I’ve often thought what I’d say in a farewell column, which this is because I’m retiring along with my wife, Janet. This process began three years ago when her company moved to The Woodlands, creating a 40-mile trip each way. Janet’s aching knees soon cried out for relief so last year we decided to retire at the end of 2017.
We first met in 2002, soon became a couple and in 2009 got married in the Poconos. Why did we wait so long? If you know me, you know the answer. My good friend Ray Lewis said it best when he called me right after meeting Janet. “ Jeff,” he said in that Arkansas drawl, “I just can’t understand how a guy like you ever ended up with a nice girl like her.”
“Ray, I don’t either, but you’re not the first to ask me that,” I said. You can’t fight the truth.
But we did meet later in life and have worked constantly. If we were to spend quality time together it had to start now. Janet has been corrupted into a baseball and wrestling fan with a love of stuffed animals and Philly cheesesteaks. In 2006 we were front and center at an Andrew Dice Clay show in Houston. She became part of the act, took it all with good humor, to which the Diceman declared her to be “adorable” and ordered me to put my arm around her properly. I knew I had the right woman.
Now I’m 66, the age when most of us ponder retirement, and I’ve been editor of P&GJ for 22 years. I doubt editors should stay that long because every publication can use a fresh look and fresh ideas. I think I’m still at the top of my game, but there are a few things I’m won’t miss:
- Spending a day traveling halfway across the country (and back) for a one-day conference.
- PR flacks blatantly pitching free coverage for their clients, ignoring our need for ad revenue.
- Increased difficulty in reaching energy companies.
- The fact that energy will always be a political football.
- The up-and-down business cycles coming faster with greater ruthlessness.
- The plea for more workers soon after they eliminated their jobs.
- Trying to figure out how those insane hotel alarm clocks work.
I’ll miss the thousands of people who, while helping me publish THE leading journal, became my friends. You know who you are.
I helped pick my successor, Joe Hollier, a native Houstonian who was active in media relations for years with pipeline companies. He’s friendly, smart, and will be ably assisted by two excellent editors, Jeff Awalt and Michael Reed, both of whom I helped hire. Those three are the best part of my legacy because they’ll make P&GJ an even better publication.
I did my best to help drive the pipeline industry’s agenda with honestly and integrity. I also tried to show that an energy pub need not be boring. It’s up to you to decide whether I succeeded.