I mentioned succession planning in my last posting; most of the senior gear engineers I know are planning to retire in the next few years and their organizations are scrambling to prepare a successor. AGMA has really stepped up on the education side, but “newbies” need a baseline understanding to feel comfortable in a large group of engineers. My “education” in gears was greatly aided by the wonderful library of books on a shelf near my drafting board and Falk’s own gear design manual. My supervisors were happy to explain things to me AFTER I read everything about the topic in question. To avoid being slammed for a “stupid” question or silly mistake, I dutifully reviewed those books and kept notes so I did not have to ask the same question twice. Unfortunately, many people drafted into the role of “company gear expert” do not have mentors available to assist them. This is where third-party training comes into play. I cannot recall ever meeting someone who “mastered” this topic from reference books alone. Attendance at seminars, trade shows, and committee meetings is a great way to broaden your understanding. Here at Gear Technology we are happy to publish technical papers presented at the top conferences in the gearing world. We try to include some articles on less cutting edge topics when they are available and to answer reader questions through the “Ask the Expert” feature. Our team of technical editors will be participating in an open question call during Gear Expo in Columbus, Ohio in October too. This is a good chance to ask that nagging question or to converse privately with veteran engineers. One of the reasons we enjoy attending “live” events is to gather ideas for future content. Stop by our booth or send us an e-mail if you have ideas for articles that would benefit our readers.