Fire Engineering wins Jesse Neal editorial excellence award


The staff of PennWell® Corporation’s Fire Engineering magazine has been awarded a 2014 Jesse Neal for editorial excellence in business-to-business media. The winning entry was “Hurricane Sandy Response, Part 1,” in the Best Theme Issue of a Magazine or Newspaper category. “Hurricane Sandy Response, Part 2, was a finalist in that category as well. The winning entry was one of 173 finalists selected by a distinguished board of judges, including Lisa Gibbs, senior writer of Money; Harry McCracken, editor at large of Time; Ellen McGirt, senior writer of Fast Company; and Allen Wastler, managing editor of The judging panel, headed by Trevor Butterworth, of, selected the finalists from an original pool of 612 entries.

The Neal judges were thrilled with this piece on first response after Sandy, with one plainly stating, “To say Fire Engineering produced an indispensable account of Hurricane Sandy feels like understatement,” noted ABM, sponsor of the Neal Awards.

Fire Engineering is most appreciative of the fire service leaders/authors who participated in this series and most proud of their performances in their responses to this far-reaching and devastating storm. In its description of the winning entry, the editors of Fire Engineering noted the following:

Responders to Sandy in New York and New Jersey wrestled with a storm that produced many challenges and “first-time” crises. The unprecedented surges had them operating from “islands” as breaches reconfigured the coastlines and town borders. The local mutual-aid system was virtually nonexistent as surrounding towns were fighting the same flooding conditions. A South Jersey chief reported: “Sandy was the toughest test our generation of firefighters has faced.” Some responders noted the Katrina-like conditions of having “people trapped on second floors and in attics.”

In some cases, responders had to secure their own resources because the county system broke down: “All of the tabletop practices and exercises you have trained on cannot prepare you for when the system breaks down.” These in-depth issues cover Sandy before, during, and after. The lessons learned and shared will make a critical life-saving difference.

“I don’t think we could have picked a better group of finalists this year,” said ABM Managing Director Mike Marchesano, referring to the Neal Award finalists. “Each of these brands and content producers have created cutting-edge work that inspires and informs the industry. We congratulate all of this year’s Neal Award finalists and look forward to honoring them for their outstanding work.”

Commenting on the award, Robert Biolchini, president and CEO of PennWell, said: “The Neals are the most prestigious editorial awards in business-to-business publishing.” He extended congratulations to Editor-in-Chief Bobby Halton and his editorial team including Diane Rothschild, Mary Jane Dittmar, Robert Maloney, Derek Rosenfeld, Peter Prochilo, presentation editor Josh Troutman, and advisory board member/technical editor Glenn Corbett and related: “All of us at PennWell are proud of the editorial excellence and worldwide reputation of Fire Engineering.”

Fire Engineering has been the premier training magazine of the fire and emergency services for 137 years, and the only paid circulation publication for the fire service.

Fire Engineering was also a finalist in the Best Web Cast Fire Talk Radio ( and Best News Coverage categories.

The Jesse Neal Awards, presented at the 53rd Annual Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards luncheon held on March 14 in New York City, was established in 1955 by ABM, a division of SIIA, the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. The awards are named after ABM’s first managing director, who remained active in promoting the industry throughout his life. The Neal Awards are presented annually to those editors who have submitted entries exhibiting journalistic enterprise, service to the field, and editorial craftsmanship.