Addio—that is, a personal goodbye

July 6, 2022
Taking a few moments to say thank you to everyone who helped along the way.
David Belforte
David Belforte

In July 1983, the publisher of Laser Focus asked me to contribute a column on industrial laser material processing. I did and titled it Laser Innovations in Manufacturing Technology, describing an industry trying to shake its roots as just a laser manufacturer to become a major processing system resource. That was the first of what became a 39-year association with now-known Laser Focus World, which morphed from contributor to editor, to publisher, editor-in-chief, and finally contributing editor—writing exclusively on industrial laser-assisted processing.

Several hundred columns and tens of thousands of words later, appearing first in Industrial Laser Review, then Industrial Laser Solutions plus ILS Japan, ILS China, and Industrial Laser Europe (all published by PennWell Corp. and its successor Endeavor Business Media), covered an industry that, during this period, grew revenues by a CAGR of 22.22%.

Now, I end my contractual relationship with Laser Focus World, leaving the business sector adapting to the changing world of technical communication to continue the consulting practice I started more than four decades ago in the now-booming field of industrial laser processing.

Over the years as a journalist, I traveled the world and I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of new acquaintances, many of whom became good friends. In retrospect, it is the latter I value, and I take this opportunity to say thanks for making my editor’s life a pleasure.

Almost 1300 contributors unselfishly shared knowledge of laser materials processing in the pages of my publications. With them, Industrial Laser Solutions achieved world-class status. Many of these contributors authored multiple editorials over the years, and they always answered my call when I needed editorial material.

A very special thanks goes to all the advertisers who financially supported our efforts to promote laser technology in manufacturing. Without their confidence in the magazine’s mission to educate and inform current and future users of lasers for material processing, we couldn’t have existed for all those years.

It is a pleasure to have one’s efforts recognized, and I have—including the Schawlow Award for ‘Extensive contributions to advancing laser material processing and many dozens of Certificates of Appreciation from global educational organizations and technical societies. Informally, I‘ve been recognized as ‘The Laser Pope’ in Germany,  ‘Mister Industrial Laser’ in several countries around the world, and in China as the ‘Father of industrial Laser Job-shops.’ 

In Tuscany, home to my patriarchal ancestors, many still use a very old word, addio, as a routine goodbyelike see you again. Just a bit more personal than arrivederci, ciao, or even goodbye. So, a big ADDIO to all who have read my words for the past 40-plus years. I enjoyed it and hoped you also did.

About the Author

David Belforte | Contributing Editor

David Belforte (1932-2023) was an internationally recognized authority on industrial laser materials processing and had been actively involved in this technology for more than 50 years. His consulting business, Belforte Associates, served clients interested in advanced manufacturing applications. David held degrees in Chemistry and Production Technology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). As a researcher, he conducted basic studies in material synthesis for high-temperature applications and held increasingly important positions with companies involved with high-technology materials processing. He co-founded a company that introduced several firsts in advanced welding technology and equipment. David's career in lasers started with the commercialization of the first industrial solid-state laser and a compact CO2 laser for sheet-metal cutting. For several years, he led the development of very high power CO2 lasers for welding and surface treating applications. In addition to consulting, David was the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine (1986-2022) and contributed to other laser publications, including Laser Focus World. He retired from Laser Focus World in late June 2022.

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