Hello. My name is Erika Taylor and I’m very excited to be the new editor of Aquatics International. Gary Thill — the face you’re all familiar with — now is overseeing the digital footprint of this magazine, along with that of our sister publication, Pool & Spa News.

While I don’t yet have in-depth knowledge of the aquatics industry, I do bring related experience to the party. For more than a decade now, I’ve been the editor of Pool & Spa News, which serves pool builders, service technicians and retailers in the residential market. Over the years, I’ve grown to care deeply for our readers and am proud of our ability to keep them informed. Often, at trade shows, I come across people talking about a story in our magazine, and hearing those conversations — feeling like I’m part of a system that provides important, unbiased information to people who need it — has proven to be one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my life.

Now I’m deeply honored to have the chance to bring that ability to Aquatics International.

A few months ago, to learn more about this industry, I attended the NRPA show. I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit intimidated, but what I ending up seeing was a vibrant group of people full of new ideas, research, outreach and a deep, heartfelt commitment to the benefits of aquatics.

My big takeaway from the day I spent there was that the residential pool and spa industry and the aquatics aspect of the business are different sides of the same coin. The coin in question is a love of water, and each side has an equally important contribution to make in bringing that love to as many people as possible.

A backyard pool is more likely to be family-focused, while a municipal pool involves the entire community. One of the best ways to keep children safe from drowning in a residential pool is to teach them to swim — something that is statistically more likely to happen in a local aquatics facility.

All of this is to say that I’m very much looking forward to this new chapter of my career and would welcome any suggestions or comments from you as I plan Aquatics International’s contents for 2013.