loader from loading.io

Episode 167: AquaStar - Vertical Integration, State of The Art Research Facility & VGBA Updates with Todd Pieri & Steve Barnes

Pool Chasers Podcast

Release Date: 09/13/2021

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

Today, we sit down with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine. We kick things off by sharing our experience of finally seeing each other in person a few days back at the expo. We follow that up by running through the most recent acquisitions in the pool industry before jumping into our main topic in which we give our thoughts on the 2020-2021 new products. Finally, Megan updates us on upcoming events in January 2022 and Pool Pro’s newest article, “Pump Up the Perks”.

info_outline
Episode 177: Overcoming Trauma and Transforming Life’s Experiences into a Superpower with Walt McKinley show art Episode 177: Overcoming Trauma and Transforming Life’s Experiences into a Superpower with Walt McKinley

Pool Chasers Podcast

Today, we speak with Walt McKinley, a generational trauma coach, motivational speaker, and author. He is a retired Naval Intelligence Officer and former Fortune 500 Corporate Executive who made the pivot to become “a generational trauma coach focusing primarily on helping men learn how to break the generational cycle of abuse and fight to be the heroes of their own family. Greg and Tyler also dive deep into their own challenges growing up as well as the ones they continually strive to overcome as grown

info_outline
Episode 176: Firing Customers - Business Tip of the Month with Hal Denbar of National Pool Partners  show art Episode 176: Firing Customers - Business Tip of the Month with Hal Denbar of National Pool Partners

Pool Chasers Podcast

In today’s edition of Business Tip of the Month, we’re joined by Hal Denbar, President of Texas at National Pool Partners. When is it time to fire a customer? Hal says that there are a number of reasons, the top three being issues related to payment, misaligned expectations, or the abusive treatment of his team members. Ultimately, you have to be quick to fire bad customers for the sake of employee morale.

info_outline
Episode 175: Is Your Company Backed by the Google Guarantee? New & Exciting Details by Lorne Sederoff of SearchKings   show art Episode 175: Is Your Company Backed by the Google Guarantee? New & Exciting Details by Lorne Sederoff of SearchKings

Pool Chasers Podcast

Today, we speak with Lorne Sederoff of SearchKings, a lead generation company primarily in the paid Google space with a focus on home service businesses, including pool construction and service. Lorne discusses the Google Guarantee platform and how pool companies can take advantage of the program to hit the top of the search engine’s rankings.

info_outline
Episode 174: November - News and Notes with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine show art Episode 174: November - News and Notes with Megan Kendrick of Pool Pro Magazine

Pool Chasers Podcast

Today’s special episode is the November edition of our “News & Notes” series, in partnership with Pool Pro Magazine. We hop into pool-related news stories from around the world. Megan then goes over recent industry news, including a number of recent M&As and emerging movers and shakers. She also speaks on the 2021 International Awards of Excellence which has just announced its winners (link to the article below), as well as updates from Pool Pro and 30 Under 40.

info_outline
Episode 173: Bryce Sirrine & Zach Singer of Beyond Pool Cleaning, PTG Uniforms, and Sun Pool & Patio  show art Episode 173: Bryce Sirrine & Zach Singer of Beyond Pool Cleaning, PTG Uniforms, and Sun Pool & Patio

Pool Chasers Podcast

Today, we speak with Bryce Sirrine and Zach Singer of Beyond Pool Cleaning and Sun Pool and Patio. Recently, the two became brand ambassadors for Skimmer. Bryce and Zach go into their approach to setting expectations with their employees and why they believe that having them buy into their vision for the company and the customer experience is a fundamental part of their culture. Finally, Bryce and Zach explain how they were given the opportunity to become brand ambassadors for Skimmer.

info_outline
Episode 172: Fleet Management - Business Tip of the Month with Eddie Skehan of National Pool Partners show art Episode 172: Fleet Management - Business Tip of the Month with Eddie Skehan of National Pool Partners

