2022 WGE Recap | Industry ‘Friends’ gather for seminars, exhibits & networking

Published on April 29, 2022

The Water Garden Expo in Shawnee, Oklahoma was back in full swing this year. After an overall industry event halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it sure was great to see old and new faces again. You don’t realize how much you crave human interaction until you don’t have it! 

When it comes to gathering with folks in the pond industry, you know you’re going to have a good time. The event kicked off on March 2, 2022, with hands-on contractor training. Everyone had their own choice of interacting with OASE, Evolution Aqua, Atlantic and Firestone.

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The trade show kicked into full gear on March 3. There were seven sessions with multiple speakers between Thursday and Friday. Some of the speakers in attendance included Erick Santana, Max Taylor, Jason Foust, Frayne McAtee, Brian Fitzsimmons, Jim Chubb, Laura Reale and Dave Duensing! 

Lora Lee Gelles, publisher of POND Trade magazine, announces the winner of the Pondless category of the Water Artisans of the Year award.

In addition to the great lectures, there were lots of vendors on hand at the trade show. It was a good way to learn about new products and have a good discusstion with representatives across the industry. POND Trade had our own booth, and it was so nice to chat with many of you!

Another wonderful thing about Water Garden Expo is all the networking that goes down. The large group of tables were not just for meals. There were some great conversations going on, with people sharing pond success stories (and a few nightmares, too). It was really fun to pick each other’s brains and learn from our experiences. 

On March 4, it was time to announce the annual Water Artisans of the Year award winners. It was my honor to be there in person to announce them, and it’s always extra special when the winners are there, too. This year, the victors in attendance included Erick Santana “The Pond Pirate” of Bellas Aquatic Gardens and Shane Hemphill and Heath Webb from Art of the Yard. 

As the expo came to a close, Lloyd “The Pond Monster” Lightsey posthumously awarded Joe Adams’ widow with the Monster Award. Last but not least, there was a nice sendoff for Mike Miller, a longtime employee of Pondliner and all around good guy. Wishing you all the best in your retirement, Mike!

Hope to see even more of you there next year. It’s a great place to be!

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