A Conversation with Lori Beckman, Parts Cleaning

Get to know Lori Beckman, Senior Editor of Production Machining and Parts Cleaning, as she talks about the Parts Cleaning Conference and the manufacturing industry.


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Lori Beckman, Senior Editor of Production Machining and Parts Cleaning

Lori Beckman, senior editor of Production Machining and Parts Cleaning

Lori Beckman has been with Gardner Business Media for 17 years. She is currently a senior editor for Products Finishing’s sister publication Production Machining, and is also the editor of the Parts Cleaning section that appears in both PM and PF. Lori regularly attends such tradeshows as IMTS and PMTS, is co-chairperson of the Parts Cleaning Conference held yearly, and has become Gardner’s resident expert on all things industrial cleaning. PF recently sat down with Lori to hear her insights on parts cleaning and the manufacturing industry in general. 

PF: Did you grow up wanting to be involved in the manufacturing industry or were there other aspirations?

LB: I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I had no idea it would eventually lead me to the manufacturing industry.

PF: How has the manufacturing industry changed since you started covering it?

I’ve witnessed the birth of 3D printing/additive manufacturing, as well as advancements in automation and robotics on the technology side. But the job of a writing editor has also evolved. In 2003, when I began working at Gardner Business Media, we were only focused on the print publication. Now, although we are still focused on print and will continue to be, we have the additional job of writing for digital media, including on our blog and website as well as social media. This includes more writing and some video as well. We will be producing more video as time goes on.

PF: Tell us about the Parts Cleaning Conference and how it got started.

We started the Process Cleaning Expo (PCx) back in 2010 and co-located the event with ECOAT 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time, GBM had recently acquired a cleaning magazine and wanted to produce a live event for industrial cleaning because there was a tradeshow dedicated to cleaning in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The following year we co-located PCx with PMTS 2011 and have continued to do so ever since. Products Finishing was always the lead on the conference since we were publishing the Parts Cleaning Section in the magazine. Over time, the event evolved into the Parts Cleaning Conference to become more in line with the brand we were presenting.

PF: Why is cleaning so important for coaters and finishers ?

The quality of a good finish always starts with a clean part. The process of cleaning a part post-machining or prior to finishing is critical. Not achieving this objective will have a negative impact on the plating, painting and/or powder coating that is being applied. It can also potentially jeopardize the standards that finishers are obligated to achieve for the finishing process.

PF: Your work with Parts Cleaning is only one aspect of the work you do at Gardner — you’re also a senior editor for Production Machining. What exciting updates do you see on the horizon for PM?

Our new editor-in-chief, Derek Korn, has lots of fresh ideas for the brand moving forward. You’ll see more video from us (when we can get back to working in our office) and different article angles. Readers will see more stories about data-driven shop floor environments. As many machines have reached their highest potential, technological advancements now are often in the form of more powerful software, so we will be covering that. Other articles will focus on workforce development and how to cultivate a successful machine shop as well as how to retain skilled workers.   

PF: What’s the best piece of advice you were given?

Strive to be the best version of yourself every day.

PF: How do you motivate yourself?

I have a morning routine that includes writing down five things I’m grateful for and reviewing my goals, long-term and short-term. It reminds me of what’s important in life and not to sweat the small stuff.


PF: How do you motivate others?

Be sure they know the end goal and give rewards along the way.

PF: What leadership traits have helped you along the way?

Integrity, positivity, enthusiasm, self-motivation.

PF: Night owl or early bird?

Early bird most of the time.

PF: What organization or company, aside from your own, do you most admire?

Starfish Project, a non-profit organization that provides exploited women with vocational training, health care, shelter, and education.


PF: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

When I was 15, I worked for an ice cream parlor/bakery. It was my first experience with customer service, but I think mostly I learned a lot of good ice cream sundae recipes.

PF: If you had $100,000 to give to a charity, which one would it be?

Make-a-Wish International.

PF: If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be?

A professional interior decorator.

PF: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?

Either at my daughter’s dance competition, my son’s basketball game or at home working around the house, and in the evening spending family time watching a movie together or playing games.

PF: Personal heroes?

St. Joan of Arc.

PF: What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?

I don’t know if it’s a talent, but I enjoy DIY projects at my house and teach myself how to do them by watching YouTube videos. This year, I hope to dabble in refinishing a couple pieces of furniture.

PF: What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

PF: Word that best describes you?