Many of you long-timers in this industry will remember that March 30, 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the day President Ronald Reagan survived being shot in Washington, DC. It is a time that is particularly memorable for me because it was the first day on my new job as Advertising Sales Representative at Industry Publications, publishers of the then titled Aerosol Age. A lot has happened in those 40 years, among them the renaming of the magazine to Spray Technology & Marketing; I think there are still some aerosol industry loyalists who have yet to forgive us.
However, the best part of my long career has been the many friends and associates I’ve met along the way; I think few industries are fortunate enough to experience the type of strong friendships like those forged in the aerosol industry. We have gathered to work at our craft in many wonderful places on most of the continents—from Chicago to Napa Valley to Nice, Rome and Buenos Aires. Who remembers the fabulous events like the cocktail party and private tour of the Prado Museum in Madrid? The daily walks through St. Marks Square in Venice to attend an FEA conference? The oyster bakes on Kiawah Island and the mechanical bull in San Antonio? I’ve never quite figured out how I got so lucky to work in an industry that showed me the world over the course of a career among such wonderful people.
It hasn’t all been jet-setting and hi-jinks, of course. There were some very trying times that, while not fun, still managed to pull us all together as an industry and as colleagues, such as fleeing wildfires while attending a WAIB meeting in California or fleeing lightning at suddenly-rained-out golf outings, where we commiserated together in the clubhouse as we dried out.
Behind the scenes of SPRAY, there were many other challenges, as well. I recall as if it were yesterday trying to get the October 2001 issue out just days after the national tragedy of 9/11. Many readers won’t know that our offices were closed for a full 10 days and saw several computers ruined following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, yet we never missed deadline. And just last year, we managed to get 12 issues out smoothly while in the throes of a global pandemic.
My time in the aerosol industry has spanned what I call the “entrepreneurial generation” to what most now consider the “corporate generation.” For me, the early 1980s can be documented by photos of golf foursomes with early industry powerhouses like Gordon Gilroy, Don Rowson, George Ford and Howard Pound; meeting up at FEA events with Bunny Lapin, Bob Abplanalp and the global set, as well as enjoying steak dinners and stone crabs at the best restaurants with George Barr and other industry luminaries. As a 20-something, that was all pretty heady and glamorous.
As the calendar turns to 2021, I will have retired from Industry Publications and so say goodbye to the industry that is filled with such very special people and fond memories. It has been quite a run, with many tearful farewells. However, friendships are enduring so I have decided to just say farewell, for now.