When our technical writer, John Miles, gave notice at the end of last year I was horrified. John was an incredible employee and equally wonderful human being.

In fact, when he delivered the news I was actually in the middle of buying him dinner, partly as a “thank you” for a favor he had done for me, and partly just to enjoy his keen intelligence and understated wit.

A few days after John let me know he was leaving, I received the following e-mail — totally unprovoked — from Ron Schroader, an aquatic safety consultant with New Water Solutions.

“While reading [Pool & Spa News, I’ve noticed] an author who does the job perfectly. To read an article that is clean, apolitically sided, articulate, precise and to the point in this industry is unusual. You have a keeper. The person I’m referring to is John Miles. I like his style. I hope he keeps writing for many more years for Pool & Spa News.”


John’s departure left a real hole in the editorial department, and he will always be missed. His replacement is outstanding. Ben Thomas joined Pool & Spa News on April 20, and I’m excited to have him on board.

I met Ben in a philosophy discussion group I attend monthly. That night, there were maybe 50 people in the room, and the topic was, “To what extent, if any, does evolution explain human nature?” Ben’s turn to speak came after about 45 of us had weighed in, but rather than give his opinion, he addressed the arguments that had already been made. Ben divided the prior 45 statements into three different camps, and then succinctly discussed how those views addressed the topic.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “This guy assimilated a huge amount of disparate information, organized it neatly in his head and then effectively communicated those thoughts in under a minute. I’m looking for someone with that kind of ability.”

After the discussion was over, I approached him and asked, “By any chance do you have writing experience?”

As it turns out, Ben used to edit a small magazine and writes extremely well. His exceptionally sharp, inquisitive mind is matched by a friendly personality and larger-than-life enthusiasm. All he needs is a better understanding of pools, spas and the industry itself — knowledge that he is gaining every day.

So feel free to give Ben a call (323.801.4976) or send him an email and introduce yourself. He would welcome anything you have to say, from thoughts on water chemistry to ideas for future articles.