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AQ

FALL 2008

APSP QUARTERLY

DETERMINATION

INSIDE:

Best Practices Boost Market Share Building Pools in Hillside Areas Energy Efficiency – a Win-Win


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AQ

FALL 2008

APSP QUARTERLY

features 9

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Best Practices Can Boost Market Share

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Employing best practices continues to spell success in tough economic times. See how four APSP members keep their customers happy–and attract new ones–by doing such things as making a good first impression, communicating, and paying attention to details. BY MARY LOU JAY

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Making Connections Brian Quint likes to lead by example. Find out how he puts his core company values to work to sustain profitability at Aqua Quip. BY MICHAEL FICKES

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Building Pools in Hillside Areas Hillside pool construction requires attention to a number of structural details. Here’s a look at some of the special challenges and how to overcome them. BY RON LACHER, P.E., C.B.P.

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APSP Career Institute Performance Tool: The 90-Minute Job Analysis

Energy Efficiency: a Win-Win for You and Your Customers It’s good for your business; it’s good for your customers. Why not start reducing electrical costs and using energy-efficient products now? BY STEVE R. BARNES

Best Practices in Turbulent Times Could it be that our “new” strategies aren’t so new after all? Maybe “tried and true” strategies are the best bet for weathering these stormy economic times. BY LOREN BROWN

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departments 7

President’s Message BY BILL WEBER

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Safety BY HELEN BLOCH

What is top performance at your business? Conduct a job analysis and find out. BY MICHAEL REED

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Executive Suite

The National Pool (and Spa) Industry Research Center at Cal Poly

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APSP News & Resources

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Advertiser Index

When several segments of the industry finally got together with a common mission, what had seemed like an impossible dream became a reality – the National Pool (and Spa) Industry Research Center. Now in its fourth year, the NPIRC continues to provide crucial research for our industry. BY MITCH BROOKS

Cover © Inaki/Dreamstime.com FALL 2008 | 5


president’s message

AQ APSP QUARTERLY

Volume 1, No. 4 • FALL 2008 The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) 2111 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, Virginia 22314-4695 703.838.0083 • Fax 703.549.0493 Email: AQ@APSP.org Website: APSP.org

The Essence of Determination: Striving to Reach the Goal

APSP OFFICERS (2008) APSP Chairman of the Board Gene Fields APSP Chairman-Elect Terry Brown APSP Secretary-Treasurer Charlie Schobel APSP Past Chairman Penny Johnson AQ EDITORIAL STAFF APSP President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weber APSP Director of Public Affairs and Industry Promotion Lauren Stack AQ Managing Editor Ken Suzuki AQ Associate Editor Jeanette Smith AQ Contributors Helen Bloch Carvin DiGiovanni Carolina Olivieri Michael Reed Nina Schwartz AQ EDITORIAL ADVISORS Dick Wolfe, Gibbs & Soell Christina Cozzi, Gibbs & Soell

Published by Naylor, LLC 5950 Northwest 1st Place Gainesville, FL 32607 800.369.6220, 352.332.1252 352.331.3525 (fax) www.naylor.com Publisher John Kilchenstein Editor Leslee Masters Project Manager Yoruba Haney Publication Director SaraCatherine Sedberry Sales Manager Scott Groves Advertising Sales Bobby Bell, Kim Glover, Aericka Henderson, Mary Johnston, Pat Johnston, Cheryl Miller, John O’Neil, Gina Sinnett, Paul Woods Marketing Lauren Williams Layout & Design Catharine Snell Advertising Art Christina O’Connor AQ (APSP Quarterly) is published four times a year for The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. Copyright ©2008 by The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. All rights reserved and all commercial use of the contents prohibited except if expressly authorized in writing by the association. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent official positions or policies of APSP. Published September 2008/APS-Q0308/6816

THE THEME OF this issue, determination, reflects APSP’s commitment to our long-term

vision of being an essential partner to all businesses and professionals involved and associated with the global aquatic industry. Critical to this vision is APSP’s commitment to the professionalism of our members, and to communicating to the consuming public the value of working with APSP members. Your Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are determined to advance the professionalism of our industry through a number of important initiatives, including: the APSP Career Institute; ANSI/APSP standards; safety initiatives such as the newly launched annual Pool and Spa Safety Week, and our own membership standards, the APSP Code of Ethics. The Career Institute is a determined effort on the part of the Board of Directors to advance professionalism in our industry. Continuing education and certification are the key ingredients toward developing a higher level of professionalism among our members and the industry. Read about our programs carefully designed to improve skills and technical abilities, as well as enhance leadership and customer service. The ANSI/APSP standards are a determined effort to promote best practices. These consensus standards demonstrate the industry’s commitment by providing valuable resources of knowledge and guidelines that not only protect customers, but also minimize risk for your company. Our efforts to promote these standards will enhance the industry’s professionalism. In these challenging times, most leading companies, including APSP, have evaluated priorities. This past year, we have studied our organization’s structure, programs, and methods of delivery. Our staff has been reorganized to be more nimble to industry demands that require our attention and resources. We seek most of all to make the APSP brand synonymous with professionalism – to you, our valued members, the greater industry, and, most importantly, the public. Implementing and enforcing the newly-revised APSP Code of Ethics will bind us all to a higher standard of professionalism, one which consumers value. Be determined to read it (it’s available from memberservices at APSP.org) and let us know if we’ve hit the mark! Best regards, Bill Weber President and CEO The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals bweber@APSP.org

This past year, we have studied our organization’s structure, programs, and methods of delivery. Our staff has been reorganized to be more nimble to industry demands that require our attention and resources. FALL 2008 | 7


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Best Practices

I

Can

Boost Market Share

With a newly-designed showroom, the goal at Pete Alewine Pool Co. Inc. is to exceed customer expectations.

B Y M A R Y LO U J AY

N TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, pool and spa companies look for better ways to retain current customers and attract new

ones. Examining their customer service practices in light of the

industry’s best practices is a good place to start.

Steve Gorlin of Gorlin Pools and Spas, a service company in Lakehurst, New Jersey, believes that training and communication are the drivers of best practices. His employees begin each day with a halfhour huddle during which Gorlin communicates his knowledge and his expectations to them. FALL 2008 | 9


“I try to show them how I would respond to certain circumstances so that they can learn the culture of the company from the person who started the company,” Gorlin says. “The more you can do that, the more passionate you are about that, the more consistent and persistent you are in doing that, the more educated your employees are going to be about the culture and the more comfortable they will be in making decisions.” Having that knowledge empowers employees to respond to clients’ needs immediately. Best practices also involve frequent communication with clients and being predictable so they know what to expect, Gorlin says. That means

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Creating the right atmosphere includes paying attention to some of the overlooked basics of customer service. Employees need to display good manners, engage customers when they come in, and pay attention to them without getting distracted. calling customers immediately if you can’t keep an appointment and letting them know when they can expect you. Clients need to know that you are looking out for their interests, he continues. If Gorlin’s crews see an additional problem when they’re on

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“The showroom needs to be spotless every day,” says Lynda Sisk, vice president of Hot Springs Spas of Santa Cruz.

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a job site, they call the client before they leave to alert them. They also perform safety checks at every job site, giving the customer a copy of their fi ndings. The company also sends a follow-up letter. Best practices start at the top, says Gorlin, himself highly trained by APSP as a CSP Certified Service Professional® and CBP Certified Building Professional®. “If you believe that over-communication and setting clear expectations and training are part of your culture, if you don’t let anyone dissuade you from your belief, and if you go through it all with your energy and your enthusiasm, you’ll see a change in your employees and you’ll see a change in your clients.”

Enhancing the Customer Experience Brett Sitton, chief operations officer at Pete Alewine Pool Co. Inc., a pool construction company in Athens, Georgia, experiences that top-down emphasis on customer service every day. “Owners Pete and Toni Alewine are the heart of the entire company. They set the standard, and they set the bar to a level that’s over and above what anybody would expect,” Sitton says. The company’s recently redesigned showroom demonstrates that desire to exceed expectations. Its updated color scheme, as well as a revamped sales area that looks like a summer kitchen, combine to appeal especially to

Best Sales Practices: Moving B In 2006, as part of the Hot Tub Industry Growth Initiative, the Harrison Group, a strategic marketing and consulting firm, conducted research on barriers to hot tub purchasing. It found a need for significant improvement in both the sales and service experience. “The highest levels of satisfaction were in terms of the variety of features and product selection offered, but then there was a significant drop-off from those areas when it came to how helpful and knowledgeable the sales associates are,” says Case Braskamp, senior vice president at the Harrison Group. Only three in 10 people were satisfied with the helpfulness of the sales associate; only 25 percent were satisfied with installation and delivery. Three in 10 people cited maintenance issues as a barrier to owning a hot tub. Braskamp says that salespeople make a mistake when they focus on features. “That’s the piece of information that people already have,” he says. “What they don’t have

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g Beyond Features as good a grasp on is what it’s really going to cost to install, how much it will cost to maintain in terms of chemicals and treating the water, and what happens if it breaks. It’s those kinds of issues that they want to hear about. “Salespeople need to create the questions to get to know consumers a little bit more rather than jumping in and explaining that this model has a cool stereo or more jets than our competitors’ model,” says Braskamp. “They need to understand what the prospects’ motivations are. Then they can explain the features in the context of what they’re seeking.”

