I’ve had reunions on my mind lately. This summer my high-school graduating class will be celebrating a major milestone reunion. (I won’t tell you which reunion this is because I don’t want to give away classified information about myself!) Growing up, I attended a very small school—so small that I graduated with 22 other students whom I had known my entire life. There were a few negatives to going to such a small school. For example, only one foreign language was taught—and it wasn’t Spanish. But there were many benefits too. I could (and practically did) participate in every extracurricular activity offered by the school, which gave me confidence to try many new experiences as an adult.
Although I moved away from my home area for college and went even further away to begin my career, I still participated in planning (and attended) our class reunions over the years. I always loved the opportunity to reminisce with my classmates—many of whom I consider members of my extended family—about our schooldays.
To prepare for our next reunion, I created a secret Facebook group so our class easily can communicate about dates and locations for the event. And to keep all of us thinking about the upcoming reunion, I dug out trivia questions I created for a much earlier reunion (so long ago many classmates don’t remember the answers). I have been posting one trivia question about each classmate every week for #ThrowbackThursday, of course. It has given our class the opportunity to celebrate each individual during his or her week by sharing memories, photos, newspaper clippings and more. The trivia questions have spurred so many conversations, even a few offline, which has been incredibly fun (and funny!). But perhaps what has been most heartening is that the Facebook group has brought us all together again despite years and distance. Even classmates who have never bothered to attend a single reunion are conversing on the page and have said they will come to our next reunion. I’m thrilled by the positive response!
In this issue of retrofit, we’re doing a reunion of sorts, as well. Our sixth-annual Top 50 Products revisits the products you, our readers, wanted to know more about from our September-October 2017 to July-August 2018 issues. We love celebrating these top products not only because products are so integral to trade publications, but also because it’s fascinating to see which products garner the most interest from readers. In addition, some of the Top 50 Products include retrofit stories, demonstrating how they solved a problem or achieved the desired result within a project. We hope you study these products (and projects) closely and consider them for your own upcoming projects.
In addition, I encountered Chuck Howard, P.E., owner of Metal Roof Consultants Inc., Cary, N.C., during retrofit’s second-annual conference in Charlotte, N.C., in October. (Learn more about the conference.) Howard was an editorial advisor on an industry publication I previously edited, and he offered to write for retrofit. Knowing his breadth of experience in the metal roofing market, I suggested he write this issue’s “Component” feature. In it, Howard discusses why standing-seam metal roofing should be considered for public buildings (and more structures). Even though I don’t want to give away what high-school class reunion I’m about to attend, I’m grateful to have many years of experience in the design and construction market to call on industry friends, like Howard, to share their knowledge in this publication. Memories of my youth are so much fun, but age certainly has its benefits.