Barbara Young

My dad loved stories. I called him the homily king because he used “secular” parables to make a point whether as chastisement, encouragement or entertainment. Life is like a baseball game, he loved to say. Sometimes you get on base; sometimes you strike out and sometimes you hit a home run; sometimes you help another player score bringing him the glory; and sometimes you end up warming the bench.

I have experienced each scenario at one time or another in my life as a professional journalist. I wish my dad had lived long enough to see me make career transition: I’m moving into the bullpen to become a relief pitcher.

Dear industry friends, I am taking myself out of the game as the magazine’s full-time editor to assume the new title of editor emeritus. Although this step is called retirement in the work world, I am aware that people retire but minds do not. I once read that a successful retirement depends more on what you retire to do than what you retire from. It is a blessing when your employer asks that you remain involved in some capacity. I am pleased to say that is the case for me. You will continue to see my name on the magazine’s masthead as well as my byline on special reports. I love research projects and now I will be able to do them on a regular basis. You no doubt will see me at industry meetings from time to time as well.

Meanwhile, The National Provisioner remains in good hands under the guidance and care of Andy Hanacek as your new chief editor. I know he is an able professional as I have spent the past few years doing my best to contribute to his preparedness. As my dad used to say, you can train a player but it is up to the player to make his mark. The way you have responded to Andy says to me that he is making his mark. Andy has much support from others on the editorial team including our designer, Brian Hertel, and Sam Gazdziak, who is defining value-added with his work as editor of Independent Processor, our spinoff magazine. Features and other reports are the hallmark of the magazine, to be sure, but they would have less impact without a good design and graphics foundation. That job belongs to Brian, who has a sharp eye for design and the use of color.

To all of you who helped me score over the years — including my employer and each person in the industry who touched my life from plant-floor workers to those occupying executive suites and many others in between — thank you. I never would have gotten on base without your generosity and many kindnesses in answering my questions and inviting me to your plants and other facilities. I still need your help. So expect a call or an e-mail from time to time. I really appreciated hearing from those of you who responded to my blogs. I will be writing more of them so please keep talking back to me. Finally, don’t hesitate to write or call. I do not want to lose touch.

The National Provisioner has reinvented itself many times over the years and I have been its only constant. I am proud of that. A few years ago, a student asked how I wanted to be remembered when I ended my career. This is what I told him: I wish to be remembered as knowledgeable, caring, ethical, principled, capable, enthusiastic, imbued with generosity and a leader who understood the value of sometimes being a follower.