On April 10, 2011, Pool & Spa News received a Jesse H. Neal Award from the American Business Media for an article we published titled “SVRS>.” (See our news story.)

Neals are maddeningly tough to win, and although this is the second time we’ve taken home the prize, it is, for me, the sweetest.

In 2007, Pool & Spa News nabbed the honor for an in-depth story examining the high drowning rates among minorities. And while receiving that award was wonderful, it didn’t give me the same profound sense of validation that I felt with “SVRS.”

“In the Minority” provided fascinating coverage to a critically important issue, yet it always seemed slightly off-topic for a magazine devoted to the residential pool and spa industry.

Conversely, “SVRS” falls squarely in our wheelhouse. I now have the satisfaction of knowing that by doing nothing but performing our core mission, Pool & Spa News received the highest award given to a business-to-business magazine.

Plus, “SVRS” won in the Best Technical Content category, a high-stakes arena where there is no wiggle room. Unlike the flashier style of investigative journalism, technical writing boils down to presenting clean, hard information; if a concept seems muddy it will show up like a white skimmer lid on a flagstone deck.

And finally, there’s Rebecca Robledo, the writer of “SVRS.” I’ve worked with Rebecca for a solid decade, and over those years have seen her produce a number of award-winning stories. However, none sat quite at this level. Rebecca’s writing in “SVRS” is exceptionally clear and strong, the reporting is unbiased, and the content so complete that members of the industry have told me, on more than one occasion, that it’s the most comprehensive explanation of the technology available today. And luckily for us, Rebecca’s words were brought to life with stellar layouts by Denise Baker, our highly accomplished graphic designer.

Please join me in congratulating Rebecca and Denise for a job well done.