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Episode 143: Shasta Pools - Astonishing Customers for 55 Years with Skip and Jeff Ast

Pool Chasers Podcast

Release Date: 03/08/2021

Episode 178: New Product Showcase with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine show art Episode 178: New Product Showcase with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine

Pool Chasers Podcast

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Pool Chasers Podcast

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Pool Chasers Podcast

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Pool Chasers Podcast

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Pool Chasers Podcast

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Pool Chasers Podcast

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Pool Chasers Podcast

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Episode 171: Green to Clean TikTok Star Mark Jones (@poolpr0mj) of Blue Street Pools show art Episode 171: Green to Clean TikTok Star Mark Jones (@poolpr0mj) of Blue Street Pools

Pool Chasers Podcast

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Episode 170: October - News and Notes with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine show art Episode 170: October - News and Notes with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine

Pool Chasers Podcast

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Episode 169: Sutro - The Future of Pool Water Chemistry Controlled by an App & Professional Reagents with Jim Conti show art Episode 169: Sutro - The Future of Pool Water Chemistry Controlled by an App & Professional Reagents with Jim Conti

Pool Chasers Podcast

Jim Conti is the Head of Sales at Sutro. The brainchild of founder Ravi Kurani, Sutro began with a focus on ORP technology before the company made the pivot to reagent-based testing with photometry, resulting in Sutro’s flagship product, the Sutro Smart Monitor. Jim explains the limitations of ORP and what led the team at Sutro to home in on incorporating Reagent Cartridges by LaMotte into their current technology.

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Episode Summary: 

In this episode, we had the opportunity to interview Skip Ast and Jeff Ast of Shasta Pools. Shasta’s commitment to excellence began in 1966 when Bob Ast founded Shasta and was soon joined by his brother Skip. Today Shasta is Arizona’s most experienced pool builder and the valley’s only Master Pools Guild member, delivering innovative outdoor environments that are built to last with Skip, his son Jeff, and grandson Skip III carrying on the family tradition. 

Shasta has completed over 87,000 pool builds, 36,000 pool remodeling projects, and there are currently more than 20 Shasta Customer Care vehicles on the road servicing a 100,000 plus customer base. They also established A&A Manufacturing and Xcel Surfaces out of necessity which is discussed in the episode. 

Listen in as Skip and Jeff tell the history of Shasta Pools and how they rode waves of innovation in the pool industry over the last five decades. They also share how they manage to keep their entire team feeling like they are part of a small and intimate family business despite Shasta being the number one pool builder in Phoenix today. Finally, they share how the company navigated both the 2008 Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic and their biggest lessons learned in the face of economic uncertainty. 

Topics Discussed: 

  • 01:10 - The story behind Shasta Pools 
  • 05:40 - How Skip discovered shotcrete 
  • 09:01 - Running in-house crews in the early days to ensure a quality product 
  • 10:13 - How Shasta became a volume builder 
  • 13:08 - Starting A&A Manufacturing 
  • 15:01 - Starting Xcel Surfaces 
  • 16:13 - Andy Blake’s influence on Shasta Pools 
  • 20:57 - Using Key Result Areas (KRA’s) to keep the team motivated through innovation 
  • 23:30 - Stay “small” and humble despite growing into a large company 
  • 27:24 - Selling A&A Manufacturing 
  • 30:04 - How Shasta navigated the Global Financial Crisis 
  • 34:12 - Jeff’s promotion to President in 2018 
  • 37:28 - Jeff on work-life balance 
  • 41:09 - Where Shasta Pools is today and the Asts’ thoughts on 2020 and COVID-19 
  • 45:29 - How many pools Shasta has built and remodeled through the years 
 
 
 

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Key Quotes from Episode: 

  • You had to get out of your comfort zone. You had to get into a zone where it was very challenging for you. You could never let your guard down. You had to put your nose to the grindstone and keep going; otherwise, you’d fall behind and be stagnant one day. There are a lot of pool builders going out of business because when things did slow down, there was no business for them; whereas we were still getting quite a few referrals, and that’s what kept us going. ~Skip 
  • We did our best in defining those Key Result Areas. What did we really want to see as an end result of doing this or doing that? We don’t want to be going out as an exercise in futility. We want every move to count toward our end results that are profitable for everybody. ~Skip 
  • We knew that the company was huge and growing. So, how do you stay on the edge of growing a very large company, but keeping it small, mentally? Shasta is still a small family business. That’s super key: People feel valued when they feel close to family. ~Jeff 
  • Humility is a major power. ~Jeff 
  • So, it's very critical. We're in a whole different era right now where people are actually starting to realize that the value of a swimming pool, what difference it can make in your life. And it's just not it's just not a thing to get wet anymore. It's just not anything to cool off. It is actually an environment. It's an environment to build stronger families to just really, it's a lifestyle now. It's become a lifestyle, not just getting wet and cool off. ~Jeff