What else has changed since founder Ernie Zielasko launched Rubber & Plastics News in 1971? Let me count the ways.
1. In the 1990s, the team launched ITEC, the International Tire Exhibition & Conference. This trade show enters its 15th edition in 2022. And we are expecting a joyful gathering at the John S. Knight Center next September, especially two years after hosting a successful-but-not-quite-the-same Virtual ITEC in 2020.
2. The 1990s also brought with it the aforementioned RubberNews.com website. I never had the pleasure to meet Ernie, but I'm sure he never could have imagined his publication with the ability to pump out news and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or publishing 10 news stories or more per day.
3. The 2000s brought with it social media. All told, Rubber News has more than 22,000 total followers on social media. That's more than the 13,000 who receive Rubber News in print. What I hope that says to you is we are committed to meeting our readers wherever they digest news.
4. The 2010s brought the online data store to life where readers can purchase the sought-after rankings and lists that appear in the print publication.
Add in the various conferences Rubber News has hosted throughout the years and we can say with confidence that change has been our faithful friend for the last 50 years and will be for years to come. And we'll be ready for it.
There are two groups I must thank. Without either, Rubber News wouldn't have celebrated any anniversaries much less 50 of them. A huge thank you, first, to our advertising partners. Your initial support and continued commitment are greatly appreciated. Crain has always preached, "Readers first." And by making our readers our first priority, it ensures that our advertisers will be in front of an engaged audience and the right audience to buy their products or service.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but we thank Airboss, Ergon, Harwick Standard, HollyFrontier, Struktol and every other organization that partners with us in the rubber industry.
Last, but not least, I recognize, I shout out and I thank the men and women who made RPN—and now RN—"go": the executives, journalists and salespeople of our internal team. These publishers, editors, reporters, marketers, administrative staff members and salespeople are the ones who worked weekends and traveled the country and the world to bring you the information you've come to count on.
Again, not an exhaustive list, but a partial list of RPN/RN dignitaries include founder Ernie Zielasko, Bob Simmons, Dave Zielasko, Ed Noga, Harold Herzlich, Bruce Davis, Don Detore, Miles Moore, John Dick, Don Sector, Jeff Mundson, Brent Weaver, Allan Gerlat, Cindy Stevens, Lori DiFrancesco and the current leadership team of Editor Bruce Meyer, Managing Editor Erin Pustay Beaven, Sales Director Christine Zernick and Editorial Director Don Loepp. Thank you one and all for your dedication and valued contributions!
Here's to the next 50 years and to all the change we'll experience together along the way.
Lafferty is group publisher of Crain Communications' Global Polymer Group, which includes the newly named Rubber News.