This column was always meant to be the introduction to our magazine with a bit of commentary about what is currently happening in the industry. This included snippets about people, functions, launches and all the other stuff that goes in to making ours such a vibrant timber industry.

Since the acquisition of TimberTrader News by Great Southern Press (GSP), at the start of 2015, I’ve gradually been handing over the editorial reins to the GSP team.

The Landmark Edition has come and gone and, judging by the fantastic response, was very well received by the industry.

Although I will still be contributing the occasional “˜conversation’ piece, the difficulty I’ve had over the last few months has been being able to write a FirstWords column that is relevant and up-to-date.

As our regular readers will undoubtedly know, I have gone from travelling between 10 to 15 times a year, all over the country, to not travelling at all. Others in the GSP family are filling that role and will continue to do so while I take that gradual step into the background. As I am no longer able to engage directly with our readers I’m not picking up the little bits that have made FirstWords easy to write.

This transitional year has been a learning curve for all of us, and we’ve seen some incredible growth for TimberTrader News. We started off with the January edition being the printed magazine plus an “˜electronic brochure’, which surpassed our former very static website.

We’re ending the year with a massively enhanced offering, in both digital and print. This includes a fortnightly e-newsletter, an active website that brings the latest news to readers as it happens, an attractive and informative Facebook presence and an engaged and passionate editorial, sales and support team; the complete package.

After three decades of operating my own business, with generally a very small team of support, during 2015 I have had to learn how to work within a larger organisation with a diverse skillset.

You might get the idea that I’m very upbeat about the future of TimberTrader News. Well I am, and I’m pretty proud of the transition we will continue to have for you in 2016.

There you go. I’ve been able to put together a few hundred words saying my farewell to this page. I’m optimistic for the future of the magazine and looking forward to the January 2016 edition. Have a great Christmas and New Year.

Happy reading!