A New Year, a New Endeavor

01 January 2006
Paul McManamon
Welcome to SPIE's newest publication: SPIE Professional. Whether we are engineers, professors, scientists, or students, one commonality that unites us is that we are all professionals -- or in the case of students, professionals in the making.
We are also all members of a technical society that values community above all else. The Society was founded to help professionals work together to find solutions for everyone's benefit, and SPIE continues that tradition with this magazine. SPIE Professional will focus on articles that speak to you as the entrepreneurs, mentors, creators, and industry trend watchers you are.
We hope you will enjoy this new approach, and also hope you will supplement this magazine with another new SPIE publication launching at the end of January: the dynamic news website SPIE Newsroom. As the site evolves, it will not only be the place to read the latest technical and industry news, it will also provide a unique opportunity to interact with other readers and professionals in the SPIE community online.
As part of this inaugural issue of SPIE Professional, I'd like to talk about how SPIE has been part of my professional life. The most important aspect for my career is that I would not have my current job as chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate if it was not for SPIE. A candidate for senior scientist working for the Air Force has to be a fellow in a technical society. My technical society is SPIE, and becoming a fellow of SPIE allowed me to become a senior scientist in the Air Force.
I also have met a large number of very valuable contacts through SPIE. I certainly knew many people before I became active in SPIE, but I even met Air-Force-related people like Art Guenther through SPIE. I work with many people from Kirtland Air Force Base, but by the time I started to work closely with Kirtland, Art was not working on the base. Art was the "Godfather" for much of the work at Kirtland. The first time I was elected to the SPIE Board of Directors, Art was one of the other board members. It was great to get to know him.
The SPIE community cuts across all of the optical engineering disciplines, and through SPIE I have gotten to know a wide variety of people. This has been an exceptionally broadening experience. Working on SPIE standing committees has helped me learn many things. Each committee is different and has a different mix of people to learn to work with. My most valuable learning experience was chairing the Strategic Planning Committee. SPIE has a great strategic planning process, and I am sure I can bring what I learned from that experience back to my work career.
Lastly I'd like to comment on the number of people I meet each time I go to an SPIE meeting. I cannot walk more then 20 feet without running into another person I know. Many of these people I only see at SPIE meetings, but they are valuable career contacts. SPIE is a great community! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Paul McManamon, 2006 SPIE President

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