The Sun Is Setting

Nov. 24, 2021
On November 30, 2021, this website will be going dark. The final print issue of Grading & Excavation Contractor is the November/December 2021 edition. What follows here is the Editor's Comments from the issue.
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If the news has yet to reach you, this is the final issue of Grading & Excavation Contractor. Not just the final issue of the year, but the final issue ever.

Before I leave you with a few words of my own, I offer you some farewell thoughts from this publication’s original editor, John Trotti.

In 1999 when we began the magazine, heavy construction was poised to take a momentous leap into the future, and few, including many of the equipment and software people destined to be the change agents, were certain where the plunge would land them…or us.

Yet all the signs, the pieces, the systems were there waiting to be transferred from the high-tech world--the movement already taking place in mining and agriculture.

The prime mover in the equation lay deep within the bedrock of the whole construction process…the availability of highly skilled equipment operators to replace those reaching retirement age.

As with most challenges, the answer came in the transfer of technologies—principally aviation and electronics—that allowed a shift from mechanical and hydromechanical systems to hydromechanical and soon after electro-hydro-mechanical systems.

With the transition to variable displacement pumps, long the mainstay of aircraft control systems, all kinds of changes became possible, right up to today’s fly-wire achievements.

Once again, we’ve reached a new departure point, as before defined by bedrock workforce concerns…getting people with the skills and desire to work in coordination with today’s amazing equipment.

This puts heavy construction once again at the edge of a revolution in which the machines themselves will be called upon to take on tasks formerly handled by operators. How long might such a transition take? The road to machine control took 20 years. Will the next step be shorter?

Enough of the future. Allow me to turn to Grading & Excavation’s past and give callouts to those who made my and Arturo’s jobs so wonderfully satisfying, and for this we have to start with the founding publisher, Dan Waldman, who saw and transferred his vision for the magazine to the rest of us. His demand for excellence and readability were what made the publication so special to us who worked on it and even more so to its amazingly loyal readers.

It is now time to give special thanks to just a few of the people whose expertise in publication matters tied the pieces together. To name just a few, long-time publisher and account manager, Mark Gersten, Sedona Vigliotta who set up the accounting and HR elements, Joan Lloyd whose art direction set the magazine apart from its rivals, Nadia English whose computer skills brought us into the modern world, and editors, Jessie Reed, Rachel Sim and William Warner without whom we all would have been lost.

Our writers over the years have been just the best, sticking with us through thick and thin while providing us with the highest quality pieces in the business. In genuine admiration, Arturo and I would like to call out a select few among many: Carol Brzozowski, Paul Hull, Lori Lovely, Daniel C. Brown, Dan Rafter, Daniel Duffy and Penelope Grenoble.

Finally, I’d like to steal a Will Rogers quote. “I never met a person in the industry we didn’t like and wouldn’t be thrilled to have at our dinner table.”

– John Trotti

As for me, I will miss the privilege of informing you. I will miss the people I have met through my involvement with this publication. I have been gifted with their company, and they have celebrated my victories and supported me in the aftermath of my losses. The professionals in this industry are dedicated, brilliant, funny, and resilient, and every single one is kind. This is the humanity that I have enjoyed and will cherish.

While bearing witness to the end of GX, I am comforted in knowing that this industry and its people will not only survive, but also go on to thrive even in the most difficult of situations. Thomas Gray wrote, “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air.” We may live and work in silent grace, strength, and dignity, never achieving notoriety, but there is sweetness in what we do.

I’m a “crier,” meaning I cry before, during, or after a variety of circumstances. I cry while watching a movie. I cried uncontrollably when my father passed away. I cry when I reunite with old friends I haven’t seen in years. I will weep at the sunsetting of this publication.

My hope is to see you somewhere down the paved, or unpaved, road.