Kitchen & Bath Design News lost a valued, long-time member of our family last month and, somehow, the magazine will never quite be the same.
Allan R. Dresner, CKDe, had been a columnist for K&BDN practically since the magazine's launch in 1983. When he died in July, at age 85, his legacy included not merely 20 years of insightful, finely written columns, but a reputation as one of the industry's most astute minds a progressive, innovative professional whose achievements as a businessman, educator and industry leader were substantive enough to warrant entry into the NKBA's Hall of Fame.
My own appreciation for Al Dresner was more personal.
When we first conceived K&BDN, unsure of exactly how to proceed, uncertain of our ability to sound credible, someone told me, "Go out and find a columnist who readers will take notice of right away, whose credentials are established, whose insights will be unquestioned, who'll help stamp the magazine as a publication to be taken seriously."
Surround yourself with expertise, I was told. Let the expert carry the show.
As it turned out, I followed that advice. I picked up the phone and called Al Dresner. Lucky for me.
Al's column, "Kitchen & Bath Distribution," became an important staple of K&BDN right from day one. His columns, in fact, were as instrumental to the magazine's success as any other singular body of work I can think of.
Al helped breathe life into K&BDN as we struggled in our early years for an identity and for acceptance in the kitchen/bath trade. He helped define who we were, helped stamp us as something special and unique. In the early years, especially, he was our superstar, our featured act. And if magazines can be considered living, breathing entities, then Al Dresner surely helped us find our legs, and then our voice.
Al's own voice was utterly unique to the trade. A pioneer and innovator in kitchen/bath distribution, his columns exuded experience and wisdom. Always on time, always coherent, always a joy to read, the columns provided insight, encouragement, inspiration. They identified key trends. They contrasted the past with the present in a way that lent perspective, depth, meaning. They helped readers understand how to more effectively operate their business, how to adapt to a rapidly evolving distribution and retail landscape, how to interact with others in the trade.
Al Dresner, however, was not simply a gifted, visionary writer. He was also someone who K&BDN was proud to be associated with, someone who enhanced who we were. He had substance, character, integrity; he was extraordinarily energetic, young at heart, progressive in his thinking embracing concepts like technology and change when others of his generation shrunk in fear from those things.
Like a great ballplayer whose impact can never be duplicated, we
will retire Al Dresner's number at K&BDN. At the same time, we
gratefully acknowledge his contributions, hope that his family
finds comfort in his memory, and offer
a prayer that he rests in peace.