Another newsroom refugee steps into your world

By Keith Albertson

For nearly a decade, your monthly edition of ISE was introduced by a reformed former journalist who brought his expertise from the world of news to this platform and made it his home.

Now say hello to the latest Fourth Estate alumnus.

Like my predecessor, Michael Hughes, I started out in the world of print journalism. In fact, he and I first crossed paths at the same North Georgia newspaper, where I spent decades in various roles before he lured me away to fill his shoes as he takes a new role at IISE. Though the fellow now staring back at you is a little grayer and balder, we have a key trait in common: the eye of a news professional trained on a unique and fascinating domain.

Like Michael, I find the connection between problems and solutions in the engineering world a refreshing change from one in which societal challenges often were milked for political or personal gain. Here, it’s about finding ways to fix what’s broken and make things work better, minus the grandstanding.

This is seen, for instance, in our cover story on how Bossard AG took something as minute but vital as fasteners – nuts, bolts and screws – and showed how to streamline their use in manufacturing, much like the proverb “for want of a nail … the battle was lost.” Or how the healthcare industry can learn valuable lessons from the way Volvo assembles its vehicles.

This is real stuff, not just theories or sound bites, but an analytical approach to making products and processes function as they should.

Admittedly, I’m a guy who avoided math classes like the building was on fire and struggles to use any tool more complex than a screwdriver, so I have a lot to learn. You can help educate me even as I share your stories. We’re always looking for ideas, and I welcome your input; you’ll find my contact info under my glamour shot.

The way I see it, ISE is still journalism, a pure form of it focused on specific topics targeting an informed audience. I’m already enjoying the ride, and with your help, it will be a long and satisfying one.

Keith Albertson is managing editor of ISE. Reach him at or (770) 449-0461, ext. 106.