2022 Water Artisans of the Year Judges Have an Eye for Excellence

Published on February 27, 2023

Meet our judges. Top row, left to right: Chris Hanson, Ellen Kloubec, Tim Wood. Bottom row, left to right: Chad
Smith, Steve Sandalis, Larry Carnes.

Known informally as the “Supreme Stream Court,” the 2022 Water Artisans of the Year judges represent a true cross section of the industry, featuring a past winner, master pond builders, a wholesale distributor and koi farmer. Each judge reviewed blind entries and selected a winner and runner-up in each of the five categories — Formal Features & Fountains, Best Pondless, Most Naturalistic, Best Water Feature Under $20,000, and Rock Artisans.

In order to be considered eligible, projects must have been completed between Nov. 1, 2021 and Nov. 1, 2022. We were happy to accept multiple entries from the same contractor; however, each project could only be submitted in one category for consideration. POND Trade magazine’s editorial staff then collected rankings for each of the five categories and calculated the winners.

The 2022 Water Artisans of the Year judges:

Tim Wood, a Water Artisan of the Year Award recipient in 2016, 2017 and 2021, gave up an opportunity to be the only four-time winner of the contest, and instead offer his expertise as judge. Known for his naturally inspired designs, Tim is a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor and founder of Aquatic Edge, a full-service water garden design, repair and installation company serving Western Pennsylvania.

As someone who raises and supplies koi throughout the United States and Canada, Ellen Kloubec knows the pond industry inside and out. Together with her husband and her son, she operates Kloubec Koi Farm, one of the largest and most trusted koi farms in the United States.

Steve Sandalis, owner of Mystic Water Gardens, is a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor with more than 17 years of experience creating innovative and ecofriendly water gardens in the Los Angeles area. In crafting designs for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Steve gets inspiration from his travels to national parks and tropical islands.

Chad Smith is the owner and operator of WIM Supply, formerly known as Water in Motion, a wholesale distributor in Houston, Texas. The company provides both expertise and high-quality landscape lighting, outdoor sound equipment and pond and water feature installation products to landscapers and pond contractors. Since he built his first water feature in 1998, ponds have been his favorite part of any landscape project.

Known for his artistic ponds, Larry Carnes is the president of Reflections Water Gardens in West Dundee, Illinois, where he specializes in high-end residential and commercial projects with naturalistic watershaping. Larry is a student of Genesis 3 and Anthony Archer-Wills, one of the most foremost authorities in designing natural looking ponds and water features.

Chris Hanson is the head foreman at Aquascape, the largest water feature design and installation company in the world, based in Chicagoland. Chris takes a holistic approach to water feature design, using his landscape background to ensure the water and surrounding landscape interact perfectly with each other.

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