Embracing Career Change

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Employee Spotlight Profile
Derek Korn, Editor-in-Chief
Production Machining

Derek Korn, Editor-in-Chief, Production Machining

Besides tweets about machining technology, it is possible you’ll see random ones from him about his ‘55 Chevy, which he has been restoring for many years. Follow Derek on Twitter at @PM_Derek.

After earning a mechanical engineering degree and spending seven years with an industrial PR agency, I joined Gardner Business Media in 2004 as a writing editor for Modern Machine Shop. After 16 and one-quarter years, I had become its Executive Editor, Technical Director of the brand’s Top Shops benchmarking program and, perhaps most importantly, creator of the annual Editors’ Walking Club. My plan was to continue with the magazine ideally until retirement. My plan changed early this year.

Long story short, the editor-in-chief of sister publication Production Machining announced that he was retiring. I, like others, was surprised since he is not all that much older than me. Ultimately, the company asked if I’d be open to moving to Production Machining to take his place. For me, it was a matter of choosing comfort with a brand I was familiar with or changing to lead a new one. I not only chose to change, but to embrace it.

Modern Machine Shop covers a range of topics while Production Machining clearly has a narrower scope. But, just a few months into my new gig, I have already come to enjoy focusing on technology to support precision machining in high volumes. And what I’ve appreciated most about my job with this company with both brands is the ability to interact with shop owners and managers. Lately, this interaction has taken the form of phone calls and video conferences instead of actual facility visits, but I still enjoy remote talks with shop folks and look forward to in-person visits sometime down the road.

The new Production Machining Team: Derek Korn, Lori Beckman, Angela Osbourne, Carla Turner, Addie Parriss

Over-communication has proven helpful as the new Production Machining team starts to mesh. But, the editorial crew did manage to recently work in a social-distanced lunch at Gardner headquarters in Cincinnati.

Working remotely from home has made the transition a bit clumsy, especially given that Production Machining has a managing editor (Angela Osbourne), graphics designer (Carla Turner) and digital assistant (Addie Parris) who are also new to the brand. (Senior Editor Lori Beckman has been with the brand the longest at 16 years.) However, over communication with team members, I believed, has helped.

When I took over as editor-in-chief of Production Machining in April (on April Fools’ Day to be exact), I had a few goals for the brand to pursue. So far, I feel we’re doing a good job of working toward them.

For example, I wanted the magazine to rely less on contributed material. In my mind, a good deal of staff-written content demonstrates brand strength. All feature stories and “Tech Brief” articles from May through August were written by me, Lori or previous Editor-in-Chief Chris Felix (his last article appeared in May).

I also hoped to leverage video more. Admittedly, Lori is outshining me at the moment with the various interviews she’s had with this year’s round of young Emerging Leaders. Here’s an example of one of her videos.

In addition, I wanted the brand to engage with social media more. Since March, PM’s number of LinkedIn followers has more than doubled. Plus, the addition of Addie will help grow our social media presence and activity. Again, video is helping in that regard. For example, this short but sweet one shows how a 3D-printed parts chute enables an automated turning cell to remain in production despite sporadic part inspection.

Activity for all Gardner brands related to IMTS Spark will likely generate new ideas to connect buyers and sellers of precision machining technology, too, so I’m excited for Production Machining to continue on the path we’re on.

Need more information?
Derek Korn, Editor-in-Chief
Production Machining


About the Author

Derek Korn, Editor-in-Chief, Production Machining

Derek Korn

Derek was named Production Machining’s Editor-in-Chief in 2020. Prior to that, he spent 16 years writing for Modern Machine Shop magazine and seven years with an industrial public relations company. He says visiting CNC machine shops to write about how they leverage new technology and processes to their advantage is the most enjoyable part of his job. In this role, he gets to help guide the brand as it focuses on helping niche machining businesses — many of which perform high-precision, high-volume CNC turning work — become more efficient operations. His mechanical engineering technology degree from the University of Cincinnati provides a firm foundation for understanding manufacturing technology so that he can explain its benefits to owners and managers of precision machining operations.