Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Publication Date: 02/1/2012
Archive >  February 2012 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

My, How We've Grown
Jacob Fattal, Publisher
It was black and white printed on inexpensive newsprint, and some of the ink would rub off on your hands. It was early in the life cycle of U.S. Tech, then called Mid-Atlantic Tech, and your publisher hauled thousands of copies to Boston's NEPCON East Show in a rented U-Haul trailer. A few inside pages had color — a very costly feature in those days — and reserved mainly for advertisers. I was reminded of these early efforts by an old black-and-white photo showing a much younger publisher (no gray hair then) in the newspaper's booth at NEPCON East — our very first trade show. The rather grainy photo was taken on Kodak Tri-X film.

Fast-forward 26 years, and much has changed. The publication metamorphosed several times. Its regional nature expanded as it became Atlantic Tech and then briefly grew a twin sister called Pacific Tech, an experiment that lasted for three issues during the early part of the First Gulf War. One front-page story featured a new electronic device used by our military called a "GPS", issued to some officers in the midst of the Iraqi desert. Soon other soldiers, feeling an urgent need for help navigating in the trackless, featureless desert, were ordering their own GPS units, paying the whopping $4,000 price with personal credit cards. Big name at the time was Magellan. The Atlantic-Pacific experiment, which was done incredibly with no staff increases, ended up as U.S. Tech in April 1991, just in time to save us all from nervous breakdowns. Since that time we have added glossy cover pages, and then later became 100 percent hi gloss paper throughout. Our printer even uses environment-friendly inks, making the publication entirely "green".
Jacob Fattal at first trade show, 26 years ago.

The trade shows have changed dramatically as well as the electronics industry has shifted in its scope and locations. The once-huge NEPCON East is a shadow of its former self, and with its acquisition by UBM Canon, has added a number of co-located shows. Onetime gigantic NEPCON West has totally disappeared, to be replaced by multi-headed co-located Canon shows. From humble beginnings in a small convention center in San Diego, IPC's APEX has grown, had a highly successful run in Las Vegas, and this year moves back to San Diego where a much-enlarged convention hall awaits. The New Year is already shaping up to be one of strong growth in the electronics industry, with a surprisingly large movement of manufacturing back to the U.S. The trend seems to be accelerating, and this year will certainly tell the tale. And U.S. Tech will be there to document this growth — in print, on our website, and in our digital editions, available on iPODs and iPADs with our free apps.  


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