Thanking All Angels

Twenty years ago this month, I became the editor of Mobility Management. Two months later, we published our first edition: the March-April 2002 issue.

round chocolate cake with rainbow colored candle in 20 shape

I remember standing in the office of Mobility Management’s original owner, Jules Field, shortly after our copies had arrived from the press. Jules and his wife, Nancy, had been publishers for decades, but Mobility Management was their first start-up.

Jules gazed at me thoughtfully. “So,” he said, “the first issue looks good. But do you think there’s enough to write about to keep this going? How many mobility stories do you think there are?”

Just months before, I’d lost a job I dearly loved after my employer — a publishing/expo company heavily invested in the hospitality industry — laid off all its managing editors following the Sept. 11 attacks. As I answered Jules, I was a little more clear eyed than I’d been in the past.

“There are dozens of stories in my head right now,” I said, “and hundreds more beyond that.” I rattled off topics: early-intervention pediatrics, robotics, and a new and expanding understanding of the importance of adjustable center of gravity. Pressure ulcer prevention and pressure mapping and tilt. I didn’t want to give Jules space to interrupt. Who knows what he’d say next if I let him interrupt?

Jules eventually chuckled and waved me off: “All right, all right. You can go.”

Another time, Jules told me his friends said he was launching a magazine at the worst time in decades. “This is your first launch, but it isn’t mine,” I retorted. “There’s no perfect time to launch a magazine. It’s always a gamble. You do your homework, you work hard, you hope.”

And sometimes, maybe once in a career if you’re lucky, guardian angels appear, and they surround you as you’re getting your footing.

Mobility Management is 20 this spring, and we’ll be reminiscing with as many of those guardian angels — early mentors, subscribers, advertisers, columnists, industry experts— as we can via podcasts, interviews, feature stories, news stories, you name it.

Our world is again in crisis, slogging through a pandemic that has changed and perhaps scarred our daily lives. But this time, I know this: I cover an industry whose professionals are defined by their determination, resourcefulness, strength and service. It has been the honor of my career to be your editor.

So, welcome to the birthday party. Come on in. You’re the reason we’re able to celebrate. Thank you.

Birthday cake image:

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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