Time is continuous, and sometimes likened to a river, with eddies and currents flowing within the whole. But try as we might, we cannot stop it, only pause in our own thinking to reflect over some portion of it and how it has impacted our lives and the lives of those around us. December usually provides a convenient point each year for remembrance along the ever-flowing river that is time.

Of course, for many 2002 was a year they would rather forget. Very few companies in the high-frequency industry can stake claims to 2002 as a high-water mark in their financial histories. Only a handful can admit to growth compared to the previous year, in a year when even flat sales for 2002 compared to 2001 could be considered a triumph.

Still, there are always those companies that thrive, sometimes for unexplainable reasons, even during the worst of times. For example, Scott Newman, president of Voltronics Corp. (Denville, NJ), has noted a strong demand for his company's trimmer capacitors and other components. One of the more visible success stories in the industry, RF Micro Devices (Greensboro, NC) continued a pattern of growth in 2002 that has seen the company expand from about 20 people in the early 1990s to more than 1500 employees at present (and still hiring).

Hillar Kiiss of MITEQ (Hauppauge, NY) reports that 2002 has been a good year for the company, with a growing demand for the firm's components and subsystems in military-based applications. Focus Microwaves (St. Regis, Quebec, Canada) has reported sales levels on a part with 2001. And Meta Rohde of Synergy Microwave (Paterson, NJ) has admitted that while not a banner year, her company has held its own. She does caution, however, that current unemployment figures tend to be misleading since they represent only those actively collecting unemployment and not the growing number of unemployed workers whose unemployment benefits have run out (and who are thus no longer included in the unemployment statistics).

Admittedly, these positive notes are just a small sample based on personal experience (and apologies to those overlooked here). Still, these firms deserve recognition for what they have accomplished during difficult times, and what their efforts mean to the families of their employees. For various reasons, including having the right products, the right quality, being in the right markets, treating their customers the right way, they have fared well. In doing so, they send a message to the rest of us that it can be done. And if we follow their guidelines for success, the look back from December of 2003 will be much more enjoyable. For now, much health and happiness to you all.