We stand on the shoulders of those before us

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There’s a famous quote: “We are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants, and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter.” The 12th century French philosopher Bernard of Chartes is the source.

Five hundred years later, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton paraphrased that thought in a letter, “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.”

My rough translation: We are who we are because of the hard work of the people who came before us.

Bernard of Chartes and Isaac Newton were humble enough to see this undeniable truth. They could have been speaking about their countries, their occupations or even their families. The truism remains no matter the context.

As a business, Plastics News marks its 25th year in 2014. Like the scholars advise, we thank and acknowledge the men and women who laid the foundation for our publication. In this special issue, we also recognize the people we continue to serve — our readers and advertisers who shaped the plastics industry we know today.

First, allow me to salute the past leaders of PN. Lowell “Chris” Chrisman laid the groundwork as PN’s first publisher in 1989. He was followed by my predecessor, Tony Eagan, who grew the brand geographically and in scope during his 20 years as publisher. Bob Grace served with distinction as PN’s inaugural editor before current Editor Don Loepp took up that role in 2011.

Over the years, scores of people have served in various departments for Plastics News: sales, editorial, marketing, audience development, digital, events, research and support. We thank them for their hard work. Our current staff of 30 full-time professionals should take a bow as well. Some travel the globe to bring you news. Others find just the right marketing vehicle for your product or service. Still others plan conferences, design pages, push out breaking news alerts, coordinate research or fulfill your subscription.

In 1989, some of our first advertisers were Novatec, Conair, BASF, DuPont, Novacor and Harwick Chemical. They and others took a risk on a new publication. We’ve since grown from only a weekly print newspaper to add video newscasts, a dozen e-newsletters, daily newspapers at trade shows, conferences, awards, annual research reports and more. We could not produce any of these without the support of our partners, our advertisers.

In everything we do, we keep our readers at the forefront. Chrisman called our readers “our boss” in his first column in 1989. G.D. Crain Jr. founded Crain Communications in 1916 on his stated belief, “Readers first.” Mr. Crain’s conviction: If we put the concerns of our readers at the core of what we do, good things will follow. A good reputation, loyal subscribers, advertisers, etc.

We mark our 25th anniversary not as an end point. It’s a marker at the side of the road. A road that will lead us to your office’s doorstep each week in print and every day online. We pledge to arrive with great stories and timely information you need to run your business.

Readers first. That’s our pledge to you. It’s how we began our journey. And from this perch on the shoulders of giants, it’s how we’ll step toward the next 25 years serving you.

Lafferty is publisher of Plastics News.

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