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I recently read a story on ESPN.com about a National Football League coach motivating his team with a childhood story.

The ESPN piece describes how the father of San Francisco 49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh would ask his children - subject to frequent relocation and cramped quarters because of their father’s transient occupation as a college football coach - “Who has it better than us?”         

The kids always responded, “Nobody!” Harbaugh’s players now have the same response when their coach asks that question.

That “Who has it better?” question strikes a chord with me when reflecting on my professional journey over the last two decades that has led me to my new position as editor of Supply House Times. I’ve been blessed with a very fulfilling and interesting professional career. What a wild ride it’s been.

As a high-level amateur baseball umpire, I once had a chair thrown at me from the dugout. As a high school varsity and travel baseball coach, I survived being hit in the back of the head from five feet away by our catcher’s throw down to second base during pregame warm-ups.

One of my first assignments as an intern at a Chicago radio station was to call then St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Joe Torre in his hotel room and see if he was available for an interview. Torre, who by some miracle answered the phone, was running a tad behind and politely declined. The star-struck neophyte on the other end of the line simply was relieved the call was over.

In my second-ever assignment at a suburban Chicago newspaper, I watched a coach suffer a heart attack and die during a basketball game as his young son frantically ran down the bleachers trying to reach his fallen father. Several years later, I got too close to a sideline heater at a football game and set my pant leg on fire.

I’ve met Muhammad Ali and later stood in the middle of Madison Square Garden, the site of the first Ali-Joe Frazier boxing match. For the better part of the last decade, I covered the sport of volleyball and got to know some of the athletes you’ll see in the upcoming London Olympics.

My fascinating journey has not stopped since I joined BNP Media’s Plumbing Group in February 2010. I’ve learned an industry from the ground up, met a lengthy list of interesting people and visited some neat places (being in Beijing for a trade show last year ranks among my life’s highlights). I’d be remiss if I did not profusely thank current and former Plumbing Group members Bob Miodonski, Jim Olsztynski, Kelly Faloon, Suzette Rubio and Pat Lenius for their willingness to show a plumbing greenhorn the ropes.

People always ask me how do you go from the sports world to plumbing? The answer is easy. I’ve always been involved in endeavors with a strong community component, whether it was coaching baseball at a small high school in northern Illinois, or being part of a much larger, yet still intimate volleyball industry.

Plumbing is no different. In my previous role as senior editor of Supply House Times’ sister titles, Plumbing & Mechanical and PM Engineer, I’ve witnessed that sense of community in the contractor and engineer sectors. In my brief interactions with wholesalers the last few months, I’ve noticed the same thing.

As we move forward here at Supply House Times that sense of community will continue to resonate throughout our various media platforms in print, on our website at www.supplyht.com and in our various e-newsletters and other digital platforms.

Our job is to provide superior information you need to succeed in your business in these ever-changing times. We’ll provide that to you whether you’re sitting at your desk reading our latest print edition, visiting our website on your laptop in a hotel room or referencing information from our digital edition on your smartphone while visiting a customer. In the months ahead, you’ll see some additions and enhancements to our various media platforms that will better help you help your customers.

Your voice is extremely important to me. Do you have an opinion on something you read? Is there a particular topic/technology you’d like to see featured? I’d love to hear from you. Call my direct line at 847/405-4056 or send an email to miazgam@bnpmedia.com.

I look forward to continuing the long tradition of excellence this magazine has established since its inception in 1958. Please join me on what will, no doubt, be another exciting journey.

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