Industry Innovations

In his Editor's Note from the Spring 2018 print issue of Biodiesel Magazine, Ron Kotrba discusses the nature of editors' notes, the Spotlight feature in this latest edition of the magazine, and the need to sometimes step back.
By Ron Kotrba | May 23, 2018

As any working magazine editor can tell you, the Editor’s Note is often the very last piece to be written before any issue goes to print. This is partially because editors—particularly a working editor who develops and selects the editorial lineup; secures, gathers and edits contribution materials; writes and edits all of the staff content; guides art selection in concert with the graphic designer; and co-copy edits the magazine with assistance from the copy editor—are too busy to think about their notes until the moment sandwiched between completion and printing. Just as some fortunate writers working for very successful, popular magazines may have six months to work on a single feature article, some editors may have an entire month to ponder their one-page piece. I postulate this is not the norm for most trade publications. A less frenetic and more responsible explanation as to why editors’ notes are written at the last minute is to gain a wide view of the particular magazine issue’s content, and to utilize this to summarize or highlight material as an entry point for readers.

We launched our Spotlight section last summer, and since then it has become a fantastic way to learn about many of the amazing companies serving the biodiesel industry—whether large or small, well-established or emerging. The theme from this issue’s Spotlight section on page 16, “Pioneering Achievements,” became clear to me only after stepping back and editing the composite piece after I had written them all individually over several weeks. The theme, as I see it having emerged, is innovation. We spotlight eight companies this issue, half of which are technology providers—BDI-BioEnergy International, RPS-Renewable Process Solutions, Saola Energy and Air Liquide Construction & Engineering. We also feature two commodity trading firms (WWS Trading and Third Coast Commodities), one adsorbent provider (Imerys) and one equipment company (All-Line Equipment Co.). From novel biodiesel process technologies to original approaches to purifying and testing feedstock, blending biodiesel, and fostering important relationships, each of the featured companies in our Spotlight section is sure to impress and leave readers with something to think about. As a result, perhaps some readers will pick up the phone and give these companies a call to see what they can offer their business.

More innovation is featured in our Feedstock feature on page 26, “The New Feedstock Frontier.” Researchers are developing new ways to sustainably grow the inputs this industry needs to take production volumes to the next level.

We hope you enjoy our Spring 2018 Edition of Biodiesel Magazine. And remember, much like I needed to step back from this particular issue of the magazine to get a wider view of the emergent theme of innovation, I suggest we all do this occasionally to transcend petty politics and soundbite semantics in order to capture how pioneering, industrious and wondrous the clean energy sector of biodiesel truly is.

Author: Ron Kotrba
Editor, Biodiesel Magazine
[email protected]

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