Three in 10 people cited maintenance issues as a barrier to owning a hot tub.

customers of the Gen X (born 1965-1979) and Gen Y (born 1980-1994) generations. “It gives customers the idea that they’re walking into our backyard. It’s an environment, an experience,” says Sitton. That experience is enhanced when the store’s hostess, Deborah, greets them and serves Starbucks coffee, Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, and popcorn. “In sales, half of your battle is in the first 10 minutes, when you have to gain folks’ trust and get them to relax,” Sitton continues. Having a hostess also relieves the pressure on the sales staff, who can concentrate on their current customers because they know that people who have come into the store are being taken care of. “This has been an investment, and it has cost us some money, but we’re seeing some rewards,” Sitton continues. “We’re gaining market share in a slack market, so we know that we’re doing something right.”

Pro-active Service Best practices involve making your company invaluable to customers, says Howard Weiss, owner of Contemporary Watercrafters, a retail and pool service company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “People

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need to be able to depend on you and know that you’re going to service them better than anyone else.”

Best practices are the core lessons about how to be a good, customer-service-oriented business. If you don’t practice them every day, you won’t stay in business – no matter what the market is doing out there.

Weiss maintains a database of every customer’s pool with information about their equipment and their water chemistry – even digital pictures of the pool and equipment. When customers call for service, they get a return phone call the same day. “Customers shouldn’t be waiting three days for a return phone call, even in the busiest times,” he says. But customers also get the truth about how soon they can expect a crew. “Our industry is very bad about over-promising and under-delivering,” Weiss says. Raising unrealistic expectations leads to customer dissatisfaction. Weiss takes a pro-active approach for his repeat customers, calling them in the winter to schedule pool openings in the spring. “They are scheduled before the rush comes, and we get to schedule calls in a tighter geographic area, so we’re not driving all over the place,” he explains. Weiss also emphasizes employee education, teaching classes for the APSP Mid-Atlantic Chapter – including APSP TECH I and APSP TECH II courses – at his facility during the winter. “It costs money to maintain staff levels when we’re slow, but we look at it as an investment in our people,” Weiss says. “We’ve been able to take our entry-level people and train them over a two-year period to be industry professionals. We’ve created industry professionals instead of having our employees learn it on their own. This has given us the ability to expand our service department from four service trucks to 10.”

Going Back to the Basics Lynda Sisk, vice president of Hot Springs Spas of Santa Cruz and San Jose, a hot tub dealer company in California, says that giving employees training helps create a culture where they are happy working for you. 14 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY

“That helps generate the atmosphere and the environment where customers are happy that they have become part of your business,” she says. Creating the right atmosphere includes paying attention to some of the overlooked basics of customer service, she says. Employees need to display good manners, engage customers when they come in, and pay attention to them without getting distracted. “The showroom needs to be spotless every day,” Sisk continues. “That’s the first thing the customer experiences and that’s now part of their knowledge about what your products are. You need to make sure that your showroom looks good, smells good, and is organized.” To help employees get a better idea of the environment and experience that Hot Springs Spas is trying to create, Sisk sometimes sends them out during slow periods to check out the ambiance of stores that sell luxury items like jewelry or upscale cars. Best practices should focus on discovering what your customer really wants, Sisk says. “We are in the problem-solving business – that’s what our industry is all about. In our store, we try to be very prepared during the sales process. We ask a lot of questions about their site and about any possible difficulties. We also work with contractors, such as electricians, so that we always can refer our customers to them. It gives customers a level of confidence.” Good follow-up is another best practice. Within a week after the company installs a spa, the sales person calls the customer, and then Sisk and her partner send a thank-you letter. The customer receives a happy-anniversary letter and discount coupon on the anniversary of their purchase, and another letter when their warranty is due to expire. Twice a year, Hot Springs Spas mails a newsletter to all customers with service tips and coupons, as well as occasional email blasts. While best customer service practices can give a company an edge in a difficult economy, Sisk says they should be part of a company’s everyday philosophy. “Best practices are the core lessons about how to be a good, customerservice-oriented business. If you don’t practice them every day, you won’t stay in business – no matter what the market is doing out there.” AQ


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Making Connections

B Y M I C H A E L F I C K ES

Call it leading by example or modeling the way – but this is how effective leadership creates a winning culture. EADERSHIP HAS MANY DEFINITIONS. To James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, leadership is a combination of five learnable concepts: inspiring a shared vision; challenging the way things are always done; enabling others to act; encouraging others to act passionately; and modeling the way.

Brian Quint

The last concept, modeling the way, may be the most important on the Kouzes and Posner list. Modeling the way or leading by example is a large idea that encompasses the other four. To inspire a shared vision, for example, a leader must fi rst create a vision that inspires him or F A L L 2 0 0 8 | 17


her. The act of creation, if shared, provides an example. The same is true of challenging existing processes, thereby enabling some people to act and encouraging others to consider doing so. All are activities that require the creation of examples that others might follow. “My style is to work alongside people and to demonstrate,” says Brian Quint, a principal with Aqua Quip, a pool and hot tub dealership in Seattle, Washington. “There are many theories of leadership, but for me, it is lead by example.” Leading by example – or modeling the way – ranks among the most powerful leadership techniques for two reasons. First, the most compelling models communicate values that employees, as well as leaders, can rely on when struggling with decisions. Second, some leadership examples take on the character of myth and endure as company lore. These myths form a cultural fabric and make the company larger than its founders and managers – make it capable of continuing by itself, having institutionalized the capacity to pass company values along to new generations of employees.

Brian Quint looks back to the examples of his company’s founders – his grandfather and his father. His grandfather started the business as a lumberyard. In 1959, Quint’s father added a line of pool chemicals. Over the years, the business has grown to include 10 retail stores located throughout the Seattle-Tacoma area of western Washington State – the Puget Sound market, if you know the region. Today, Aqua Quip stores sell full lines of pool equipment, spas, and spa equipment, along with barbeques, fireplaces, chemicals, and accessories for residential pool and hot tub owners. The company also has divisions that build pools and provide maintenance and repair services. Leading by example – or modeling the way for others by hewing to core values – has been a key to the company’s success over the years, according to Quint. “We have built our leadership model around stories that illustrate core company values,” he says. When you walk into Quint’s office, the first thing you notice is a large wall display with photographs of his mother and father, along with numerous plaques honoring co-workers for 10, 15, and 20 years of service.

“My father’s values centered around family, integrity, and fi nancial responsibility,” Quint says. “And my values come directly from the examples he set for me. He taught me to work hard. He taught me to treat employees, customers, and business partners like family. He also taught me to treat co-workers and customers with respect by selling quality products, honoring those products with service that ensured that customers got as much as they could out of them. He taught me to treat suppliers as business partners and not just vendors.” Quint goes on to say that those values originated in examples set long ago. “I remember when I was a boy, my father worked hard in the business six days a week,” he says. “On Sunday afternoon, we would get in the car as a family and drive around ‘pool spotting.’” “During those years, we were starting our retail business, and we needed to know who owned pools so we could solicit their business,” Quint explains. “Our area of the country is cool, and most people with pools heat them. In those days, we could fi nd pool owners by driving around and looking for the heater stacks sticking through the roofs of outbuildings.

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When we found a stack, we would drive around front, write down the address, and add the house to our mailing list.” “It was fun, and it was work,” Quint points out. “I still look at work the same way today.”

Brian Quint says his values came from his father, who taught him to treat employees, customers, and business partners like family.

Modeling the way with examples creates a kind of perpetualmotion machine. When leadership examples create company values, those company values in turn create new leadership legends. Several years ago, for instance, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a product recall for dive sticks – fiveinch plastic bars weighted at one end. Swimmers would toss the

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Quint believes in leading by example.

