Trading Suits for Boots

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Devon Dobson left his job on Wall Street to take over his father’s pool business — and hasn’t looked back.
Devon Dobson left his job on Wall Street to take over his father’s pool business — and hasn’t looked back.

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Some pool professionals look at life on Wall Street and wonder what it's like. Sure, the money may be better, but what's the trade off? Devon Dobson, a trader turned pool boy got a good look at both sides and ultimately found his answer.

Today, Devon Dobson owns Litchfield County Pools of New Milford, Conn. The company was established in 1987 by his father Phil. Not too long ago, Devon was leading a remarkably different life trading financial products.

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a finance degree in 2012, Devon moved to the world capital of finance, where he spent five years trading futures and derivatives for large banks and hedge funds. But something was missing.

"I enjoyed living in New York City and embraced the the fast pace of the Wall Street environment," Devon says, but after spending most of his summer weekends in the Connecticut countryside with then-fiancee and now wife Kelsey, he found himself wishing they could escape the city more often.

"I had also come to the realization that I didn't want to live the city lifestyle long term," recalls Devon. "I no longer desired to climb the corporate ladder and instead, wanted to take some risk and make my own path. And I also learned that I wasn't a desk type. I wanted to be outside, on my feet, in a dynamic industry."

And then, opportunity knocked. In the spring of 2016, Devon began to notice that, after a long career as a builder, his father was ready to take a step back and retire. "[My father] had worked his tail off for over 30 years in the industry and was ready to kick back a bit, which he very much deserved," says Devon. "The culmination of all of this was me convincing Kelsey to move up to Connecticut and embark on this adventure with me. She was all for it!"

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The rest is history. These days, as president of Lichtfield County Pools, Devon oversees all construction and service operations. The company builds around 35 custom gunite pools each season and services over 300 pools on a weekly basis.

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"I get immense joy transforming our client's backyards and bringing them happiness in a swimming pool. Everyone is excited when they call a pool builder — our product is one of the happiest products there are," says Devon. "I often have to pinch myself when I'm driving around in my pickup truck, windows down and "working." It rarely feels like work at all.

"Many of my clients work on Wall Street, so it's been highly beneficial for me to have the Wall Street background. I'm able to "talk the talk" with them...but more so, I understand the challenging work that they do. It makes me even more excited to craft a swimming pool for them, where they can relax and unwind on the weekends."

Apparently, Wall Street and the pool industry have more in common than you might expect. "Both have many different facets: finance and numbers, client relationship skills, the ability to think on your feet and execute, a level of risk-taking and an understanding of economics," says Devon. "They both require you to use your head, to mix street smarts with book smarts. Both are also stressful at times, but with that stress often comes reward."

This article first appeared in the May 2021 issue of AQUA Magazine — the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.

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