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Diversity governs selection of judges

The Innovation Award judges come from a range of expertise areas — and that’s no coincidence.

“I am trying to put together a package of people who bring different strength areas to the table,” says Zuzana Prochazka, Innovation Awards judge chairwoman and president of the Boating Writers International board of directors.

In addition to Prochazka, the panel this year consisted of Ed Sherman, educational programming director at the American Boat and Yacht Council; Jan Mundy, co-founder of DIY Boat Owner and a writer; Lenny Rudow, boat review editor at Boats.com and electronics editor of BoatUS and Marlin magazines; Alan Jones, executive editor of Boating World magazine; Elaine Lembo, Cruising World deputy editor; and Mark Corke, author and owner of the On Board with Mark Corke blog and a contributing writer to Soundings and Lakeland Boating magazines.

“Lenny is excellent on the fishing side and electronics,” Prochazka says. “Alan Jones is good with PWC and small trailerable boats. Elaine comes from the sailing and cruising side. Jan is great on tools and chemicals. Mark and Ed have vast technical expertise.”

A mix of seasoned and rookie judges helps, too, she says. “I want about half the judges to be new and have fresh perspectives and half who have been through it a few times for the continuity.”

Sherman and Lembo were new to the judging. Returning, but relatively new, was Corke, while Jones, Mundy and Rudow have judged the competition a number of times. “You’d be surprised by the number of times we see a new flavor of the same things over the years,” Prochazka says. “That continuity helps us recognize a product that has been done before, but I also want those fresh perspectives.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue.

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