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sticks into the pool. The sticks would sink to the bottom and come to rest upright. The game was to dive and come up with as many dive sticks as you could. The problem was that swimmers were getting impaled on the sticks. “When I received notification of the recall, I called my sales manager into the office and asked for his advice on how to handle this,” Quint recalls. “We had a lot of these things in stock. Should we stop ordering them and sell what we had on hand? Or should we stop selling them altogether?” The sales manager replied that if family is a core company value, and if the company wanted to treat customers as part of its family, how could it continue to sell potentially dangerous products to family members? “I got his point right away,” Quint says. “He was right. We returned the dive sticks to the distributor that day.” Today, that story, now a legend, ranks as a key example of how core values can help to make the right decisions at Aqua Quip. Another story told by people at Aqua Quip goes to the value of integrity. When Quint’s father first joined his own father in the lumberyard business, the two attended

regular meetings held by the Washington Lumberman’s Association, whose members included lumberyard owners and suppliers. After the first meeting, Quint’s father said, “Dad, everyone there knew your name and treated you with great respect.” The elder Quint explained, “The reason they know my name is because I pay my bills when they are due. And because of that, they treat me with respect.” “We bring that story 60 years forward with the moral that it is important to honor your commitments with integrity,” says the youngest Quint. “We have always paid our suppliers when their bills were due, and we believe that it is a way of treating them with respect. That earns us support that they might not give someone else.”

Benefits of Modeling the Way Quint lists three benefits of his lead-byexample and value-centered management style: low employee turnover, trust and collaboration, and the institutionalization of values as leadership tools. “People want to be part of something like a company with values,” Quint says. “People

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identify with values. Values lead people to stick around.” Quint estimates that out of 85 Aqua Quip employees, more than 10 percent have worked there for more than 10 years. Quite a few of those employees are approaching their 20-year anniversaries. In the last three months, says Quint, he has written congratulatory notes to employees who reached employment anniversaries of 18, 19 and 32 years. Seeing the same faces on the job every day – a byproduct of longevity – produces the kind of trust necessary for doing sensitive jobs. When the company has challenges, the owners don’t get together in a room behind closed doors and arbitrarily make decisions that would detrimentally affect the lives of all the people that work there, Quint says. “We’ve been dealing with escalating fuel costs for five years, starting with the appointment of a task force of 10 people – none of them owners,” Quint says. “We supplied them with all of the necessary fi nancial and maintenance data and asked them to study the problem and make recommendations.” The task force has been managing the company’s truck fleet policies ever since. They have made a number of recommendations that have become policy. For example, the task force modified the rules about taking pool cleaning trucks home at night and set up drop-off points at company facilities closest to homes of the drivers. Owners who trust the people who work for their company have a tremendous advantage over those who don’t. “It means we can push tough decisions down into the organization,” Quint says, “so that everyone affected feels involved in making decisions rather than being instructed about decisions through a memo from an owner.” What have leading by example and modeling the way done for profitability? “Profits have grown by 20 to 30 percent,” Quint says. “That isn’t a dramatic increase. What is dramatic is the sustainability of profits. Ten years ago, we didn’t talk about sales and profits companywide. Today we do. That’s part of making people feel connected to the organization – like more than just an employee.” That’s what happens when leadership examples or models create values that defi ne how a company does business. People who like those values will join the company, stay, and participate in communicating those values to future generations of employees. And the company becomes a self-sustaining organism. AQ


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in Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. -Charles Caleb Colton HILE THIS PHRASE is often said in a cynical tone to represent someone trying to gain attention by copying another’s idea, imitation of a business practice in industries such as ours often is not only flattering, but necessary for being successful. In the previous edition of AQ, we focused on the primary issues facing the pool, spa, and hot tub industry as expressed through a survey of industry professionals. You may recall that we found – to nobody’s surprise – that the economy was by far the most consistent problem for most of our respondents. We’ll now look at some of the ways that firms around the country are dealing with the various issues they are facing. The results for the issues discussed are provided here. Hopefully, some of the ideas presented by industry peers may assist other firms in fi nding new ways of dealing with these issues.

Regulatory Issues Regulations are different all across the country. In some jurisdictions, there are numerous regulations that must be followed and in others very few. Of the nearly 70% of builders and retailers that stated they saw little to no effect on their business by regulatory issues, the key for these firms was education. By educating themselves on what the local regulations are 2 2 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY

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in each of the areas they do business in, they are able to position their companies for success. These firms understand the current regulatory environment, but they are also able to follow and adapt to any new regulations that are enacted. This is done through participating in events such as zoning hearings, association meetings, and county/city commission meetings. Companies that are able to see changes coming are much more prepared to decide how to adapt their business.

Competitive Issues For firms facing little effect from competition, the two key practices revealed by the study were a strong emphasis on customer service and staying away from “price wars.” Companies that focused on strong customer service continually trained their employees, conducted customer feedback programs, and maintained a continued relationship with their previous clients – which often led to referral business. Once these firms started to see referral business grow, along with their reputation for great service and quality of the product, they became a more competitive firm. Other successful companies held firm on their pricing, whether at retail or for construction. While some changes are made due to increased supplier costs or related factors, the study found that successful fi rms never engaged in local price battles. In the end, these businesses learned that by keeping their margins at acceptable levels and not trying to simply increase volume through cheaper prices, consumers found them more reliable and maintained loyalty. This speaks greatly to the expression “quality over quantity.”

Environmental Issues Few firms are presently being affected by environmental issues. For those dealing with such problems as water shortages and wastewater management issues, the keys to success are – once again – education and involvement. Businesses dealing with environmental issues have found


that staying informed prepares them for how to adapt their business practices. These firms are able to understand from news reports and governmental mandates just how and when their business will be affected. This allows them to communicate with their suppliers in enough time to make any necessary changes. In particular, getting involved with advocacy groups such as APSP means they can approach governmental bodies as one unified voice to combat potentially harmful regulations. One recent example is how builders and related firms in Georgia banded together to help educate legislators about the potential economic impact of contemplated new legislation to curb water use. In the end, the participation and proactive actions by these fi rms helped many businesses survive.

Economic Issues We know that the economy has a significant impact on the pool, spa, and hot tub industry. Yet, roughly a third of the companies we spoke with were seeing little to no effect from the economy. With the economy staying as a lead topic in nearly every newscast, what then, is allowing these companies to weather the storm? Here the best practices

found are split more distinctly between retailers and builders than with any other issue. For retailers, their continued success has been focusing on pools that are already in the ground. We have found no indication that current pool owners are not opening their pools due to current economic conditions. In fact, additional P.K. Data research has found that pool usage by private homeowners has increased over the last few years as the economy has worsened and people have devoted more time at home. Thus, increased swimming leads to more chemical usage, water testing, and demand for other products and services – all of which benefit the retailer. So, while retailers are not seeing many new customers, they are able to rely on heavier traffic from current customers. Couple this with a plan toward great customer service, and a dealer has all the right tools for a successful business plan. Builders that are succeeding in the current economic environment are generally taking one of two paths. Some builders have chosen to become “niche” players and focus on certain demographics, primarily high-end homes and high-income families. These builders work to offer the highest-quality pools and accessories, with dedication to every detail from lighting to water quality. In a similar vein, other builders are staying successful simply by limiting the number of projects they accept. We estimate that the majority of the builders in the United States typically plan for their fi rm to construct less than 100 pools a year. Many builders are content with constructing even less than 20. By doing so, they are able to manage their projects more efficiently, better predict employment needs, and keep their costs manageable. In fact, some of the builders we heard from stated that by focusing on just a certain number of pools each year, they have increased their ability to grow larger if they wish – as other builders have fallen out of the market due to overextending themselves. In a period of economic uncertainty, maintaining a successful status quo is certainly an ideal practice, especially in terms of keeping people employed. Perhaps for many readers, these strategies do not seem new or unique or “outside the box” in terms of design, but that may be the point. What we have heard from these companies are not ideas that would necessarily take a huge change in the current way a company does business, nor would they require a lot in terms of expenditure of resources. In these uncertain times, it may just be the best business practice of all to rely on tried and true strategies from Business 101. When the economy recovers, and the industry renews its growth, companies can get experimental again and compete in a variety of creative ways. But in the here and now, why not go simply with strategies that have been proven successful for years – even if they weren’t your ideas in the first place? AQ Loren Brown is the pool and hot tub practice director of P.K. Data, an Atlantabased market research fi rm specializing in trade and consumer surveys, competitive assessments, industry reviews and merger and acquisition advice. P.K. Data has served clients in the swimming pool and hot tub industry since 1992. The fi rm also provides market research counsel to The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. P.K. Data has compiled more than 300 studies covering all aspects of the industry, including consumer activity, market development, and industry statistics. FALL 2008 | 23


Achieve great goals for your company. APSP can help. APSP membership can give you the competitive edge you need to achieve your goals. Being an APSP member is tangible evidence of your commitment to excellence. Whether you are a distributor, manufacturer, agent, builder, retailer, or service company, join today to become part of the vibrant community of APSP members and enjoy the many benefits of membership.

Industry promotion and market insights Marketing can be a challenge, so APSP helps consumers find services like yours through APSP.org, HotTubLiving.com, PoolPeopleUSA.com, and SplashZoneUSA.com. You’ll reap the benefits of APSP advertising that shows the value of buying from an APSP member. And, APSP industry research helps you learn what your customers are thinking so you can meet their needs.

