Ed Wodalski, longtime contributor and editor with COLE Publishing, passed away suddenly on Sept. 21. He was 64. "Ed was not only a loyal contributor to the COLE team, but a mentor, family man and friend. He will be deeply missed," said Jeff Bruss, president of COLE Publishing.
Ed began his association with COLE in the mid-80s when the newspaper he worked for printed Pumper and Cleaner magazines. It sparked the idea for a profile on the company, “Small firm, big success,” that published on Feb. 26, 1989. That same year, Ed traveled to COLE’s annual Liquid Waste Haulers Equipment and Trade Show, now known as the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show, taking photos and writing about featured products. The show also provided Ed the opportunity to make numerous industry connections, making the most of his knack for all things mechanical. According to Pumper editor Jim Kneiszel, “he had a natural gift for explaining how things worked.”
In 2006, in addition to his writing contributions, Ed became COLE’s primary proofreader, checking over copy for all of COLE’s magazines. Ed also handled photography, coordinating national photo shoots and assignments. Most recently, he was the print and digital editor for Plumber magazine, and also oversaw the product and industry news for nine COLE publications.
Ed, an avid sports fan, took great joy in coaching his grandson’s baseball team and refereed local high school football games for over 20 years. He was also passionate about all things automotive, including his completely refurbished ’79 MG convertible and his most recent project, rehabbing a vintage Chevy truck. He started his own racing magazine, Speed Scene, before moving to newspapers and eventually, COLE Publishing.
As a long-term member of the COLE team, he was a great help to others, offering his knowledge of the industry and overseeing the training of many in the editorial department. His final Plumber editor’s column, reflecting on how teammates provide the opportunity to share with others, offered this coaching analogy:
“Being a team member means running to the ball and helping others make a play.”
Ed is survived by his wife, Dawn, son Michael and daughter Nicole, and three grandchildren.