of Media All-Stars got me thinking—about several issues that affect us all. For one, nearly half of the winners are younger than me, reminding me of my advancing decrepitude (and I’m only 41).

What also struck me was the extent to which many of these All-Stars steep themselves in research to do their jobs so well as to merit industry accolades. Sure, everyone knows just how great a researcher Horizon Media’s Brad Adgate is—his win as the 2006 Research All-Star is practically a layup, given the extent to which he goes to keep his clients in the know. Obviously, much of planning is built on the back of the sometimes-tedious but always vital discipline of research. Certainly, MindShare’s Ernie Simon, our Planning All-Star, would agree.

Then there’s Mary Honan, our Spot/Local TV All-Star, who built proprietary systems at GSD&M to manage and track the numerous buys for clients as geographically diverse as AT&T. “I am very process-driven,” acknowledges Honan. “I like to have everything nailed down so there are no questions.” And Starcom’s Brenda White earned her All-Star stripes in part thanks to her A.C.E. in the hole—a new metric incorporating accountability, connectivity and engagement she was instrumental in developing. Her efforts sped up the measurement process for magazines and brought more ad dollars to the medium.

There’s one more thing going on in this business that could forever change the way we present and hand out these Media All-Star awards—and this is our 21st year of doing so—the continued breakdown of siloed buying and planning operations at media agencies large or small, conglomerate or independent. (Hats off, by the way, to the quintessential indie, Horizon Media’s Bill Koenigsberg, for taking home our Executive of the Year honor). With the mashing of national TV-buying departments into farther-reaching interactive “video investment” groups, our lineup of categories next year may look a little different. Stay tuned.

Hearty congratulations to all this year’s winners. You’ve earned it!

Michael Bürgi

Editor, Mediaweek