901 Tower Drive Suite 420
Troy, Michigan 48098
Please provide your job title and media outlet(s), as well as a brief description of your duties:
Contributing Editor for SME Manufacturing Media (Manufacturing Engineering and Smart Manufacturing Engineering magazines – http://www.sme.org/) and the Society of Automotive Engineers’ magazines, including Automotive Engineering.
I also work as an Analyst for Autelligence covering powertrains and vehicle electrification in the light passenger vehicle market.
Can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now?
I cover the wider field of metrology for SME Manufacturing Engineering and a variety of PLM (product lifecycle management) topics for Smart Manufacturing Engineering magazines.
For SAE, I write about many different topics. I tend to specialize in product development or engineering process, CAE simulation, powertrain and some manufacturing.
Describe the craziest or most fun story you have written.
I loved covering Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in product development. I got a chance to put those VR glasses on and move through a virtual factory. I am not sure how that technology is going to evolve in the future, but it was fun learning about it!
What story or stories are you most proud of?
That is like asking which child you love most! Can’t do it.
I will say that after a career as an engineer, CAE specialist and engineering program/project manager, I find this style of journalism rewarding and interesting. I like the challenge of breaking down a complex subject and (attempting) to find a universal trend or theme that needs to be discussed.
What elements or characteristics do you look for in a story?
I assume my readers are technologists, engineers and managers trying to find trends in the wider world. Whether they want to act on those trends is up to them, but I try to find what I think they need to know in the areas I am covering. Then, make it simple but with enough detail to make it credible for an engineer.
How long have you been in journalism and how did you get started?
I have been doing this since 2006. When I was working at a Big Three automaker as a project management analyst, I realized that what I was doing was a form of reporting. I liked it but wanted to go outside the company and dig deeper. So, I pitched a story to an editor, whose name and phone number I found in the index of a technical magazine. Before I knew it, the piece I wrote was published and so I decided to make the leap. I quit the automaker and started pitching article ideas and – now here I am.
Finish this sentence: If I am not reporting, I am …
… riding my bike with my wife, swimming with my Masters Swim club, or learning my lines for my next amateur theater production.
What advice do you have for PR people that want to pitch you?
For people that know me, no advice. I get professional pitches that are usually on target.
The best I get is when a PR person has read the Editorial Calendar of a target magazine, called the editor and learned I have the assignment for a topic they knew one of their clients could contribute to. (This may be because I tend to get assigned feature articles, rather than product round-up sections like Shop Solutions in Manufacturing Engineering.)
Any pet peeves with PR people?
Blanket or blind pitches, usually an e-mail blast, on some topic that is far removed from any topic I have ever covered, from a PR person I have not met yet. These tend to be a little better than spam. But I need to at least look at the e-mail heading and the first couple of sentences to make sure it is something that might be of interest. Usually not. It wastes my time, and from my perspective, would seem to be of little value to the PR firm. The best firms know who is truly interested in what.
Another one – which is often outside the control of the PR firm – is when I get sent an interesting press release within one of my “beats” and then find it difficult to arrange a follow-up interview. This does not happen often, thankfully.
Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, hobbies, background, etc.)
See 7 above. I have two kids in college.
You can follow Bruce’s publications on Twitter here: @MfgEngNews and @SAEAutoMag. Check out some of Bruce’s latest work here:
Manufacturing Starts with Communication, and DFMA Can Help
The Brave New (and Old) World of Manufacturing
Pathology Tool Finds Surprising Use in Industry