By Jim McCloskey
If you haven’t already heard, there are two huge development in the world of WaterShapes, the first having to do with a transition, the second with an addition. Both are exciting and please me more than I can say.
First, as was announced a just few days ago, Eric Herman will soon come aboard and take over the lion’s share of my responsibilities for WaterShapes and WaterShapes.com. I had never thought we’d have the opportunity to work together again, nor can I imagine a better person to carry on what has been my life’s work for the past 22 years.
When I started a publishing company in 1995 and began the process of launching its first magazine, there was exactly one person I considered to take the editorial reins at Professional Refinishing, and that was Eric Herman. I had first hired him in 1989 while I was editor at Pool & Spa News, and I knew he had the curiosity and intellectual firepower to jump onto something entirely new to him and make it go.
Four years later, WaterShapes emerged and Eric was again the logical choice to run it: This was to be a far more complex editorial vehicle than our woodworking title, and I needed someone experienced not only with a start-up, but also someone who knew enough about the subject matter through his tenure at P/SN that he could hit the ground running in what promised to be an extremely competitive environment.
Again Eric came through with flying colors, putting WaterShapes on the map immediately and then building it into an unsurpassed resource across multiple industries that shared a common interest in containing and controlling water in all of its forms.
It was this foundation and the incredible momentum he developed that enabled me to keep moving forward when WaterShapes went all-digital in 2011. Without the magnificent foundation Eric left me, in other words, WaterShapes likely wouldn’t have survived – and I’m thrilled he’s coming back to push it to all new levels for years to come!
He and I will work together through a transition, mostly with me doing everything I can to get out of his way while transferring what he needs to know about how the web site and its nest of weird html-based systems work. But effective March 31, he will take over entirely as editor-in-chief and I will become a consultant – dedicated in part to supporting his efforts while also participating in strategic planning and development for Watershape University.
I have never been readier for change than I am right now, and I am aware that Eric’s return to WaterShapes has turned necessity into great joy. Welcome back, my friend!
Second, the sharp-eyed among you have already noticed a fresh feature on the home page of WaterShapes.com: There on the right side is the new ‘Ask the Masters’ Showcase, where we will be sharing videos and podcasts that directly reflect and sustain WaterShapes’ own mission to educate, support and elevate the watershaping trades and those who design, engineer and build with water as their chosen artistic medium.
These videos and podcasts feature one-on-one and panel discussions about watershapes, poolscapes, landscapes and architecture, both residential and commercial. Ask the Masters’ goal is to establish a space where honest, open discussion of topics related to design and construction challenges takes place – a meeting ground where important, industry-shaping questions are asked and answered.
Most of those involved, including Dave Penton, Paolo Benedetti, Randy Beard, Rick Chafey and many others, have long been friends of WaterShapes and steady contributors of articles through the years. Most are also involved with Watershape University, which now owns WaterShapes. It’s a growing league of like-minded individuals, and it just made sense to me to offer Ask the Masters space on our home page to reach the full, broad and deep audience of our subscribers and followers.
That’s all the news for now, and I have to say I like everything about the way things are coming together and what it says about the future of Ask the Masters, Watershape University and WaterShapes.
Can’t repress the grin, no way.