From the CEO: Positive Change in Manufacturing Industries

Rick Kline Sr. discusses how Gardner Business Media’s trade publications exist to highlight successes in manufacturing, and how Products Finishing and our sister brands in the Gardner family foster positive changes by doing so.


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Editor’s note: Gardner Business Media’s CEO, Rick Kline Sr., wrote this thoughtful article about our company’s role in the manufacturing industries. Though it originally appeared in our internal newsletter, we found it inspiring and wanted to share with our readers. Truly, you are the reason we do what we do.

The Good We Do

This is a topic I’ve written about before, but we have many new employees who haven’t heard what I believe to be an important part of the “why” and “how” of Gardner Business Media. In this column, I will look at a little history and then move forward into what I believe is Gardner’s important role in manufacturing.

Gardner started with two men, Don Gardner and Howard Campbell, founding Modern Machine Shop magazine. Gardner was the Midwest sales manager of Iron Age magazine, and Campbell was the Midwest editor of American Machinist magazine.

They started Modern Machine Shop with two concepts. First, the magazine would be sent at no charge to movers and shakers in the American metalworking market. I believe MMS was one of the first, if not the first, controlled-circulation magazine. Most B-to-B media use the concept of controlled circulation today. This concept helped direct the magazine to the right people instead of letting paid subscriptions alone dictate who the magazine went to.

The second concept, which I believe is even more important, was that MMS would report on best practices in metalworking with a particular emphasis on successful enterprises. Shop managers are proud of what they do well, and other shop managers like to learn from the success of others. From the very beginning, Gardner Business Media’s offerings have helped companies produce higher-quality products, utilize technology to improve productivity and learn about ways to increase profitability and competitiveness.

Today, we do all the above and more. Through our various media channels, we talk about sustainability and the environment. We discuss the importance of diversity. We encourage safe work environments. We teach about using new technology and automation. We have programs like Top Shops, which recognize existing and emerging leaders in manufacturing. With all we do, we strive to make manufacturing better, which is good for our country and the people who benefit from the positive advancements that we discuss. 

As a trade publication, we do not spend our time pointing out failures or areas in which companies fall short (unless they have found ways to improve their practices and a lesson has been learned from it). We feel our mission of telling the good stories will encourage more positive outcomes than simply reporting on the bad.

So, there it is. Gardner Business Media is an encouraging voice in the industry. By fostering positive thoughts and actions, our mission is to bring about positive change.