Inner reflection is never a bad thing. As I sit back and put my career into focus, I realize that a lot of things have happened since I first got into the pool game twenty-eight years ago. I’ve gone from labourer to foreman to subcontractor to owning my own business all within that span, and as I’ve grown and expanded my knowledge and experience, so too have the advancements in my industry continued to change and evolve.
I started in humble beginnings in 1988, working for a local company installing vinyl-lined pools in three days or less. The must have options in those days were equally humble: a six-foot set of white steps, a diving board, a single light, and if you were lucky, a pool shape that wasn’t just a typical circle. Things like volume, sizing and energy efficiency were certainly not on anybody’s mind in those days, and very few pool owners had long term project planning or maintenance in mind.
As the 90’s rolled in so did the recession, and luxury home items like swimming pools took a major beating. A typical season of almost seventy installs dwindled to fewer than twenty, and the industry was quite literally taking on water (pun intended). I needed a release, a break, and some time to re-evaluate my next plan of action. I ended up finding all three halfway around the world in Australia. What started as a three to six-month adventure turned into a career reboot; I was hired by a Sydney-based pool company within the first month of arriving and remained with them for the next six years.
One detail in particular that was gaining popularity in the Australian market was something called the perimeter overflow, a technique where water and deck meet at equal heights. When executed properly, there is not a single ripple on the water, and its mirror-like reflection lends itself to a variety of backdrop visuals and features. Things like rainwater harvesting were also the rage, which gave homeowners the ability to capture and store rainwater for later use in both potable and non-potable applications.
Armed with my newfound tools, I made my triumphant return back to North America, filled with promise, innovation and determination. As the years moved ahead, concepts like sustainability and the green movement gained traction, and the industry hasn’t slowed down since. Sustainability, I believe, is the single most important advancement in our industry today, and is simply a term for good design meeting sound building practices. It’s not just about incorporating all the latest and greatest products on the market into every project, but more so about starting with that first shovel in the ground, defining what is needed and building up from there.