With pond season in high gear, all eyes are gazing toward the accolades that will be awarded this winter for the season’s best waterscape construction projects in POND Trade’s Water Artisans of the Year contest.
Last year’s inaugural contest recognized winners and runners-up in five distinct categories and raised more than $1,300 for the Wounded Warrior Project. Seven judges from around the industry blindly evaluated each of the entries.
POND Trade Publisher Lora Lee Gelles announced that this year’s “Supreme Stream Court” has been selected and is comprised of seven new faces, including three of last year’s winners.
“Our judging panel did an amazing job last year,” Gelles said. “This year, we wanted to keep things fresh by shuffling the lineup and including some of last year’s talented artisans on the panel.”
“We also wanted to give last year’s judges a chance to enter the contest,” she added.
Like last year, the judges will evaluate all entries with no knowledge of applicants’ names or the brands of the products used to complete the projects.
2016 Water Artisans of the Year winners John Adams (Modern Design Aquascaping), Brian Buchholtz (PondWorks) and Dean Pipito (Aquatica) will judge this year’s entries alongside well-known industry leaders James Allison (Water Garden Solutions), Jamie Beyer (Midwest Waterscapes), Mike Gannon (Full Service Aquatics) and Eric Triplett (The Pond Digger).
John Adams took home last year’s award for best waterfall after his pondless feature at an animal rescue farm wowed his customer and our judges. The owner of Modern Design Aquascaping, he has been in the industry for more than 20 years, building ponds and water features in Tennessee and 10 other states.
Brian Buchholtz’s koi pond, stream and waterfalls won most naturalistic in last year’s contest. He is the founder and owner of PondWorks, a water feature construction company based in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and brings more than 25 years of experience in design and consulting to this year’s panel.
Dean Pipito’s majestic golf course water feature, which included crashing waterfalls and a 450-foot river, won best overall in last year’s contest. His company, Aquatica, is one of the largest waterscape firms in the United States. Pipito brings more than 25 years of experience and a keen eye for artistic design to the panel.
James Allison joins the court from across the pond as an aquatic biologist who has been involved in the water-gardening trade for more than 30 years. He currently heads Water Garden Solutions in the United Kingdom.
Jamie Beyer is one of the Midwest’s leading experts on fish and wildlife biology. His consulting and installation business, Midwest Waterscapes, designs, builds and installs water gardens, fountains and ponds. He also teaches classes on the subject and takes pride in helping do-it-yourselfers do it the right way.
Mike Gannon is a lifelong pond enthusiast and fish keeper. He started Full Service Aquatics in 1995 after working as a fish dealer and a stint at the New York Aquarium. Gannon also hosts The Pond Hunter Radio Broadcast, which can be found on iTunes.
Eric Triplett is the owner and operator of The Pond Digger Waterscape Design & Construction Company and the creator of Helix Life Support Pond Filtration Systems. He is a regular guest speaker at industry seminars and events and was inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame in 2015.
These seven professionals will vote on winners and runners-up in five categories: best waterfall, best water feature under $15,000, most artistic, best pondless and best large-scale project.
Eligible projects must be completed between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2017. Projects completed in 2016 are not eligible for this year’s contest, and multiple entries for the same project in different categories are not permitted. Winners will be featured in the March/April 2018 issue of POND Trade.
More details on the contest, including how to enter, will be released in the upcoming weeks.