In the News: August 2008

BioLab Discontinues Distributor Line

BioLab announced that it will launch a second dealer-direct brand in the United States and will discontinue selling SUN, Guardex and Hydrotech products later this year.

BioLab will begin offering OMNI and the companion lines of Simplicity and Spa Essentials as its second-tier brand, providing an alternative to its flagship brand, BioGuard. This value-oriented brand family is intended to be distinctly different from BioGuard and allow dealers to choose what works best for them. The company will also continue to offer ProGuard as a service option for all dealers.

"Having a two-brand strategy in the dealer-direct channel allows us to offer solid options, support and defend the brands better and focus on what we do best: serve the independent dealer base on a direct basis," said Kim Nicholson, group president of BioLab. "We still feel distribution plays a valuable role in the industry, but changes in the distribution model have made it difficult for BioLab to provide value for both distributors and the dealers who carry our brands."

The company plans to continue selling SUN, Guardex and Hydrotech brands to their current distribution until Dec. 31, with the brand names retained by BioLab. The OMNI brand will be shipped to distributors until Aug. 29, after which it will only be available on a dealer-direct basis. This change affects only businesses in the United States.

Pentair Won't Show In Vegas

Pentair Water Pool and Spa announced it has withdrawn from exhibiting at the 2008 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Las Vegas. The move is unprecedented in company history, according to a press release.

"We deeply regret not being on the exhibit floor this year, however, the economical climate and soft second quarter has made the move necessary," Carlos Del Amo, vice president for marketing, said. "We will, however, be at the show for educational seminar presentations and to sponsor affiliated show events."

The company is slated to give the following seminars: Energy Efficient Pumps, Hydraulics and Variable Frequency Drives, by Mike Fowler and Hugh Anfinson; Maximize Your Profits by Targeting "Green" Consumer Segments, by Jeff Farlow; and Commercial Filtration - Proper Selection and Sizing is the Key, by Sue Robach.

Hot Tub Models Meet CEC Standards

A press release from Watkins Manufacturing reported that all 44 of its hot tub models are in compliance with the California Energy Commission's Title 20 energy efficiency requirements. More than 200 portable electric hot tub models from 11 manufacturers had met the stringent standards as of June 2, even as industry organizations worked with the CEC to improve the testing requirements.

In compliance with Title 20 as of the CEC's June update were: Cal Spas (45 models), Artesian (24 models), ThermoSpas (21 models), Hydropool Industries (18 models), Bullfrog International (19 models), Clearwater Spas (17 models), Master Spas/Down East (8 models), Softub (5 models), Dimension One Spas (5 models) and Spa Manufacture (2 models).

Raypak Acquires Heat-Pump Manufacturer

Raypak, the Oxnard, Calif., pool-heater manufacturer, announced it has acquired manufacturing assets of heat-pump manufacturer Pool Fact Industries, LLC. Raypak will manufacture heat-pump pool heaters at the former Pool Fact facility in Arcadia, Fla., which will operate as Raypak Arcadia.

"This latest development will lead to further operational efficiencies and reduce product delivery time," said acting general manager of Raypak, Peter Reynolds. "Raypak has significantly improved its position in the heat pump market and positively contributed to the restructuring of the Raypak enterprise based on this key attainment." Because heat pumps represent a significant growth opportunity in the swimming pool market, Raypak says the additional manufacturing capability was critical to product strategy.

The Raypak Arcadia facility will work closely with the Rheem Air Conditioning operations in Fort Smith, Ark., which produces technologically advanced heat pumps for heating and cooling products. Both enterprises are Rheem companies.

Kevin McDonald will oversee the new company. Greg Battisto, a former operations manager with Rheem Air Conditioning, will serve as plant manager and oversee the Raypak Arcadia operations.

Goldline Recycles

Goldline Controls, a Hayward Industries company, was recognized at the 2008 Providence, R.I., Business Expo for its efforts in recycling.

Goldline, along with Turner Waste and Salvage, conducted a waste-stream analysis and then implemented a comprehensive recycling program, reducing the company's waste costs by more than $20,000.

"It was an honor to be recognized for our environmental leadership," said Andrew Dudka, director of operations for Goldline. "Our recycling rate is more than 65 percent, which exemplifies our commitment and passion for lessening our environmental footprint at work and at home."

Basketball Great Bill Walton To Speak At IPSE

NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton will deliver the keynote address at the 2008 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Las Vegas, show organizers announced recently. In his "Nothing But Net" presentation, Walton will discuss the characteristics that create success in business, including focusing on teamwork, overcoming adversity, hard work, the fundamentals and a positive attitude.

Walton played college basketball for John Wooden at UCLA, where he was a member of the 1972 and 1973 NCAA championship teams that accumulated an NCAA record 88-game winning streak. He also won the Player of the Year Award in 1972, 1973 and 1974, and went on to become the No. 1 overall NBA draft selection in 1974.

Walton's professional basketball career included winning two NBA championship titles and being named the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 1978. In 1993, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; in 1997, he was selected as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time. Walton is also the second of only four players in the history of the NBA to lead the league in both blocked shots and rebounding in the same season.

Walton currently works as the lead analyst for ESPN/ABC's coverage of the NBA and is a regular contributor to,, ESPN Radio and ESPN The Magazine. In 2001, Walton won an Emmy for "Best Live Sports Television Broadcast."

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