Improve your bottom line Get essential business products and services that will help you save time, reduce expenses, mitigate risk, and maximize profits. APSP membership gives you access to top-quality insurance coverage and business services that will suit your needs.

Join today! Learn more about APSP membership. Get a free DVD about membership benefits by filling out the coupon below and faxing it to 703.549.0493. Or contact us at 703.838.0083, ext. 301, or memberservices@APSP.org. Visit APSP.org to join today!

I’m interested! Please send me my free membership DVD.

Safety standards and advocacy Safeguarding the public and looking out for your interests are all in a day’s work for APSP. The ANSI/APSP standards help you protect your customers, minimize your risk, and gain a competitive edge. And APSP is your effective voice shaping the policies critical to your business on the federal, state, and local levels.

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AQ2008091011

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Building Pools in Hillside Areas B Y R O N L AC H E R, P.E., C B P, P O O L E N G I N E E R I N G, I N C.

S PART OF our specialized practice in structural engineering for swimming pools, we are often asked to investigate all sorts of pool-related problems to determine the cause. Over the years, we’ve learned many valuable lessons from these investigations, particularly on the topic of hillside pool construction and the construction of pools near descending slopes.

Pools experience serious structural distress most frequently when they are located near descending slopes. The natural occurrence of “slope creep” causes the majority of these failures. Hillside areas are a popular location for swimming pools and that, combined with the frequency of hillside pools experiencing distress, makes slope creep the single most common cause of structural distress resulting in costly repair and mitigation. The typical pool structure is a thin-walled concrete shell designed to resist the pressure of the surrounding soil, much like a retaining wall. A properly-designed retaining wall must be built upon a foundation or footing that is supported by firm soil. In the case of a swimming pool, the floor of the pool serves as the foundation or footing.

Cracking from differential settlement. FALL 2008 | 25


But a pool varies from a retaining wall in that it often holds 200,000 pounds or more of water in addition to the pressure from surrounding soil. If the soil under a portion of the pool doesn’t support the pool, that area of the pool will settle. When a portion of the pool settles while the remainder of the pool is properly supported and does not settle, it is called differential settlement – which frequently results in cracking of the pool. A number of soil and geotechnical issues will result in differential settlement. By far, the greatest percentage of differential settlement-related structural distress is caused by slope creep, which can occur when pools are located near descending slopes.

Slope Creep When clay soil becomes wet, it tends to swell like a sponge – this is called “expansive soil.” And when expansive soil absorbs moisture and swells, it moves. On level ground, it heaves or moves upward. If the ground is sloped, expansive soil moves upward and sideways. When expansive soil dries, it shrinks back almost to its original size. When descending slopes containing expansive soil experience repeated cycles of wetting and drying over time, that and the force of gravity results in an ongoing movement or creep of soil down the face of the slope. Creep is slow, nearly continuous, and has a progressive effect that can reach a downhill rate of 1/4 inch per year. Soil moisture content tends to become more uniform with increasing depth; that is, without wetting and drying cycles. The weight of overlying soil also tends to reduce the amount of volume change that can occur. Therefore, the deeper the soil, the less

Slope creep damage.

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Pool rotates and becomes out of level. Note water line at tile on left slope side versus right side.

problematic the soil tends to be from expansive soil and slope creep. Most soil engineers believe that slope creep affects the upper or outer five to

When a portion of the pool settles while the remainder of the pool is properly supported and does not settle, it is called differential settlement – which frequently results in cracking of the pool.

Side property line walls will crack usually 10 to 15 ft. from the slope.

eight feet of soil on a slope. The typical manufactured slope today is graded at one foot vertical to two feet horizontal. This means that slope creep can affect structures and other improvements 10 to 16 feet or more from the top of a descending slope. Slope creep can be particularly brutal to swimming pools and associated improvements. If the soil under a portion of the pool doesn’t support the pool, that area of the pool will settle and crack. If a pool is located in an area containing expansive soil and within the zone subject to slope creep, the portion of the pool within the

by Gecko

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creep zone will lose support and settle, rotate, and crack as a result of slope creep. Once the cracking begins, water leaking from the pool typically exacerbates the problem. ®

Resisting the Effects of Slope Creep

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The International Building Code requires that swimming pools constructed on or near descending slopes be built differently than pools built in level yards. These building code provisions, in Section 1805.3, have two very specific but differing requirements for pools built near descending slopes. Both of these requirements must be met. The first is 1805.3.3 Pools. That portion of the pool wall within a horizontal distance of seven feet from the top of the slope shall be capable of supporting the water in the pool without soil support. A common term used in the pool industry, “freestanding wall,” is synonymous with the code language “capable of supporting the water in the pool without soil support.” Although 7 ft. is the code-required distance from the top of the slope where freestanding walls are required, it is highly recommended

that a greater distance such as 10 ft. or more be utilized in practice. The second is 1805.3.2 - footing setback from descending slope surface. Footings on or adjacent to slope surfaces shall be founded in firm material with an embedment and setback from the slope surface sufficient to provide vertical and lateral support for the footing without detrimental settlement. The foundation of the pool (the bottom) must be set back from the face of the slope a distance equal to the total height of the slope divided by six. The International Building Code does not specify a minimum foundation setback. However, experience has proven that a minimum of 15 ft. or greater is recommended. Don’t overlook the requirement that the footing (pool bottom) must be founded in firm material sufficient to provide vertical and lateral support. How can you be assured that this is the case? We recommend that pool contractors building pools on or near a descending slope obtain the services of a geotechnical engineer to address the all-important geotechnical issues. This becomes even more critical when the proposed pool site is in an area where the original

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site grading was not supervised and certified by a professional geotechnical consultant.

Increasing the Foundation Setback If a swimming pool is proposed near a descending slope, the risk of building in that location can be reduced by increasing the foundation setback. The foundation setback can be increased either by deepening the pool or by the construction of a footing or key under the outermost wall of the pool near the descending slope. If the descending slope is graded at two feet horizontal to one foot vertical, each added foot of pool depth or footing depth will add two feet to the foundation setback. If the descending slope is graded at 1.5 feet horizontal to one foot vertical, each added foot of pool depth or footing depth will add 1.5 feet to the foundation setback.

Other Precautions Repeated cycles of wetting and drying will result in creep of soil down the face of the slope. Therefore, it is important to maintain moisture content of the soils on and adjacent to the slope as relatively constant as possible. Surface and subsurface drainage must be carefully installed and maintained to minimize

ponding of water near the top of the descending slope. Irrigation systems should be adjusted to provide the minimum water needed to sustain landscaping and prevent excessive drying of the soils. Both over watering and under watering of landscape areas must be avoided. Landscaping must not obstruct the drainage pattern or cause surface water to collect near the descending slope. Elevated planters adjacent to the slope should be lined with a membrane to minimize the penetration of water into the adjacent sub-grade. Gophers and other rodents should be removed as their burrows provide easy entry of surface water that will saturate the slope. Some of the most stunning locations for swimming pools are in hillside areas. By being fully informed of the critical issues we’ve discussed and implementing the requirements and recommendations into the planning and construction, swimming pools can be safely built in hillside locations. AQ Ron Lacher is a CBP Certified Building Professional® and a member of the APSP Builders Council. ©Copyright 2008 by Pool Engineering, Inc, 1201 N. Tustin Ave., Anaheim, CA 92807.

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APSP Career Institute Performance Tool:

The 90-Minute BY MICHAEL REED

Job Analysis O YOU WANT to significantly improve your organization’s effectiveness? One of the fundamental tools necessary for performance improvement is the job analysis. A job analysis is the first step to improving individual, team or organizational improvement because it lets people know what

they need to do and how to be successful. Before you create another job description or plan your next employee review, you should conduct a job analysis to help clarify what top performance looks like in your business. To be effective, the job analysis must account for the realities of the modern workplace. In today’s workplace, it’s not enough to know what tasks need to be accomplished; leaders need to defi ne the underlying knowledge or skill set that will help ensure success. Call it a job description on steroids – but a clear job analysis gives context to a job, and clarifies performance expectations right from the beginning. Today’s jobs have broadened compared to the traditional workplace where jobs were broken down into highly specialized and often narrow activities. We’re simply doing more varied things each and every day. Work in today’s organization is more challenging, more complex, and more knowledge-based than in the past. Therefore, it requires a more sophisticated approach to hiring and performance management. To achieve top results, employers and employees must know the specific attributes that defi ne each job’s success.

team should take each item from the brainstorm session and organize the data into three areas: Knowledge, which represents mastery of specific information – for example, our new service technician needs to be able to describe the importance of water sanitization; Skills, which represent the application of knowledge in practiced techniques – in our example, that same technician will need to use test strips to test water quality; and Abilities, which describe the mental or physical requirements for the job. Once our technician has analyzed the test results, he or she will need to create an action plan for bringing the water into compliance with acceptable water quality standards. As a matter of fact, each job is made up of many of these little KSAs – the key is to organize what a job does into action items. See the sidebar for some examples of how to put action into your analysis. Next, comes the fun part…

Step One: Get Your Act Together

Step Three: Use the KSAs to Create a Success Profile

Gather a team of two or three others who will help do the job analysis. You’ll need people who know the job intimately and who can quickly and easily identify all the duties and responsibilities of the position. The team will brainstorm the details about what the individual actually does, the conditions in which the work is done, the equipment that is operated, the resources available from the company and the attributes that are required for success in the position. The great thing about this discussion is asking your team why things get done a certain way. The first step of the process is to figure out what gets done, next you’ll figure out how.

