On the face of it

Sometimes being up front means going behind the scenes

By Jeff Baker

As I write this column, it’s the Family Day long weekend where I live (Louis Riel Day for those of you in Manitoba), and since our last spring issue, it feels like the year has gone slower than molasses in January, yet has blown by at lightning pace, leaving everyone in its dust. There’s no in-between, from what I can tell. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had two of every annual event or milestone, and here at Prairie Manufacturer Magazine, it’s no different.

This issue marks our sixth anniversary of publishing, and it’s our second full year of sharing the stories of manufacturers’ pivots and shifts thanks to this world-changing pandemic. But you know what? Despite the challenges and hiccups we’ve been forced to deal with, I don’t think I would change anything about it. Not for a million dollars!

‘Why?’, you might ask. Well, for one thing, I think this pandemic has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate the priorities in our lives – both professional and personal – and that’s a good thing. 

The manufacturers and other professionals with whom I’ve spoken over the last year, so many of them tell me the last couple years have allowed them the space to create or implement changes they’ve been considering for months or years. They needed a fire lit, and, boy, did they get one!

Yes, there have been challenges of some sort for everyone and every business in our community, but for the most part, they haven’t been insurmountable. We’ve been pushed outside of our comfort zones, and it’s been exhausting, but it’s proven again and again the mettle that runs so strongly through the manufacturing community and its people. 

See something, be something

Sure, there’s been some ‘interesting’ one-off things that have happened in the last while, too, and there are going to be more; I guarantee it.

One thing that happened was being named Manitoba Magazine of the Year for 2021. That was a nice feather to put in our magazine cap, and it helped buoy the spirits of the team here. Still, in this business, you can’t rest on your laurels.

Each issue of Prairie Manufacturer is a curated collection of stories, information, and insight from, for, and by manufacturers and makers just like you.

The best part of being editor of this magazine is getting to apply my rampant curiosity to uncover stories, subjects, interviews, and other industry-related information to share with you, our readers. I love getting to speak with the folks behind the scenes of the amazing stuff that is made right here in the Prairies; it gives me life every time.

Finding stories that are unique, different, and challenging the status quo is what gets me excited, and I hope it does for you too. I aim to uncover the ‘hidden’ manufacturing industry that is all around us and show the variety of this sector to the world. 

That’s why in 2022 and beyond, Prairie Manufacturer Magazine is taking on a mandate to highlight the diversity of the manufacturing industry across the region – of the people, the products, and the customers. 

We hear it from folks across the spectrum that seeing themselves in the world – in the things, jobs, and companies – is important to feeling engaged and valued by the larger community. That seeing folks like them in a variety of situations and environments helps inspire them and give them something to reach for. 

In a world where labour and skills shortages are only getting more dire, and when we’re more interconnected than ever – it’s critical that we engage with everyone in the community and reach out when we can.

Authenticity at work

Behind that commitment to exploring and honouring the diversity of the manufacturing sector, there’s an equally important commitment to authenticity in everything we do at Prairie Manufacturer

When you pick up a copy of Prairie Manufacturer, you’re placing your trust in our magazine, in its content, in the stories we share, and in us as the people behind it all. We consider it an honour and privilege that you choose to place that trust in us and spend your time and energy with us through the pages, on the website, or over the phone.

Our editorial content is not – and will never be – a pay-to-play situation. Our front cover isn’t for sale, and if there’s content inside that is sponsored in any way, we tell you by tagging it. 

Companies covered in our features or folks interviewed for a story aren’t required to buy advertising to be included or quoted. 

In our industry’s terms, we maintain full separation of church and state. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s part of the Canadian code of ethics for magazine publishers. Even though we’re not a member of an association, we abide by these codes because we honour the trust that you place in us each issue.

With all that, there’s only one thing left for me to say: thank you.

Thank you for continuing to support Prairie Manufacturer Magazine as we work to shine the light on all the amazing work you and your teams are doing across this region that we call home.

Thank you for taking the time to let us know how we can keep improving and keep serving you – our community. 

And thank you for continuing to show the world what Prairie manufacturers can do!

Until we chat again, I hope you enjoy the read.