The first annual Water Artisans of the Year contest is in full swing, with seven highly qualified professionals — including a few “big fish” reeled in from around the pond and water gardening industries — to serve as this year’s judges.
POND Trade magazine officially began accepting entries from professional contractors in late August. The independent contest is designed to honor specific water feature construction projects completed between Nov. 1, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2016. All entries must be received by Nov. 1, 2016.
The judging panel, which includes two members of the POND Trade Editorial Committee, will choose winners and honorable mentions in five distinct categories — best overall design, best waterfall, best pondless, most naturalistic design and best renovation. The results will be announced in the March/April 2017 issue of POND Trade.
“We’re honored to have such a strong, balanced team of judges for our first annual contest,” said Lora Lee Gelles, publisher of POND Trade.
Judges will evaluate all entries blindly, with no knowledge of applicants’ names or the brands of the products used to complete the projects. POND Trade Editorial Committee members Benjamin Timmermans and Rick Smith will serve on the panel, along with Ed Beaulieu of Aquascape, Jason Lenox of Ponds Inc., Kelly Billing of Maryland Aquatic Nurseries, Mike Miller of the Pond Pro Shop in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and “Pool Master” Dave Duensing.
Benjamin Timmermans, who was named the 2015 Helix Pond Contractor of the Year, is the president and lead designer at Liquid Landscapes Inc. in Asheville, North Carolina. He has degrees in recreation and wildlife management and has personally completed hundreds of waterscape construction projects over several decades.
Rick Smith is a veteran of the pond and water-gardening
industry, with more than 30 years of experience spanning a
variety of roles and companies. He is currently the director of sales at EasyPro Pond Products.
Ed Beaulieu is one of the longest-serving employees at Aquascape, having started in construction in 1993 and advanced to his current position as the director of contractor development and field research. With degrees in zoology and marine biology, Ed is considered one of the industry’s top experts in water feature design.
Jason Lenox has been in the pond construction business for almost three decades and is known for building some of the largest water features across Illinois. He co-owns Ponds Inc. of Illinois with his brother.
Kelly Billing of Maryland Aquatic Nurseries is one of the most published experts on water plants. She is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturalist and has more than 30 years of experience in the gardening industry.
Mike Miller is the manager of Pondliner.com’s Pond Pro Shop in Shawnee, the “Water Garden Capital of Oklahoma.” He specializes in pond and water-garden education and teaches 16 classes at the shop spanning a wide variety of disciplines. His passion is working to bridge the learning gap between beginners and professionals who love ponds and water gardening.
Dave Duensing is an industry leader and educator on exceptional water features, with an influence that extends throughout the world. He is the owner of several construction and consulting companies that specialize in using natural rock to craft living water features. He is well known across multiple industries, having starred in the Animal Planet TV series “Pool Master.”
The entry fee for each submission is $25, with all proceeds benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. Each entry donation should be accompanied by up to four photos of the candidate project, along with a brief write-up of no more than 50 words. Interested contestants may submit multiple entries for as many projects in as many categories as they wish. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 1, 2016.