The staff of this publication has had the pleasure of working with Michael Scott Scudder for many years — as a speaker at our trade shows, as an industry consultant who has always been available for interviews on various subjects and for the last five years as a columnist for our From the Lip column.

However, they do say that all good things must come to an end, don't they? In this issue, we are running Michael's last column with us. As always, it's a column full of thought-provoking — and, I hope, discussion-provoking — comments. That's one thing that we could always count on with Michael — he never held back.

Some people may have been put off by Michael's columns because they thought he was too negative about the state of the industry, but having various viewpoints represented in a publication and heard throughout an industry can only help strengthen that industry. We need someone stirring the pot a little so we don't all get burned — even if the pot stirring was uncomfortable and sometimes off track. No one is right 100 percent of the time, but at least Michael was never afraid to stick his neck out and challenge the industry.

Even though Michael's column will be absent from these pages, his name and opinions will not be. We will continue to call upon him for his insights on various topics, and he still plans to continue as a speaker at the Club Industry trade shows.

We wish Michael the best in building his business, MeetingZone, and any other endeavors he plans to undertake. Thanks, Michael!