Pool Chasers Podcast

In today’s edition of Business Tip of the Month, we’re joined by Eddie Skehan, Vice President of Operational Excellence for National Pool Partners. Our discussion today is all about fleet management. In particular, he speaks on the advantages of GPS tracking, which include heat mapping, using gamification to promote good driver habits, performing preventive maintenance, recovering lost vehicles, and geo-tracking.

info_outline
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

Today we speak with Mark Jones, Owner of the New Orleans-based Blue Street Pools. Mark entered the pool industry in 2017, marketing himself solely through flyers which he disseminated around his neighborhood. But his breakthrough would come in 2020 when he settled on TikTok to promote his business. Encouraged by a friend, he created an account on the social media platform. Six months later, Mark had gained 100,000 followers on TikTok. Today, he has over 2.1 million.

info_outline
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

The news stories we cover include a new mobile app out of Austin, TX called “ATX Swims”, through which users can directly purchase tickets to the city’s swimming pools; an accident involving a falling tree branch at a resort in Honolulu; an initiative to teach primary school children in Marle, France how to swim using a mobile pool; and Scottsdale, AZ’s green pool and mosquito problem. Megan then goes over recent industry news, including a number of recent M&As and emerging movers and shakers.

info_outline
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.

info_outline
 
More Episodes

Episode Summary: 

Today we do a deep dive into AquaStar Pool Products. Founded in 2000, AquaStar grew to become a vertically integrated company that offers a variety of products such as spa jets and fittings, skimmers, ozonators, chlorinators, cleaners, and—as we talk about at length in today’s episode—VGBA drains. 

In this conversation, we sit down with AquaStar Pool Products COO Todd Pieri and Director of Science and Compliance Steve Barnes. Listen in as Todd and Steve illustrate the importance of referring back to the fundamentals through the lens of sports (leading Todd to tell the story of how he won a bet with Michael Jordan on the golf course). 

Steve goes in-depth on the history and function of the main drain and what pool professionals must be ready to explain to owners with regard to staying safe around their pool’s main drain. Steve also shares how AquaStar built their state-of-the-art facility and explains how the main drains are tested as well as how they must meet NSF standards. 

The two also discuss the story of AquaStar and how it grew to be the multifaceted company it is today. They speak on AquaStar’s meticulous attention to detail and push for cutting-edge design, particularly when it comes to their drains and drain covers. 

Topics Discussed: 

  • 02:40 - An introduction to Steve 
  • 06:09 - Steve’s personal entrapment experience 
  • 17:35 - An introduction to Todd 
  • 21:43 - Athletics helped Todd appreciate business fundamentals 
  • 28:28 - Todd’s experience winning money from Michael Jordan 
  • 35:47 - The history of the main drain dating back to 1915 
  • 39:05 - Main drain safety 
  • 56:12 - The AquaStar origin story and vertical integration 
  • 1:04:15 - AquaStar’s state of the art hydraulic testing facility 
  • 1:15:27 - NSF certification 
  • 1:17:23 - What AquaStar looks at in a drain cover 
  • 1:26:55 - How the changes to the VGBA law affects the trade 
  • 1:29:38 - What the future looks like for AquaStar 
 
 
 

Connect with Guest: 

 

Connect with Pool Chasers: 

 
 

Key Quotes from Episode: 

  • Fundamentals are paramount in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s sports or business. I’ve learned early on that if you take care of the little things, they make a big difference. ~Todd 
  • Is it going to be a residential pool or a commercial waterpark with five thousand gallons a minute? Everything in between is a different answer, and the only way to know those answers is to test. We can’t guess. We’ve got to test. ~Steve 
  • Our whole goal is going to be efficiency and safety: efficiency for the homeowners, efficiency for the installers, and safety for both as well. ~Todd 
  • We are the science. We are looking at optimizing absolutely all aspects of anything where we’re moving water. The pool industry 20 years ago was the Model T: We were getting stuff around and we were square, boxy, and underpowered. [...] We want to go to that modern vehicle: energy-efficient, powerful, fun, sexy, and safe. ~Steve