The team should examine each of the KSAs and discuss the characteristics between successful and unsuccessful job performance. Creating the success profile is often the most exciting part of the exercise. The actual dialogue that helps to defi ne outstanding individual success helps to build a performance-focused culture throughout the organization. This process helps the organization see what success looks like. The team should describe the characteristics of high performers and low performers, with the ultimate goal to identify the specific characteristics that are shared by top performers. This is where your team can identify the business practices and organizational culture that supports or detracts from the success of your employees. During these discussions, be open to new ideas for recognizing top performers.

Step Two: Translate the Brainstorm Data Into KSAs The KSAs are not some secret governmental agency – it’s simply an acronym for each of the key elements used to actually get work done. The 3 0 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY


Know Your KSAs When you’re being specific, these words can make defining a job a little easier. There are lots of words out there – these will just help you get started. Knowledge: what you learn recall, identify, recognize, acquire, distinguish Skills: what you learn to do Apply, sequence, carry out, solve, prepare, operate, generalize, plan, repair, explain Abilities: mental or physical characteristics Analyze, estimate, compare, observe, detect, classify, discover, discriminate, identify, explore, distinguish, catalog, investigate, break down, recognize, determine, evaluate, verify, assess, test, judge

Step Four: Use the Success Profile to be Specific The more specific your attributes are for a job specification, the more valuable they will be for selecting candidates and evaluating performance. How often have we used the phrase “good communication skills” in job descriptions and in the job classifieds? Because the phrase lacks specificity, it does not help select candidates, nor does it help employees understand performance expectations. Do we mean written or oral communication skills? We can refi ne our communication example to select those specific skills we need for the job. Written ■ Memos and Letters ■ Reports, Executive Summaries

Oral ■ One-on-One ■ Group Presentations

■ Magazine Articles

■ Persuading or Selling

■ Writing Technical Manuals

■ Negotiation Skills

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Step Five: Make the Analysis Pay Off Your team is exhausted; you’ve taken them on a journey to identify how and why a job gets done right and in the process you’ve created a profile for success that everyone can achieve. Based on your job analysis, you can now create tools to measure performance, including the interview questions that can help you recruit the next company star. The fi nal step to getting the most out of your new job analysis is to build on your new performance-focused business culture. You must communicate your new performance standards and create rewards and recognition around successful performance. If your hard work sits on a shelf and collects dust, it won’t have any lasting impact. However, if all the talk about how to be successful works its way into the language of your business, you’ll inspire people to exceed the expectations outlined by the job analysis team – and you’ll be on your way to engaging your employees on a whole new level. The APSP Career Institute is here to help improve performance! Download step-by-step instructions on how to conduct a job analysis, along with handouts and examples to get you started. Go to APSP.org and click the Career Institute link. You’ll fi nd resources to help you manage your most important asset, your people! AQ APSP Director of Professional Development Michael Reed works with key volunteers to implement APSP’s new education and certification agenda, the Career Institute. He also serves as staff liaison to the Builders Education Committee, the Service Education Committee, the Hot Tub Service Task Force, and the Manufacturers Agents Council. His email address is mreed@APSP.org. F A L L 2 0 0 8 | 31 362485_Advantis.indd 1

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NSF Certification Provides Peace of Mind for Recreational Water Industry Professionals Pools and spas are known for providing hours of pleasure, for children and adults alike. But safety is a critical issue for pool and spa operation, particularly with suction fittings and main drains. NSF International, known as The Public Health and Safety Company™, has been working with the Pool and Spa industry for over 40 years, having introduced NSF/ANSI Standard 50 back in the 1960s. Today, the NSF certification mark is known and recognized by the industry and regulators alike across North America and in many countries worldwide. ASME Standard A112.19.8 for Main Drains – New Mandatory Federal Requirements In addition to NSF/ANSI Standard 50, NSF provides full testing, auditing and product certification services to assure ongoing conformity assessment to its NSF/ ANSI Standard 50, as well as many ASME, ASTM and UL Standards. In late 2007, The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007 was signed into law. The legislation imposes mandatory federal requirements for suction entrapment avoidance, with requirements including testing and certification to ASME Standard A112.19.8 for main drains, with a compliance date of December 20, 2008. NSF has full in-house capacity to perform testing and certification to ASME Standard A112.19.8, to provide evidence of compliance with the new legislation. When NSF International evaluates and tests main drains to the ASME Standard, we consider the following variables to ensure the products comply with these requirements: • • • • •

Physical Evaluation - confirmation of dimensional engineering drawings vs. production sample Installation Instructions - for wall or floor Installation Hardware - use of collars and adapters Construction Materials and Coatings Sump Design - test with manufacturer specified sump or with generic field sump as noted in the standard

NSF/ANSI Standard 50 NSF International began working with recreational water equipment manufacturers, designers, regulators and industry experts more than 40 years ago in an effort to make pools and spas safer. The work culminated with the creation of NSF/ANSI Standard 50, written by a committee of industry experts equally comprised of manufacturers, regulators and users. NSF’s Recreational Water Program uses NSF/ANSI Standard 50 and other criteria such as ASME, ASTM and UL standards. Today, NSF/ANSI Standard 50 is a dynamic, continually evolving benchmark. NSF incorporates new products, emerging technologies and new testing criteria to conduct thorough product evaluations. NSF’s Recreational Water Program covers both public and residential applications. It specifies requirements for material health effects, the design and construction of the equipment as well as the performance testing, durability and validation of equipment and components including, but not limited to the following:

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The National Pool (and Spa) Industry Research Center at Cal Poly

THE

REAL STORY

B Y M I TC H B R O O K S

OR MANY OF us in the swimming pool industry, having a state-of-the-art industry research center was an impossible dream…an unreachable goal…a solution that was not in the cards. For many years, segments of the industry would try to work together on their own, experimenting without significant results. There was a sense of frustration and a great deal of finger pointing in all directions. For almost 17 years, segments of the industry were at odds with one another, creating ill will that accomplished nothing. The future was not looking good.

In 2003, the national trade association for pool surface applicators, the National Plasterers Council (NPC), established their fi rst strategic plan, a set of goals that would guide the focus of the organization for the next three to five years. In that plan the NPC made a commitment to help stop the pettiness and work with other associations to fi nd sound solutions to issues dealing with the construction, preservation, and maintenance of swimming pools. In the beginning, the focus would be on fi nding solutions to durability issues of pool surfaces.

Sound Scientific, Unbiased Research To do this, the NPC needed to fi nd a non-biased third party to conduct the research and then raise the necessary funds to pay for it. After a nationwide search of academic and private research entities, the

At the National Pool (and Spa) Industry Research Center at Cal Poly, researchers write protocols based on a call for topics. If approved by the advisory board, they are funded for research. F A L L 2 0 0 8 | 33


three fi nalists included the two U.S. military academies and California Polytechnic State University (“Cal Poly”). Ultimately, Cal Poly was selected for numerous reasons, but foremost because it was considered one of the top material engineering schools in the United States. January 2004 marked the first meeting between the leadership of the NPC, APSP, the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association (IPSSA), and the United Pool Association (UPA) – fully opening the lines of communication, collaboration, and cooperation. NPC offered each of the three associations a seat on the NPC Research Committee and eventually the NPC Technical Advisory Committee. All accepted, and a representative from each of the three associations has been involved with this project since the time of the first protocol. The project’s first year was not complicated or difficult. Four test tanks were built on private land in Modesto, California, for the first protocol. Approximately $150,000 was raised to pay for the project. The researchers and members of Cal Poly’s administration started a discussion about building a research center on the university campus in San Luis Obispo, California. At first, it was dismissed as idle talk, but as the fi rst protocol neared its completion, the talk led to on-site visits to the campus as well as the development of budgets and construction timelines. The NPC agreed to create the National Pool (and Spa) Industry Research Center

(NPIRC), which was constructed in 34 days with more than $1.2 million in donated labor, materials or money contributed by many throughout the pool and spa industry. To help with the fi nances, the NPC formed a public foundation so donations could be tax-deductible instead of a business expense. With the creation of the NPC Research Foundation (NPCRF) in October 2003, a new motivation surfaced – to raise enough money in an endowment so the interest income would fund the research protocols each year. That would mean raising around $3 million. From a small segment of the industry, the foundation raised $450,000 in the first year and $650,000 in the second. Since fundraising began in 2004, more than $1.6 million has been raised so far to fund the research at the NPIRC.

