There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of building your own “personal brand.” The gear trade in the United States is more open than elsewhere in the world; no doctorate is required to present a paper at the Fall Technical Meeting. I was terrified the first time I submitted an abstract but enjoyed the process of writing and presenting a paper so much I did it two more times. My abstract for 2014 was sent in months ago but you still have a few days to submit yours before the January 15, 2014 deadline. Papers need not be huge breakthroughs; mine were reviews of areas of interest to me which I thought others might fine worthwhile. The effort has paid me back many times over the years in conversation, professional recognition, and project opportunities.
If you have a unique insight to some aspect of gear engineering or a different method of dealing with a design issue, why not share it with your peers via the Fall Technical Meeting? Need examples of what a good paper looks like? Almost every issue of Gear Technology contains one or more papers from the annual gathering. It is a short walk from the spectator seats to the podium. You and your career will be forever grateful you took that walk.