I’ve written a lot of columns in my nearly 10 years as editor of Aquatics International. But this one is the most difficult. This is the one where I say goodbye to a magazine I’ve come to love like a child and a group of professionals I’ve gotten to know like family.

Our November/December issue of the magazine is the last in which my name will appear on the masthead as editor. And as with so many good byes, this one is bittersweet. The bitter part is knowing how much I will miss putting together the pages of this magazine – pages that so many of you have told me over the years matter so much; pages that you cut out and share with your staff; pages you read when it comes in the mail before any other publication; pages in which I hope we have helped to make a positive difference in the industry and in your day-to-day professional lives. Without question, serving as editor of Aquatics International has been the pinnacle of journalistic career. And I thank you all for your support and encouragement throughout the years.

What’s the sweet part in all this? That’s where I say “hello” to you in my new role as Interactive Director for Aquatics International and our sister publication, Pool & Spa News, which focuses on the residential side of the aquatics market. In the simplest terms, I’ll be handling all of the online initiatitves of both magazines – enewsletters , Web sites, social networks, virtual conferences and whatever else the brave new world of digital media brings. In my place as editor, will be Erika Taylor, who is now editor and chief of both magazines. I’ve worked with Erika for more than 10 years and I’m confident that you’ll come to respect her the same way I do. She and her staff will now take over the magazine and I’m excited about the ideas and energy they’re bringing to the publication. Watch for those to start taking shape in 2013.

Along with my departure as editor, I regret to announce that Kendra Kozen, the magazine’s award-winning senior editor, will also no longer be part of the magazine. Like me, Kendra is taking on new online duties as part of Hanley Wood’s Radar Desk. There, she’ll be producing a new line up of enewsletters, including two new offerings from Aquatics International that will be premiering soon, one to give professionals a bigger voice and the other to cover the dynamic waterpark and resort market.

But even though Kendra and I will no longer be working on the print magazine, we’ll still be involved with it. For my part, I’ll still be writing the provocative, challenging and sometimes irksome columns you’ve come to know and, I hope, love. You’ll just find them online instead of in print. For those of you who have been following my tweets @aquaticsintl, I invite you to also follow my new Twitter handle, @gary_thill where I’ll also be sending out my 140 character reports of the day. You can follow Kendra @kendra_free.  Whether it’s on Twitter, AI Connect, our Aquatics International Linkedin group, Facebook or Google Plus, I hope you’ll take the time to connect with us and your peers online.

So there’s two ways to look at the changes happening. You can think of it as “good-bye.” Or you can think of the way I am: This is really “hello.”

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Comment by Gary Thill on October 30, 2012 at 10:05am

Thanks for the kinds words, Bob and Joe! Just to be clear, the print magazine is not going away. It will remain as strong as ever. But we do want to start reaching our audience in new online ways as well. As Joe pointed out, AI Connect is a great example of how that can work. But whether it's in print or online, connections with professionals like yourself will remain key. Thanks for all that you do!

Comment by Joe Andrews on October 29, 2012 at 9:43pm

I am excited about the commitment of the AI Brand into the next century. It would be dishonest if I said print magazines don't have an uphill battle on the same magnitude that us as aquatics facility operators have with ageing facilities, shrinking annual budgets and a changing landscape. Like facility operators, AI has innovated and is building this network to stay relevant in this digital age. This is becoming a network that builds upon what made Print AI so big, being a source of relevant information. Do I think print AI is dead? By no means, it is just facing a different landscape. 

Thank you for all the work in making a great publication. There is a certain level of satisfaction that I still get every month when I get the print AI, but the online community is growing into something in many ways more satisfying, relevant and real.

So good bye, and hello also. 

Joe Andrews

Comment by Robert E. Ogoreuc on October 29, 2012 at 8:39pm

Congrats on your new role! I have enjoyed working with you and Kendra. I am sure we will continue to network in your new position. Thank you both for all your support! I appreciate all that both of you have done for aquatics!


Bob and all of us at Slippery Rock Aquatics

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