I’ll never forget early 2014, when Matt (Schramel, our owner and publisher) asked me to come on board at VAPE. I was teaching English in China, and this was nothing new; Matt had asked me to do several editing projects over the years. However, what was to happen next was new. An idea for a vaping magazine stuck, and before we knew it, we were the No. 1 international magazine in our industry.
It hasn’t come without its ups and downs, like any job, and now that I’m stepping down as editor in chief, with this being my last “official” issue, I want to highlight some of the amazing times I’ve had over the past two years.
The best week of my life, hands down, came at the end of my life in China, with a tour of 14 e-cigarette battery, device and e-liquid factories in Shenzhen. The Wingle Group took me on this whirlwind tour that culminated with a night in Hong Kong and the industry’s first-ever China issue published in the United States. Even though I’m fairly well-traveled, nothing could prepare me for the flight in—I felt like I was flying into a James Bond movie. I made lifelong friends on that trip, and it was fitting that my time at VAPE would end with another Wingle Group trip to the Moscow Vape Expo in December. Another “highlight” was traveling to a conference in Amsterdam last spring with almost 103 temperature. Thank goodness for voice recordings, because I could barely see straight during that conference. Our trip to Paris for their show last year was another hit, along with my special trips to Albany, Ga. and Greenville, N.C. to visit a nicotine plant and an e-liquid bottling facility, respectively, on home soil.
I can’t thank the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. I dedicate my last issue to you. Thank you to Cynthia Cabrera, who always comes through with a column and a bent ear; thank you to GrimmGreen for becoming one of our first columnists and always answering even the most tedious of reader questions; thank you to Steffanie Atkins for constantly making me laugh; thank you to Gregory Conley, Paul Blair, Julie Woessner and the countless others I’ve interviewed who continue to fight; thank you to Norm Bour and Susan Oser for also being one of the first writers on our team and always coming through; thank you to Dman and Anton and the entire Wingle Group team; thank you to all of the shop owners and events organizers who always come through with an interview; thank you to my art director Van who is the best teammate in the world; thank you to the entire VAPE team for producing such a wonderful product; and thank you to my dad, who is the inspiration for all of this. Vaping would’ve given you a chance. I did all of this (and will continue to do so every day in life) for you.