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At a meeting in Phoenix in August 2008, Kirk Butler of Cactus Stone & Tile described watershape designers and builders as practitioners of “the science of selection” when it comes to deciding which products and materials to use in their projects.

His observation immediately rang bells for me: At that point late in the summer, we

at WaterShapes were in the final stages of assembling the Resource Directory that appears in this special issue. Our intention in compiling this wealth of information has been, in fact, to advance “the science of selection” to a new level of focus and convenience for watershapers.

From the start, we aimed at making our directory different from any that has ever been offered. We exclusively targeted equipment and materials of specific, high-priority interest to watershape designers, engineers and contractors – and made certain that the environment would be uncluttered by items that, from a design/build perspective, do nothing more than fatten other available buyer’s guides and make them harder to use than watershapers need and want them to be.

We began discussing the unique architecture of this Resource Directory several years ago as a result of direct requests from watershapers who wanted a product reference that met their specific professional needs. With their guidance, we’ve done all we can to make our directory focused, comprehensive and easy to use.

I offer thanks to those whose hard work made this package possible, particularly Robin Wilzbach. She has a full-time job as our production manager, but she spent most of the past summer calling supplier after supplier to ensure full participation. Eric Herman joined her in September, following up with dozens of companies as we tried to press e-mails past spam filters and delicately persuade busy people to spend a few minutes to make this guide more useful. Our national sales manager Camma Barsily also played a key role, defining and cultivating the base of more than 600 companies whose watershape-focused products have been included and filling this issue with pertinent advertising.

On the technology side of things, consultants Lenny Giteck, Kathleen Pittman and Trung Nguyen set up the Web-based system that helped us compile our database – and will further assist us early in 2009 by translating everything you see here into a digital edition that will raise the value of our Web site for watershapers around the world.

Before I sign off, let me add a mention of the Ten-Year Index that also appears in this issue: This is a compendium of every feature article and column ever published in the magazine and is yet another tool we developed to complete a year-long celebration of our tenth year of publication.

This special issue has been a complex project – and we trust that our hard work will translate to an Index and Resource Directory you’ll use with ease and frequency in the year to come.

Editor Eric Herman will return to his familiar spot on this page next time as we embark on WaterShapes’ second decade.

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