Part of the University In 2006, the NPIRC was made an official department within the College of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cal Poly. As a result, NPIRC has bylaws and an advisory board whose function is to oversee the operation of the research center, set policy, and approve protocols conducted at the center. This advisory board includes people from all segments of the pool and spa industry, including service, builders, plasterers, and manufacturers.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision – the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

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Anyone Can Apply The NPIRC is open to anyone to propose and fund a research program. There is an application and review process. The NPC does not own or control the center, but it does suggest the annual protocol. Currently, APSP and its Hot Tub Council are funding an energy study on current hot tub models for the California Energy Resouces and Development Commission (CEC). A number of hot tub manufacturers are working with the center to test their products this fall.

How the Process Works Each February, the NPIRC puts out a call for research topics. Those ideas are communicated to the researchers and the center’s advisory board. The advisory board then decides what should be researched next, based on the previous protocol and the number of pools available. The researchers write a protocol, which is shared with consultants from across the United States to ensure its soundness. It is then approved by the advisory board, which works with sponsoring organizations to implement the research. The NPC must then ask NPCRF to fund the research. The protocol is monitored by a full-time center manager who reports to the researchers. A normal protocol will run from September to June annually.

What’s New This year, because of many industry requests, the NPC, in collaboration with the NPIRC, will be publishing a condensed, easy-to-read version of each of the protocol conclusions from day one. Researchers tend to write in a way that the typical layperson might fi nd difficult to

• • • • • • • • • •

Point of Sale Follow Up Email Kits Contracts Service Receiving Inventory Reports Customers

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

understand. These condensed documents, which will be available for free to the public, will help the industry see the importance of what has been accomplished and future research needs.

Staying the Course This is a very tough economic season for many in the pool and spa industry. Sacrifices and hard decisions are being made daily just to stay in business. This year we will be asking everyone in the industry to step up to the plate and give something to the NPC Research Foundation. If everyone helps a little, we will continue to stay the course and seek solutions to the many challenges that face our industry. When I look back at the research and see the accomplishments of these subcontractors – a very small part of the industry – I can’t help but remember this saying: “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision – the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” That, in a nutshell, is the real story! For more information, please contact the National Plasterers Council at www.npconline.org or by phone at (941) 766-0634. AQ Mitch Brooks is the CEO of Visioneering Consultants, Inc., an association management company that specializes in the construction trades. No stranger to the pool and spa industry, he has served eight different chapters of APSP in Florida as their chapter executive director since 1997. Brooks currently serves as the executive director of both the National Plasterers Council (NPC) and the NPC Research Foundation (NPCRF).

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Energy Efficiency – a

Win-Win for

You and Your Customers NERGY CONSERVATION IS no longer a feel-good goal; it’s a cash-saving necessity. As global development drives up fuel costs, our customers are not the same as they were two or three years ago. Sure, the faces are the B Y ST E V E R. B A R N ES

same, but like you and me, they feel rising energy costs putting a squeeze on life’s little pleasures. Tap water, anyone?

There are two improvements that can be pursued for everyone’s benefit. First is the opportunity to reduce current electric cost and second is the use of energy-friendly products tailor-made for new projects. Of the more than five million existing residential pools and spas in the United States today, most are equipped with pumps with excessive horsepower reminiscent of muscle cars in the early 1970s, but instead of a gas pedal, these pumps have one speed – full throttle. In the glory days of inexpensive electricity and cheap gas, high horsepower pumps made perfect sense, with power to spare. Hydraulic design didn’t matter that much as the monthly cost of small pipe and undersized filters went unnoticed. Today those muscle pumps are eating our

3 6 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY

customers’ lunches. It is time to replace them, to save energy and money, and to keep your business moving. Reducing the horsepower of each improperly sized filter pump not only saves expensive electricity, it also improves water clarity and reduces noise. Obviously, reducing horsepower means less noise, but many don’t understand that high flow and pressure drives silt through filters, clouding the water. Anyone building commercial pools understands this because these systems are highly engineered. Now it is time to bring this to the residential side of the industry. Properly sizing a filter pump isn’t difficult. Simply figure out total gallons and then pick the pump based on a commercial turnover rate. This will give a residential pool or spa double the recommended filtration. Pool veterans are frequently surprised when reminded that a commercial turnover rate for a 20,000-gallon pool only requires 56 gallons per minute (gpm), and a residential turnover is half that – 28 gpm. Think about the pump on the average pool and you can see we have sold our customers top fuel dragsters when they only needed a fuel-efficient sedan. A point of caution: As professionals know, a small single-speed pump, properly sized for pristine filtration, may not have the horsepower needed to backwash sand and DE filters or to run the high performance options such as therapy jets. This is where multispeed pumps have an advantage. By replacing a 1 1/2-hp singlespeed pump with the


Pergolas

same size two-speed pump, the high speed will continue to provide highend performance the customer expects while the low speed is ideal for money-saving filtration. For maximum flexibility and energy savings, consider variable-speed A BeauƟful Way to Add to Your BoƩom Line pumps. Just like the gas pedal in a car, variable speed provides the correct performance for the work being done at any one time. The high-end horsepower remains for backwashing and high-performance applications, making it easy to dial in the perfect speed to get the desired flow. This saves up to 85 percent over single-speed pumps and, more surprisingly, variable speed saves up to 90 percent over two-speed pumps running at low speed. This is because two-speed motors are least efficient at low speed. Existing opportunities to save energy are everywhere, but let’s look at new projects. What can be done with these? For starters, design for value. Keeping with the auto theme, look around as you drive. Cars and trucks – even base models – are loaded with luxury features. We want to save gas, but that doesn’t mean we have to drive the stripped-down cars of the 1970s. The same is true for homes. Think long-term value, not cheap! Pergola Kits from Backyard America are a great reŇecƟon Start with something as simple as PVC pipe. Fear of cheap competion your business. They are easy to assemble, easy to sell, tion and losing a sale drives many to use small pipe, the least expensive and pergolas are a natural add-on for pools and spas. Call possible. True, small pipe costs less, but then the owner pays dearly each about our new Contractor Program today! month for the life of the project. In the future, it is possible to improve efficiency at pad, but it is impractical to replace the pipe – so those savings are lost forever. With regard to pipe savings, choose valves and fittings that match the larger pipe size whenever possible. Large filters also improve long-term value by reducing system head pressure and providing clearer water as backyardamerica.com water passes more slowly through the media. Larger filters result in lon877.489.8064 ger filter cycles – another way to add value to the overall project. Last are the heaters. These extend the swimming season and provide for a more spontaneous lifestyle. Remember, they can consume a lot of energy, so consider an automatic pool cover whenever the design allows.379228_Backyard.indd 1 4/18/08 1:43:59 PM Heat pumps are a more recent addition to the heater offerings. These are all electric, using air conditioning technology to take heat from the air and put it in the water, creating a unique byproduct: cool air. Recently I was surprised by cold air blowing out of a heat pump, and a proud product manager smiled. He explained that creative pool builders use the poolheating byproduct to cool patios and garages. While mom enjoys the sun, dad enjoys a cool workshop. Now that is adding creative value. For those of you reading this in California, it should sound very familiar because all of it is consistent with California Title 20 and Title 24, energy-efficiency standards that require pools and spas to be designed, built, and inspected based on these principles. California is highly motivated based on costly power supplies, but the rest of us can learn this and implement money-saving ideas now. During tough economic times like these, consider new ideas and challenge the old-school approach – because changes are coming, like 5/13/08 7:53:56 AM it or not. Designing and remodeling for energy efficiency will not380819_Vastec.indd 1 only improve your bottom line, it will save your customers money. Everyone wins! AQ Steve R. Barnes entered the pool industry in 1984 and now works for Pentair Water Pool and Spa. He has invented and designed suction safety fittings and systems. Steve is the chairman of the APSP Technical Committee and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), ASTM (originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials), and APSP suction safety standards writing committees. He is also a professional pyrotechnical operator, producing two televised fireworks displays each year in Tempe, Arizona.

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F A L L 2 0 0 8 | 37


APSP safety

How Do You Score On Safety? B Y H E L E N B LO C H A P S P M A N AG E R O F C O N S U M E R S A F E T Y HOW DO YOU score extra points with your customers?

