Insightful Writing Involves Meaningful Relationships
Lori Beckman, Senior Editor, Production Machining, says writing is more enjoyable when surrounded by good people who share a common goal and feels fortunate to have created strong connections and friendships while doing her job.
Employee Spotlight Profile
Lori Beckman, Senior Editor, Production Machining
Lori, in her temporary home office.
Most college students who study journalism do not dream about working for a trade publication, and I was one of them. As I wrote for my college campus newspaper and was a yearbook editor, I never imagined that my career path would involve learning and writing first about the vast technologies of truck parts and service and then years later about precision machining.
Reflecting on my technical writing journey that began 22 years ago, I realize that if I bring an honest interest to the subject at hand and surround myself with passionate people who know more than me about a topic, I can write about anything and enjoy it.
It’s not always the aspect of writing that requires putting meaningful sentences together on a computer screen for hours at a time that I enjoy. In fact, that can be a humbling and challenging experience. At times I’m frustrated with not understanding a technology or with having to do a lot of research even to know what questions to ask my contacts to create a good story.
But instead, it’s these three experiences I find rewarding about writing: First, the contacts I make and the relationships that are developed while writing an article. Second, realizing afterward that I have created easy to understand content (I hope!) that is helping others in the industry learn about a technology or process. Third, seeing the layout of the finished piece that includes stuff I knew little about prior to researching and writing the article.
At her most recent shop visit, Lori tours Clippard Instrument Laboratory where Robin Rutschilling, the company’s director of operations, leads the way and educates her about a part that the company manufactures.
Although these aspects of writing keep me motivated, the work I do outside the office is most gratifying. Attending events is most exciting for me because I get my energy from being with people. Trade shows are especially fun because it’s an opportunity to make connections with Production Machining readers and advertisers. I enjoy meeting new folks from companies I have written about as well as “old” friends I’ve made in years past. The energy surrounding these events is contagious; everyone in attendance has a common thread and is engaged in and enthusiastic about the new technology that is continually evolving.
Another door opened for me to meet even more enthusiastic people in the industry when I became editor of Production Machining and Products Finishing’s parts cleaning section — a quarterly section of the magazines that focuses on manufacturing cleaning technologies. A few years ago I was assigned to write articles on this topic, which eventually led to heading up that section and writing my own column. This industry niche has enabled me to connect with even more people like me who are anxious to educate others about the industry.
When Gardner Business Media (GBM) started the Manufacturing Cleaning Association (MCA) in late 2020, I was asked to serve as a board member. I’m honored to sit on the board with others who have much more knowledge than I do about industrial cleaning. This opportunity has granted me another way to connect with PM readers and industry vendors. I will be making friends and helping build this community the cleaning industry hasn’t yet experienced until now. It’s exciting to witness the association’s development from its inception, and I’m looking forward to our first in-person event later this year.
In short, writing is more enjoyable when surrounded by good people who share a common goal. I’m fortunate to have created strong connections and friendships while doing my job.
About the Author
Lori has been reporting on, writing and editing content in Production Machining since 2003. She attends IMTS and PMTS regularly, and visits machine shops and OEMs to find the most valuable content for PM readers. She spearheaded the Emerging Leaders annual awards program that she is passionate about. Lori is also co-chairperson of the Parts Cleaning Conference held yearly.
Lori has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton. She resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband, two children and puppy. She loves hanging out with family and friends, and enjoys reading, golfing and baking.