When a milestone birthday is celebrated, many questions arise. Is it a happy occasion to reach that age? Are the coming years anticipated with hope or fear? Is a party planned and am I invited?

While the answers to these questions may vary for people, the answers are definitely positive for Quality Magazine. This issue marks our 45th anniversary, and you are invited to the party and celebration inside this issue. Not many magazines can claim to reach this milestone and we are certainly pleased to be the only quality publication that has done so. We have made it to 45 because of everyone who has written, advertised, subscribed and contributed to Quality during these years.

Quality practices and equipment have changed over the years. In our first issue, Motorola was featured for its quality practices and technology, which were cutting edge for that time. Today, those same tools and methods would be deemed archaic, at best. Motorola, like many of its counterparts, has implemented new tools and techniques over the years that make it an even better company. Progress like this is normal. Every industry and aspect of manufacturing has evolved over time. What has not changed about "quality" is its essential nature. In the first issue of Quality Magazine, then known as quality assurance, Bill Schleicher, publisher and editor stated:

• nothing is more important to America than the quality of its products;

• a sound quality assurance program increases efficiency, decreases costs, meets competition, increases sales and reduces the profit squeeze;

• quality is management's concern, with which it must live, think and sleep. From management it must permeate every corner of the plant;

• quality assurance people are the fastest growing group of professionals in industry-and none in industry is more important.

Bill's assessment still holds true. It will hold true for at least another 45 years. For more of a retrospective look at both Quality Magazine and quality technology, turn to page 34 in this issue and read "45 Years in the Making." The editorial staff recounts some of the technological changes made over the years by talking to some of the creators of that technology who were with us in that first issue and are still around today.

How are we starting the next 45 years? Our successful NDT Special Section is joined this month by the debut of our Vision & Sensors Special Section. Both are available in print, online and in digital format. We are unveiling a new electronic Buyers Guide in November, and 2007 will bring new special projects, technologies and events that deliver what manufacturers want and need to know about quality in ways that are most effective for their needs.

Bill Schleicher foresaw the importance of quality in manufacturing. If the October 2006 issue and beyond are any indicators, the publisher in charge of the 90th anniversary issue will have his hands full in celebrating, with readers, the October 2051 issue. Happy 45th Birthday Quality Magazine!