Meet the Media: Paul Heney, Editorial Director at Design World / WTWH Media

Paul is a dynamic editor, writer and public speaker with more than 20 years experience in b2b magazines, online content and editorial management. He is the editorial director for OEM design engineering magazine Design World ( / WTWH Media, helping design engineers parse the flood of information available online today so they can receive critical information for performing their jobs more efficiently. He leads an editorial team comprised of engineers, technical journalists and freelance writers.

Without revealing any secrets, can you tell us what types of stories, trends or issues are on your radar now? I think there are some compelling things coming down the road with the intersection of artificial intelligence and the IoT. A lot of people aren’t connecting the dots yet, but throw those two mega-trends together, and the engineering and manufacturing worlds are going to look a lot different in a decade or so—including the average design engineer’s role.

The whole move to self-driving vehicles is also fascinating, as it’s going to change a lot about our society. It’s going to impact how we think about things from ethics to insurance. And it will result in a lot of job losses. Can we learn from what happened with automation in manufacturing and start working on retraining these people before all the jobs are gone? It will be pretty interesting to follow this in the coming years.

Tell us about your dream assignment.
My dream assignment would be having to open a whole new editorial office in New Zealand or Australia. I’d enjoy the challenge of building out a whole new editorial team, incorporating local journalistic standards and developing a regional plan for coverage. If it were a one or two year assignment, my family could completely explore that part of the world and immerse ourselves in the culture, but there’d be a definite end point in sight—I would miss Cleveland and the U.S. after some time, I’m sure!

Describe the craziest or most fun story you’ve written.
I had the opportunity to interview Dean Kamen, one of the country’s most brilliant engineers and inventors a few years ago for a cover story. Flying to New Hampshire and talking with him was a real thrill, and thinking up “smart enough” engineering questions kept me up more than a few nights! Kamen may be most known as the inventor of the Segway. Yet, whenever I’d mention the story to someone (a non-engineer), they’d say, “Isn’t he dead?” I got a little tired of explaining that the fellow who died—ironically, in a Segway accident—had purchased the production company from Kamen.

What is your top pet peeve with PR people?
I find it frustrating when they don’t know their own markets. I’m constantly pitched products and stories that aren’t remotely connected to the engineering world that my publications cover. I feel like this is an over-reliance on mass marketing via databases or collected names from trade shows. Any sort of personal connection is totally lost—and I feel that type of PR can’t be very valuable to clients.

Tell us a little about yourself (family, interests, favorites, background, etc.)
I’m the (somewhat) rare engineer who enjoys writing and public speaking. While I am a native Clevelander, I lived in Atlanta and San Francisco for a while before returning to Ohio. I’ve been in the b2b world for more than two decades now, and am the former National President of ASBPE, the b2b editors’ professional society. I live with my partner and two sons (9 and 16) in the Cleveland suburbs, where we all take turns vocalizing what we think the dog is probably feeling at any given moment.

Finish this sentence: People would be surprised to know that: I wrote my first two fictional novels while still in college. Any publishers out there, lol?

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @DW_Editor.

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