Does anyone ever really control their own destiny? It's been my experiencethat everything happens for a reason - the good, the bad and the ugly. Forexample, are real estate market cycles predictable? Can anyone truly (andhonestly) say that they "know" when a downturn or an upturn will occur?

In my travels, what I hear a lot these days is that positioning yourself andyour firm to prepare for downside risk and upside potential is crucial. Butwhat exactly does that mean? I'm beginning to think that means everyone should be a broker - they stay busy whether times are good (deals, deals,deals) or bad (workouts, workouts, workouts).

It all gets back to taking control of your future. And since I spend a lot oftime in airports (too much in fact), I think a lot about how this magazineshould cover the commercial real estate industry - are we doing a good jobof analyzing present and future trends? Are we fulfilling our missionstatement - providing you with information you can use to do your job betterand more effectively?

Three years ago, as your new editor, I made a commitment to make National Real Estate Investor the industry's must-read, the industry standard forinformation. In many ways, and after hearing many of your own comments, Ifeel we've accomplished that mission, but it is a never-ending challenge tostay ahead of what's happening in the markets. You might have noticed somesignificant changes in our publishing format as we've added more specialpublications in the seniors housing, multifamily, Wall Street and now hotelsegments to our lineup. And we will continue to tweak this product so that itbetter reflects your own interests and reading patterns.

Another recent change has been harder to make, though. I've finally realizedthat once in a while I have to give up control of something to someone else (so what, I'm a lousy delegator). But in this case, I really don't mind somuch. Recently we hired a new editor to run the editorial ship here at REI. His name is Tony Wilbert, and he comes to us from a local Atlanta businessweekly, where he's covered commercial real estate for some time. Tony hitsthe ground running with a good knowledge of the industry (I don't have toexplain CMBS or conduits to him, which is a big relief), and he's a prolificwriter (which always comes in handy around here).

As your publisher, I will be devoting even more time and attention to seeing that we continue to fulfill our mission statement with each and every issueof NREI. So look for more exciting changes ahead as we approach that mysticaland for-some-strange-reason magical year 2000 mark.

As always, I'm never far away from the industry action, so you can stillreach me anytime via e-mail at ben_johnson@intertec.com. Or better yet, whynot send Tony your personal welcome at tony_wilbert@intertec.com. I'm sure he'd appreciate hearing from you about your comments on NREI and thechanging shape of commercial real estate that lies ahead.