Baseball season is over for most. Football is getting started. What does that have to do with pool and spa safety? We usually don’t hear much about baseball throughout the winter. That’s also the off-season for swimming in many parts of the country. Does that mean we stop promoting safety from September through May? Do we teach consumers about safety products, rules that will protect their loved ones, and how to prevent injury in pools and spas only during the busiest part of the season? Or only during APSP Pool & Spa Safety Week? Of course, the answer is a resounding “No!” The pool and spa “safety season” never ends. We are determined as a professional association to reduce the number of preventable accidents and injuries when consumers use our products. As APSP members, we are resolute in our efforts to get important safety messages and information out to consumers, and the time to do that is whenever we have an opportunity for contact with them. So, since football season is under way, here are some ideas for you to consider – and some actions you can take to “score” and help prevent accidents while ensuring your customers are fully enjoying their pools and spas. • Touchdown: This is the goal. We want to do everything possible to reduce drowning incidents and other injuries, all of which are preventable. • Extra points: Show customers you care about their safety and enjoyment by distributing brochures and information about safety. Go to the APSP.org online store or call Member Services at 703.838.0083, ext. 301, to learn about what is available. • Gain yards: You’ll differentiate yourself from t he c omp et it ion b y showing you’re not interested in just selling a product, but also that you want to be sure products are used safely and will give family and friends years of togetherness and enjoyment. 3 8 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY

• Offense: Utilize some of the many APSP resources such as brochures like Children Aren’t Waterproof and Layers of Protection, along with safety items like the Pool Patrol Visor – reminding adults to always keep their eyes on their kids, and “I’m A Safe Swimmer” wristbands for children. Include them in packages to new owners of pools and spas. • Field of play: Safety messages typically focus on kids, family, and guests. We need to always give attention to rules and products that protect children such as fences, locks, gates, alarms, and covers. But what about the rest of the household? What about the family pets, especially the dogs and cats? These pets are very much a part of families and they, too, need to be protected around backyard pools and spas. Be sure to let your customers know there are products that protect all members of the family, including their cherished pets. • Home field advantage: APSP members have the advantage as the professionals in the industry. They have the knowledge, experience, and education to give customers the most up-to-date and accurate information about pool and spa safety. Through the many educational courses and certifications offered by APSP, you and your employees can strive to be the most qualified specialists. Courses such as TECH I and TECH II, certifications such as the CSP Certified Service Professional® and CBP Certified Building Professional®, and new courses that are part of the APSP Builders Institute all serve to put APSP members out in front of the rest. And safety is a core part of all of the courses and certification programs. Visit www.apsp.org for more information on education offerings. So, don’t get caught “holding” back. Let’s “block” those preventable accidents by using a “safety blitz!” Safety is a core value of APSP. Our members should be unwavering in efforts to do everything possible throughout the year to reach the goal of reducing accidents – and increasing satisfaction and enjoyment with our products. Make safety a part of all your sales and service contacts – no matter what the season! AQ

The pool and spa “safety season” never ends. We are determined as a professional association to reduce the number of preventable accidents and injuries when consumers use our products.


executive suite

CEO to CEO: Transforming the Un-Leader Into An Effective Leader

A COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH project conducted by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman for their book, The Extraordinary Leader, found five fatal flaws – or five behaviors and attitudes – that, left uncorrected, can derail any leader’s career. The researchers analyzed the results of more than 200,000 performance evaluations conducted on 20,000 different executives. Zenger and Folkman identified the patterns of behavior that consistently lead to failures in leadership. Possessing one or more of these derailing behaviors makes it extremely difficult for an individual to be perceived as an effective leader: • Inability to learn from mistakes • Lack of interpersonal skills • Lack of openness to new ideas, resulting in a failure to innovate or lead change • Lack of accountability or failure to focus on results • Failure to take initiative

Leaders Learn from Mistakes M a rk Laven, president of Lat ha m International, in Latham, New York, a leading provider of in-ground vinyl liner pools, one piece fiberglass pools and covers, shared his perspective. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of growing leaders, and they all make about the same number of mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. The difference is how they respond when those mistakes are brought to light,” he says. “A good leader uses mistakes to make better decisions in the future. The bad leader will find excuses and may even blame others. It’s rarely an honest mistake that makes one look terrible. It’s generally how that mistake is responded to that makes a difference to followers.”

Leaders Develop Interpersonal Competencies “A leader’s ability to work with others cannot be overstated,” explains Ben Dozier, president of Root Designs, a landscape architecture and pool construction company in Austin, Texas. “Our success comes from the ability to build rapport with clients and clearly communicate their desires to the teams we have working on their project,” he says. “In the office or out in the field, we constantly strive to engage employees

and make them feel part of a successful team. Fostering an open and honest work environment and treating one another with respect has been one of the keys to our success.”

Leaders Inspire Innovation and Demand Results “New ideas can sometimes be frightening for people. Leadership is about engaging people in the process and helping to get the best out of every member of the team,” suggests Steve Gorlin, president of Gorlin Pools & Spas in Lakehurst, New Jersey, and one of the key architects of the APSP Hot Tub Industry Growth Initiative. “Innovative thinking and a commitment to achieving results are the only ways to create lasting change.”

Leaders Make Things Happen “Leaders are not satisfied with conventional wisdom,” says Dick Covert, executive director

of Master Pools Guild in Richmond, Virginia. “There is an internal need to see things get better, to address problems head-on with resolve and strength of character. Ultimately, leaders step forward and take action when others can’t or won’t. There is no room for couch potatoes – leaders know that the price of inaction is much more that the cost of the status quo.”

How to Address Derailing Behaviors Assess whether you have any fatal flaws - Open yourself to feedback from those who know you best. Participate in a developmental assessment, like a 360-degree survey to evaluate your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Don’t just use one source of feedback. Engage your colleagues, employees, and customers. Reflect on your past experiences with others What have you learned from your family, friends, and co-workers? Be honest with yourself about relationships that have not gone well. What might you have done differently? Develop a performance-improvement plan Just as you would plan any improvement process, make a formal plan and commitment to address your derailing behaviors. Get help from a trusted mentor or executive coach. Execute your plan with a sense of urgency Fatal flaws cannot be allowed to develop into long-term patterns of inaction. Your ability to lead will be negatively impacted by a pattern of doing too little, not by doing too much. Taking immediate action is the first step to eliminating derailing behaviors. AQ

It’s rarely an honest mistake that makes one look terrible. It’s generally how that mistake is responded to that makes a difference to followers. F A L L 2 0 0 8 | 39


APSP news & resources

NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton to Deliver Keynote at Expo NBA basketball legend Bill Walton will be the keynote speaker at the “tip-off” of the 2008 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Las Vegas. His keynote address, titled “Nothing but Net,” is scheduled on Tuesday, November 18, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Walton’s speech is expected to set the pace for the November 18-20 Expo, discussing the characteristics that create success in business, including a focus on teamwork, overcoming adversity, and mastering the fundamental combination of hard work and a positive attitude. This year’s Expo will be a mega show – a combination of the International Pool and Spa Expo, Backyard Living Expo, and AQUA Show. Exhibit dates are Tuesday-Thursday, November 18-20. Don’t miss the Welcome Party on November 18.

September of a compliant cover. Any APSP member manufacturers that have suction outlet covers and grates that are in compliance with the 2007 ASME A112.19.8 standard should provide their product information to Carvin DiGiovanni (cdigiovanni@APSP.org).

Awards of Excellence Judging Completed The judging has been completed for this year’s Awards of Excellence design program. APSP member judges met in the APSP Alexandria headquarters on August 21 and 22 to select the 2008 award recipients. Members will receive their awards at the APSP Awards of Excellence presentation on Wednesday, November 19, during the Expo. APSP judges included Erik Carlson, Aqua Quip; Pete Cattano, Paco Pools & Spas; Paula Panton, Water Safety Products; Craig Thornton, Custom Aquatic Creations by Craig Thornton; and Lee West, Newport Controls. The Awards of Excellence program recognizes APSP members for outstanding pool, hot tub, and water feature installations in more than 30 categories. This year APSP received an excellent response from members and many entries for the new categories for commercial facilities.

For more information about the Expo and scheduled events, visit www.poolspapatio.com.

APSP Pool & Spa Safety Week a Success APSP’s first annual Pool & Spa Safety Week, held May 31-June 6, was very successful. Governors and mayors signed proclamations in New Hampshire, Arkansas, Connecticut, and Maryland. Mark Laven, president of Latham International and a member of the APSP Board of Directors, delivered pool and spa safety messages on television in Albany, New York. Radio Disney aired the APSP Public Service Announcements in Sacramento, California, and safety items appeared in various newspapers such as the Orange County Register and the Dallas Morning News. Plans are now under way to make our safety celebration bigger and better next year.

APSP Members Announce Covers Available to Meet Requirements of Pool and Spa Safety Act APSP manufacturer members Aquastar Pool Products, Hayward Pool Products, and A&A Manufacturing now have available suction outlet covers that comply with the 2007 ASME A112.19.8 standard, Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs, as required by the federal Pool and Spa Safety Act. In addition, Paramount Pool and Spa Systems has announced the availability in 4 0 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY

Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues Interpretations of Requirements under Pool and Spa Safety Act for Public Pools and Spas The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in June released its staff interpretation on public pools and spas under the federal Pool and Spa Safety Act, Section 1404. The CPSC will now invite public comment on Section 1406 of the Act, which addresses the requirements for the voluntary state grant program for residential pools and spas. For additional information and assistance about the CPSC staff interpretation of Section 1404, Public Pools, contact the CPSC at info@cpsc.gov or 301.504.7908. The CPSC interpretation is available online at APSP.org.

