributors. Learn all about the event and find a registration link here.

As ID moves on without me, please make its managing editor, Rachelle Blair-Frasier, your new point of contact for this publication. She’s worked side-by-side with me as IMPO’s managing editor since September of 2016. She can be reached at rachelle.blairfrasier@advantagemedia.com.

If you’d like to stay in touch with me, or are curious about what I’m writing about now, please reach out to me at mikehockett4@gmail.com, or check on my LinkedIn Profile starting next week.

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