A Time of Change

A Time of ChangeBy Brian Rowland, Publisher 

As Emerald Coast Magazine embarks upon its second decade of bringing you the stories of the people and the essence of life in Walton and Okaloosa counties, we feel the time has come to make a few strategic changes that we believe will enhance the magazine and your enjoyment of it.

Having weathered the economic roller coaster ride brought on by the Great Recession and the Deepwater Horizon oil incident, we must now begin adjusting for the next five years of anticipated market recovery and growth in Northwest Florida.

First, I want to commend and give my heartfelt thanks to Wendy Dixon, who has served as Emerald Coast editor for nearly three years. She has successfully planned, led and managed the editorial content for the six issues of Emerald Coast that are published each year. At the same time, she served as editor of Bay Life Magazine, putting out four issues a year. This has been no small or easy task, yet Wendy maintained a high level of editorial quality and integrity for both publications. Despite living in Bay County, she successfully integrated into the Emerald Coast market and built a lifetime of professional and personal relationships within the community with her winning personality and positive, can-do attitude.

But my sixth sense told me that the Panama City area and Bay Life now need her full-time attention as the region begins what is expected to be a major growth spurt fueled by a recovering economy and an intense focus on economic development. We have big plans for Bay Life over the next few years and our interests need full-time attention. So, with this issue, Wendy is turning over the reins of Emerald Coast to a long time friend, business associate and well-known personality in the region — Zandra Wolfgram. Wendy will remain associate editor of Emerald Coast to help with the transition and will also take on a greater role in planning and writing specialty publications based in the Panama City and Emerald Coast area.

I want to welcome Zandra to the Rowland Publishing team and I am confident in her ability to develop a high quality editorial plan for Emerald Coast that will continue to serve you, the reader, and keep your interests in mind while also providing you with some intellectual challenge.

Zandra, who holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, has worked professionally in marketing communications for more than 20 years. She led the communications and branding efforts at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort for eight years, helping to launch Sandestin Magazine, The Sandestin Globe newspaper and the Sandestin TV channel — all award-winning projects. She has also led the marketing and public relations efforts for Seaside, which included serving as editor of The Seaside Times. In a similar role at Premier Island Management Group, she worked on a complete image rebrand for Portofino Island. In recent months, her work has appeared in three Rowland Publishing titles – 850 – The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida, Emerald Coast and Bay Life.

I sense Zandra’s excitement over her new assignment and a commitment to maintaining our high level of editorial standards. Because of her background in the Emerald Coast, where she lives and works, Zandra will bring a creative, new viewpoint to our readers. She has already launched her own research, engaging community and business leaders to determine what new content they may want to see in our magazine. We feel our readership deserves and expects intelligent and credible stories and we will continue to follow our creed of: “Current. Quotable. Well Read.” I encourage you to contact her at zwolfgram@rowlandpublishing.com to share your thoughts about and suggestions for Emerald Coast.

Zandra will be challenging your mind and senses and I trust that you will embrace all that will be new, visually and editorially.