The one that was significant came from the gang at National Instruments. Now, editors get gifts and tsotschkes from vendors and PR firms all the time, but I have rarely been so touched.
Here's what they did:
This year, National Instruments is celebrating the holiday season by giving back to the community. In the spirit of sharing and in support of our focus on education, NI is reaching out to the Austin Children's Museum to help outfit the museum's after-school and summer robotic camps with LEGO Mindstorms for Schools.
In honor of your ongoing friendship with NI, we have donated a LEGO Mindstorms for Schools system to the Austin Children's Museum on your behalf. With this new technology, students can explore their own creativity and develop design, logic, and problem-solving skills.
We hope that you join us in celebrating our support for education and the future of our world. We thank you for our friendship and wish you all the best in the coming year.
So where are all the rest of you? Vendors, End-User Companies, Associations...What have you done lately to ensure that a decade from now, two decades from now, there will be automation engineers and technicians?
I'm not saying that you all should go out and donate stuff in my name, and I'm quite flattered that NI did it. But what I AM saying is that this should not have been a pleasant and uncoventional surprise holiday gift. It should, dammit, be what every single one of us is doing to ensure the future of manufacturing and automation.
If you're doing it, tell me.
If you're not doing it, tell me why not.