I’ve worked for a variety of magazine publishers in my career—from giants like Time Inc., which has (or at least had) tens of thousands of staffers, to small, privately owned operations like AIN Publications, my employer for the last decade. In every case, what most determined whether the company was innovative, enjoyable to work for and successful was not some corporate mission statement, not the audience the magazines addressed, not the financial resources the publisher possessed. It was the people I dealt with there every day. Were they smart, dedicated, creative and likable…or not?
For the most part, I’ve been lucky—I’ve worked with some great people. That’s been particularly true here at AIN. You can thank our 40-plus staffers, not a faceless corporation, for the quality of our magazines. And I can thank them for the fact that this is such a good place to work.
Now, we’re about to lose two of them to retirement—and they’re among the most important people in AIN’s history.
R. Randall Padfield, who is known in these parts as Randy, once worked as a helicopter pilot. He came to our company in 1993, after writing for it for several years as a freelancer, and became editor-in-chief of all AIN magazines in 1998. Randy, who has authored four aviation books, hired me in 2004 and has since taught me plenty about the aviation field. He is widely admired here for his decency, good judgment and knowledge of the business, which undoubtedly helps to explain why the company promoted him in 2012 to be its chief operating officer.
The inimitable Mary Mahoney, who has devoted an impressive 35 years to AIN, holds the title of production director but is actually a Mary-of-all-trades. She keeps Business Jet Traveler and Aviation International News on track, and has flown all over the world to do the same for our airshow and convention dailies. In her spare time, she has done everything from catching grammatical errors to suggesting important design and workflow improvements. Never shy about forcefully speaking her mind—we once had a long, heated argument that as I recall focused totally on one semicolon—she has been a passionate advocate for quality and for AIN’s publications.
Other personalities and talents will inevitably emerge to fill the holes left by Randy and Mary’s end-of-the-year departure. But they each made a large contribution here, and we’ll not be quite the same without them. I wish them all the best in retirement—and I wish our staff good luck as we attempt to muddle through without them.