I joined the staff of Lighting Dimensions in 1994. I became the editor of the publication in 1996. I've wanted to start an advisory board for the magazine since 1988.

Let me explain. That year, I was finishing up my graduate-level journalism studies at Northwestern University. Part of the program entailed my class creating, in 9-12 weeks, a viable magazine prototype for a niche market that we would identify. My classmates and I went swiftly to work, finding a suitable subject (caregiving, as it turned out), developing a sound business and editorial plan, and mapping out a year's worth of topics to cover, all in about a week's time. We were impressed, and showed our project supervisor, the esteemed magazine guru Abe Peck, our results. He was skeptical.

"You forgot the most important element," Abe said. "The wise people - the professionals who know something about this topic, who can offer advice and criticism, who care passionately about it and will care passionately about this magazine. It's crucial to have these people onboard."

Indeed it is. Lighting Dimensions has never had a formal advisory board - in its 23-year history, we have always been fortunate to have the good will, and consultative prowess, of designers and manufacturers behind us. But the industry is changing, and LD - which has always prided itself as an active, rather than passive, voice in the community - must change with it. I sat down with publisher Jacqueline Tien and editorial director David Barbour and we came up with 14 names - seven designers, and seven representatives from manufacturers, representing a broad spectrum of the industry.

Over the next two years, these non-paid advisors will assist us in a variety of ways. At our first meeting, on August 1 in our office, we candidly discussed how best to reach our increasingly diverse community, strategies to enhance editorial coverage, and topics that ranged from the design of the magazine to the utility of our website. Well before the end of their term, at which time we plan to field a new crop of contributors, the magazine you hold in your hands, while as substantive and authoritative as always, will have a different tone and feel than the one you have now.

Our distinguished board members are listed on our masthead, on page 2. Space prohibits me from detailing their individual accomplishments, but they form a formidable brain trust and we are honored to receive their contributions. Yours, too. Feel free to e-mail me with your thoughts as we plan new directions for LD.

Speaking of new directions, I must point out that amid a summer baby boom that brought new arrivals to board member Jonathan Resnick and Bandit Lites VP Michael Golden, Entertainment Design editor David Johnson recently graduated from Openers, a local bar, to Pampers. He and his wife, Hannah, welcomed the enchanting Ella Grace on June 28. David tells me she's especially attracted to light, which makes her a little lady after my own heart.