Builders, Service, Retailers Offer Advanced Educational Programs at Expo Three APSP councils are presenting advanced educational programs this year at Expo. The Builders Council program will be held Sunday and Monday, November 16-17. The Service Council and Retailers Council programs are scheduled on November 17.


Planned topics for the 5th annual advanced builders program – to be branded under the APSP Builders Institute – include concrete decks; vanishing edge and perimeter overflow pools – design, engineering, and construction; design and construction of waterfalls; glass tile installation; gunite and shotcrete in swimming pool construction; vanishing edge swimming pool hydraulics; and designing and building outdoor kitchens. The 4th annual Advanced Service Program is scheduled to include classes on sanitation and oxidation, anti-entrapment, water problems, compliance with energy-efficiency standards, disinfection for commercial pools, and what service companies need to know about the federal Pool and Spa Safety Act. The 3rd annual Advanced Retailer Program will focus on store design and merchandising secrets. Learn what you need to know to increase your sales and profits – whether you have a new store, have opened a second location or have planned a remodeling project. Topics include store-design tactics and expert advice about how to maximize and maintain your store’s selling image. The 2008 Expo will offer 83 seminars addressing industry issues and trends. For information about all events and seminars at the show, visit www.poolspapatio.com. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Tracy Beaulieu (tbeaulieu@hanleywood.com).

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APSP Endorses Proposed Title 20 Amendments for Pool Pump Motors, Portable Spas

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A PSP in May endorsed amendments to Title 20, California’s Appliance Efficiency Regulations, after working directly with the original authors, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and the Davis Energy Group. The 2009 amendments will clarify the current Title 20 language for testing and energy efficiency of portable electric spas/hot tubs and pool pumps. A key component of the Title 20 code work is this summer’s spa and hot tub testing at the National Pool (& Spa) Industry Research Center (NPIRC) at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). The testing is expected to be completed at the end of August and the results will help to develop a mutually agreeable clarification letter for the Title 20 spa test protocol. The 2009 amendments will also clarify the language that applies to upgrades on replacement motors for pool filter pumps.

APSP and FSPA Redefine Relationship in New Cooperative Agreement Volunteer leaders from APSP and the Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA) have made a strategic decision to redefine the relationship between the two organizations. The two groups have verbally agreed to a new cooperative agreement to replace the previous affiliation agreement. The new agreement, still to be approved by the boards of directors of each organization, will allow each to focus on important strategic initiatives, yet provide a framework for collaboration on areas of common interest, particularly legislative and regulatory matters affecting the industry. AQ

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A.O.Smith ........................................................................................................ www.aosmithmotors.com ............................................... 8 Advantis Technologies .................................................................................. www.poolspacare.com..............................................31, 34 Aqua Products Inc. ......................................................................................... www.AquaProducts.com/AQ.................. inside front cover Backyard America .......................................................................................... www.backyardamerica.com .......................................... 37 Bio-Dex Laboratories .................................................................................... www.bio-dex.com.......................................................... 20 Blue Hawaiian Products ............................................................................... www.bluehawaiianfiberglasspools.com........................ 16 CCSI International, Inc./Garden Prairie Pool Enclosures ........................ www.ccsiusa.com ........................................................... 28 Cover-Pools, Inc.............................................................................................. www.coverpools.com ..................................................... 19 Danver.............................................................................................................. www.danver.com ........................................................... 12 Fire by Design ................................................................................................. www.firebydesign.com .................................................. 35 Garcia Galleries .............................................................................................. www.garciagalleries.com............................................... 31 Heliocol Solar Pool Heating ......................................................................... www.heliocol.com ......................................................... 29 Indiana Limestone Co., Inc. ......................................................................... www.indianalimestonecompany.com ........................... 18 Loop Loc, Ltd. .................................................................................................. www.looploc.com ............................................................ 4 Lucite International ...................................................................................... www.luciteinternational.com ........................................ 15 Lumi-O Industries, Inc. ................................................................................. www.lumi-o.com ........................................................... 42 Maytronics US, Inc. ........................................................................................ www.maytronics.com ...................................................... 3 McEwen Industries ........................................................................................ www.mcewenindustries.com ........................................ 10 NSF International .......................................................................................... www.nsf.org................................................................... 32 Poly Planar ...................................................................................................... www.polyplanar.com ..................................................... 41 Pool Cover Specialists National, Inc. .......................................................... www.poolcovers.com ..................................................... 13 Pool Shower .................................................................................................... www.poolshower.com ................................................... 41 Raypak, Inc...................................................................................................... www.raypak.com ........................................................... 21 RB Control Systems........................................................................................ www.rbcontrolsystems.com .......................................... 35 Rite in the Rain............................................................................................... www.riteintherain.com.................................................. 28 Solar Sun Rings............................................................................................... www.solarsunrings.com ................................................34 Speck Pumps-Pool Products, Inc................................................................. www.usa.speck-pumps.com ................ outside back cover SwimCool Systems ......................................................................................... www.swimcoolsystems.com.......................................... 11 Triodyne Safety Systems, LLC ...................................................................... www.antihairsnare.com................................................. 26 Vastec USA ....................................................................................................... www.vastec-usa.com ..................................................... 37 Water Tech....................................................................................................... www.watertechcorp.com........................inside back cover Waterway Plastics ......................................................................................... www.waterwayplastics.com ............................................ 6

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ANTI-HAIR ENTRAPMENT Triodyne Safety Systems, LLC ................................................................................... 26 AUDIO EQUIPMENT Poly Planar ................................................................................................................ 41 AUTOMATIC CLEANERS Maytronics US, Inc. ..................................................................................................... 3 Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover AUTOMATIC POOL COVERS Cover-Pools, Inc. ....................................................................................................... 19 CHEMICALS Advantis Technologies ........................................................................................ 31, 34 Aqua Products Inc. ............................................................................inside front cover COMPUTER SOFTWARE RB Control Systems ................................................................................................... 35 CONTROLS Gecko Alliance ........................................................................................................... 27 COPING Vastec USA................................................................................................................. 37 DRAINS - COVERS Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 FIBERGLASS COPING Vastec USA................................................................................................................. 37 FIBERGLASS POOLS Blue Hawaiian Products ............................................................................................ 16 FILTERS Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 FILTERS - EQUIPMENT Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 FIRE FEATURES Fire by Design ............................................................................................................ 35 FITTINGS Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 HEATERS Raypak, Inc ................................................................................................................ 21 HOT TUBS/SPAS - CUSTOM Lucite International .................................................................................................. 15 LINERS McEwen Industries.................................................................................................... 10 MAINTENANCE ACCESSORIES Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover METAL FABRICATORS/CUSTOM METALWORK Garcia Galleries ......................................................................................................... 31 MOTORS A.O.Smith .................................................................................................................... 8 OUTDOOR KITCHENS Danver ....................................................................................................................... 12 POOL CHEMICALS Bio-Dex Laboratories ................................................................................................20 POOL CLEANERS Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover POOL CLEANING EQUIPMENT Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover POOL COOLING EQUIPMENT SwimCool Systems .................................................................................................... 11 POOL COVERS Cover-Pools, Inc. ....................................................................................................... 19 Pool Cover Specialists National, Inc. ......................................................................... 13 POOL ENCLOSURES CCSI International, Inc./Garden Prairie Pool Enclosures ..........................................28 POOL VACUUMS Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover POOL/SPA PRODUCTS Lumi-O Industries, Inc. ............................................................................................. 42 POOLSIDE ACCESSORIES Pool Shower .............................................................................................................. 41 PUMPS Speck Pumps-Pool Products, Inc. ...................................................outside back cover Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 PUMPS/FILTERS Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 SAFETY COVERS Cover-Pools, Inc. ....................................................................................................... 19 Loop Loc, Ltd. .............................................................................................................. 4 SHADE PRODUCTS Backyard America ..................................................................................................... 37 SKIMMERS Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 SOLAR HEATERS Heliocol Solar Pool Heating ......................................................................................29 Solar Sun Rings..........................................................................................................34 SPA ACCESSORIES Water Tech ........................................................................................ inside back cover SPA PARTS Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 STONE FLOORING & PAVING Indiana Limestone Co., Inc........................................................................................ 18 VALVES/FITTINGS Waterway Plastics....................................................................................................... 6 WATER TESTING NSF International ...................................................................................................... 32 WATER TESTING EQUIPMENT Rite in the Rain ..........................................................................................................28


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APSQ0308  

association/trade magazine

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