If you're like most everyone else I know, you'll probably agree 2001 was not a very good year. The after-effects of an absurd Presidential election, widespread corporate layoffs, a U.S. economic meltdown, and the terrorist attacks on our nation left many of us numb and emotionally scarred. Unfortunately, I had a personal tie to each and every one of these events. Come to think of it, I'm guessing most of you did too.

All of my friends back home in Palm Beach County, Fla. took a lot of grief from the world following the Presidential election because of the infamous Butterfly Ballot — all this from a county that boasts the most millionaires per capita in our country! Several of my close friends here in Kansas City lost their jobs last year, while many others walked on eggshells fearing they were next in line. And how about that stock market? Everyone I know, myself included, lost a bundle (at least on paper) as the recession set in and the stock market went in the tank. But worst of all, the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon affected every American's way of life. An old friend of my wife, a deputy commissioner of rescue services, was temporarily trapped and rescued during the collapse of WTC Building #7. He was one of the lucky ones whose life was spared that day.

But enough about last year, it's time to focus on the future. The one good thing about the start of a new year is that most everyone seems to be able to use it as a rallying point around which to generate a renewed focus and positive outlook. The staff of EC&M and I are no different. We're excited about our editorial plans for 2002, and you should be, too. Here's a quick summary of how we plan to better serve your needs in the coming year.

For those of you that don't like change, don't worry. As we've done for the past 100 years, we'll continue to bring you the high-quality articles you expect on the topics of the NEC, test and measurement, on-site power systems, electrical design, safety and training, tools and equipment, motors, circuit protection, emergency repair work, power quality, maintenance trends, power electronics, and voice/data/video. For those of you who demand change, you can look forward to our new monthly coverage of lighting and control fundamentals and computer and software issues.

Our new Lighting & Control department will feature in-depth articles on topics such as combating voltage flicker, care and use of metal-halide systems, LEDs vs. fiber optics, lighting maintenance in a dirty environment, fundamentals of lighting control, the latest in lighting design software, lamp and ballast recycling issues, understanding fiber optic lighting, and more. We begin our coverage this month with an article on indoor lighting calculations, by Senior Editorial Consultant Joe Knisley, on page 90.

In the computer and software arena, we'll bring you the latest information on the power of Web conferencing, the emergence of online plan rooms, the benefits of online permitting, trends in document management, the impact of wireless connectivity, Internet-based training, and engineering applications on the Web to name a few. We kick this series off with a piece on Web-based project management, by Senior Managing Editor Ellen Parson, on page 44.

But we didn't stop there. We've recently leveraged the power of the Internet to bring you all of this information (plus more) on a more-timely basis. In addition to posting editorial content from the printed magazine to our Web site (www.ecmweb.com) each month, we're also posting daily news stories, an Editor's choice product of the week, exclusive online features (posted bi-weekly), a running Q&A on the Code, and special reports on the site. Now we're able to offer you a first-class online industry resource that truly complements our printed publication.

My hope is that at this same time next year we can all look back on 2002 and say, “Now that's a year to remember.”