Final, The

You are never too old to hate taking tests. The sad truth, however, is you continue taking them long after you finish your formal education. If anything, the testing increases in frequency and intensity.

For example, you are tested at work each day. It can be a “pop quiz,” such as deciding who fills in for an absent worker, or a “final,” such as how you handle the aftermath of a tornado.

There are two basic steps in preparing for the more grueling tornado test: First, hire talented and hard working people. Second, plan well.

I get hit by a tornado every year, and I even know when it will hit — WasteExpo.

The WasteExpo issues — the March and April issues of Waste Age, the April/May Waste Age Product News and the WasteExpo Show Directory — are Waste Age's 600-page final exam. Unlike in school, however, cramming the night before won't work. Everyone, including our editors, artists, sales team and production manager, begins working on these issues months in advance.

On the other hand, WasteExpo isn't as simple as a tornado — it's an entire weather system that moves across our industry. Planning for the show requires the year-round work of a small and courageous staff — Show Director Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, Operations Director Mary Ann Troiano, Marketing Manager/Show Coordinator Laura Magliola and Sales Manager Bob Callahan — as well as the diligent efforts of several key staffers at the Environmental Industry Associations who create the educational sessions.

However, I know that our customers only see the end-result. I learned this important business maxim when I was very young, and from an unlikely person: a German tailor who specialized in reweaving.

Reweaving simply isn't fixing a hole in a pair of pants. This craftsman sat hunched over a magnifying glass surrounded by a high-intensity lamp bleeding light over the damaged area. Using a low-tech pair of tweezers, she painstakingly pulled matching threads together until the hole had morphed back into the original material.

There were telltale signs of her work, however. When you looked at the underside of the material, you could see the dozens of threads that she had re-introduced to each other. But when you returned to the side the customer saw, the fabric appeared flawless.

If we are good at our work, the craft becomes an art. If we are successful, the extreme effort it takes to produce our issues and WasteExpo will be hidden by the dozens of skilled professionals who are working toward one goal: An “A” on your test.

The author is the editorial director of Waste Age Publications.