January 2014

Letter From the Editor

By Rich Junker

Richard JunkerWith the delivery of this January 2014 issue, I will be transitioning out of the co–editor position. I will still be active on the Technology Section scene, next supporting our chairperson, Albert Moore, in engaging actuarial clubs across the country.

I am pleased to announce that Paul Ramirez and Donald Armstead are taking on the roles of co–editors. Paul has been in his role for a few issues now, so you can expect a smooth transition and a continuation of crisply edited articles. Donald has quickly picked up the essentials with this, his first issue as co–editor.

As I came on board with the first issue of April 2011, I thought I was dipping in gently to the newsletter gig, offering tepidly to proof a few articles. Before I knew it, I was editor–in–chief, with roiling waters of succession hitting me almost as soon as I had set my canoe in! Yes, being editor of CompAct has pushed me into compressed work deadlines at times. At the same time, it has been a most splendid crow’s nest to observe all that is going on in the technology world, as well as the varied educational directions of the Technology Section. Many of us volunteers join a section seeking a meaty role, just as I did, initially uncertain of finding a satisfying use of my talents, or of finding traction to make a valued contribution. Editing a newsletter is hard to beat, if such is your bent. You latch onto a topic from all that is swirling about you, and you immediately have a platform for sharing it with a large world.

It is seductive how being editor has nudged me to other roles. For example, through the newsletter and the help of so many other Technology Section members, we built the foundation over several quarters for the Advanced Excel Webinar that was so popular this past June 2013.

One happy surprise of my journey has been how well Andrew Chan and I meshed as co–editors for our nearly two years together. My contribution was wordsmithing, Andrew’s was interacting with authors, probing them to clarify programming technicalities, inviting them to expand on their work, and exploiting social media to promote both our newsletter and our section’s work.

I am proud of all of the issues that I have worked on. I treasure all the new friendships I have made working with each author. They are the reason we have a newsletter. How I wish I could know these special people better. I would love to invite each one over for coffee! When we get together in person at the Annual Meetings, I am delighted to be a peer in the ranks of the Technology Section members. I admire these people immensely, and am pleased that I have been able to contribute to the SOA, the fraternity that I have long been so proud to be a member of.

All of the people I have worked with, Section Council, SOA staff, have been willing to spend time to share wisdom and resources and knowledge with me, and that is a wonderful thing to be a part of. Producing CompAct is a team effort, and a number of people behind the scenes help make each issue happen. My thanks to all of them!

I would like to especially thank Sam Phillips and Meg Weber:

Sam Phillips is our SOA staff editor, and I have especially appreciated his eagle proofing eye that picks up all the subtle glitches I have overlooked. All our authors are volunteers, so their submissions often came in after the due date, and Sam absorbed them all. He has made the difference between a well–stocked and a skimpy newsletter more than once.

Meg Weber is the Technology Section staff partner, and her wisdom and advice have contributed hugely to making our ambitious projects succeed. Many a time Meg has sent along inserts of upcoming events, Society of Actuaries events, for the newsletter. These nuggets are great comfort to editors who fret every quarter that this will be the one issue that is a hollow shell. Every scrap gives us comfort! Over the three past years on the Technology Section’s monthly conference calls, she has made first me and in turn every new member fully welcome and valued.

Finally, I am indebted to you the readers, who have honored our efforts with increasing readership each year.

Rich Junker, FSA, MAAA, CLU, is an actuarial consultant at Junker Consulting in Tampa Bay, Fla. He can be contacted at richardjunker41@gmail.com.