EW will have a stronger connection to the end-user side of the business.

I like to think of a publishing company as an "information factory." Whether magazines cover the latest fashion designs from Paris, provide tips for home repair or report on the electrical industry, they are all in the same business, and accurate, timely information is the product they strive to produce.

Like most businesses, magazines have salespeople out in the market selling the product. In the case of EW, it's our advertising representatives selling ad space to electrical manufacturers and providers of distribution services. Back at EW's "factory" are lots of important people who make this magazine a reality each month: an art director who designs the magazine so that it's easy to read; circulation folks who handle subscriptions; production personnel who handle the ads that the salespeople sell, marketing personnel who promote the product; and, of course, the company's executives who keep the factory humming and make sure EW hits its profit goals. On the factory floor itself are the editors, who in this analogy are producing the magazine's lifeblood: the information in the ink on these pages each month.

One way we keep the EW factory producing the product that its readers desire and advertisers will support is finding out what customers want, and then figuring out how to provide them with that information.

I mention all of this to you this month because in future issues, I think you will see a renewed emphasis in EW on informing readers about what electrical distributors' customers expect from distributors. EW's editors have always received lots of positive feedback on articles that offer a customer's perspective on this business in general, and on what they need from electrical distributors in particular.

These articles are popular because they help distributors understand a little bit more about what makes their customers tick, and gives them real-world ideas about how they can sell them more electrical products.

To develop ideas for many of these articles, EW's editors have taken advantage of the close relationship that the magazine has had with its two "sister" publications in the end-user side of the electrical business: EC&M and CEE News magazines.

Now that relationship will be even closer. Late last month, I took on the newly combined role of chief editor of EW and CEE News magazines. After nearly 17 years of focusing my energies and writing entirely on EW, I will be managing the editorial operations of CEE News. I will still be covering the electrical wholesaling industry that I have grown to love over the years. But I am excited about learning more about the end-user side of the electrical industry--particularly about ways to improve distributor-customer relationships.

Over the past 50 years, CEE News has established itself as a key source of new product information and job-site solutions for electrical contractors, engineers and other electrical industry professionals. My charge is to build on its tradition and make it the electrical contractor's first read for information on new products, the emerging voice/data market, ideas on running contracting businesses and innovative job-site solutions.

I see a ton of potential in a closer editorial link between EW and CEE News. It's a win-win situation for readers of both magazines. As NEMRA's Hank Bergson once told me during an interview, whoever is closest to the customer wins. I hope some of the ideas that I bring over from the customer side of the equation from my work with CEE News will prove to be a winning combination for EW's readers.