Every January at Pool & Spa News, someone remembers to update the tag line on the cover of the magazine. As of today, it reads: “The Voice of the Industry for 45 Years.”

Forty-five years! This publication is older than most pool and spa companies, whether they’re on the manufacturing side or serving consumers directly.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done to keep Pool & Spa News fresh and relevant. But it’s never good to rest on past successes and, with that in mind, we’ve planned some new material for 2006 that I hope you’ll find interesting.

First, I’m happy to introduce a new column titled “Case Studies,” which will appear in the second issue of each month. Written by structural engineers Neil O. Anderson and Robert Holmer, it will focus on real-world problems that they’ve encountered in the field, and how those challenges were addressed.

We’ll also have a new section called “The Art of Negotiation,” which will be published quarterly. These unique articles are going to include transcripts of actual sales calls — along with commentary from a well-known negotiations expert, who will discuss aspects of the pitch that could have been improved. Our writer, Josh Keim, plans to tape-record meetings between manufacturers and dealers; retailers and consumers; and builders and homeowners.

Finally, we have a really cool theme issue planned for April named “The Secrets of Their Success.” Imagine if you could start a pool or spa company and staff it with anyone you wanted in the entire industry. Well, that’s the idea behind this special edition. We’re going to design a “dream team” (sort of like fantasy football) and showcase each member, examining the strategies that have made them the best in their field.

These are just three of the new ideas we have planned for 2006 and, in my humble opinion, they are all excellent. I have every hope it will be a great year for us — and for you as well.

Erika Taylor