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From the Editor

E-mail is a great way to share information. I am a big advocate of e-mail; I can get a significant amount of work completed through e-mail, and it has been a great asset to not only my line of work, but I would think almost every type of business imaginable.

As always, there are advantages and disadvantages to everything, and e-mail is certainly no exception. While I find it handy to shoot a quick e-mail to someone about an article, it's just as easy for spammers to do the same. As many of you may have also encountered, the amount of junk e-mail that is received starts to multiply the longer you own an address; personally, I easily receive 500 e-mails a day now, with only a fraction relating to business. While having spam filter software installed helps considerably, many legitimate e-mails can get lost in the shuffle merely due to a lack of information. For most people, if your message is important and you took the time to write someone, I'm sure you truly hope that the recipient receives it at the other end.

One thing in particular will help all of us in the industry to be more productive and not miss the important correspondence that goes between us: write a descriptive subject line. I often receive e-mails that don't include a subject line, or are simply titled "Hey" or "News." Unfortunately, spammers also use similar lack of details, so these e-mails often get collected together in a spam folder.

For those who don't realize, many spam filters use the subject line to determine if an e-mail is from a friend or "foe." Also, many of these software programs use a Baysian filter that learn key words to look for in the subject line when determining whether to pass an e-mail to the Inbox or spam folder. So an e-mail titled "New Product for Masonry Construction" will certainly reach the Inbox, while one titled simply "News" may end up in the spam folder.

On a side note, be sure to treat your e-mails as the business correspondence that they truly are. Make sure that your e-mails are succinct and professional. Most importantly, always spell check and include your full name, title, company and contact information. While lack of this particular information may not inhibit your e-mail from reaching its final destination, it may certainly inhibit your message from fulfilling its intended purpose.

Two of our main features this month also stress the right way to gain success in your business.

Brian L. Cooley, P.E., S.E., provides a fascinating article summarizing what he discovered during hundreds of inspections of Chicago-area coal-burning masonry chimneys (see page 14). Despite many of the owners' best intentions to maintain the structures, Cooley found minor deterioration to major structural failure due to freeze/thaw, chemicals, expanded metal and more. He gives insight into these various problems and suggests the correct way to deal with each.

Meanwhile, freelance author Brett Martin provides insight into the right way to set up a drug-free workplace (see page 24). While the mere thought of implementing such a program in your company may send shivers down your spine, Martin shows how this process can be painless and even save you money.

Enjoy these articles and more!






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