In The News: February 2004

Caesar Retires From NESPA

Joel Caesar, executive director of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, is retiring Feb. 1 after a 21-year career with the organization.

"I feel a great sense of accomplishment in that the major goals that I had set and goals that the association had set have all been realized," Caesar says. "The association has been strengthened, both from its structural standpoint and its financial standpoint; its affiliation agreement with NSPI is solidified; and we have grown the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show immensely to its current status."

Caesar became NESPA's first full-time executive director in February 1983, when the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show covered 17,500 square feet and had 3,000 attendees. Today, the show is 120,000 square feet and welcomes more than 11,000 attendees.

Caesar was also instrumental in introducing the first industry-wide education program 19 years ago, which provided the inspiration and the core for subsequent NSPI programs. Caesar will act as a consultant to the organization for the next few years, and he says he will travel in his off time. "I enjoy hanging out, and I have a family to see, grandchildren to talk to and a mother to visit. And I have a secret new career — I sell junk on eBay."

As of press time, a replacement for Caesar had not been announced. 

Anthony & Sylvan Goes Private

Anthony & Sylvan Pools Corporation, the only publicly traded pool builder in the United States, has bought back enough stock to become a privately held company. Executives at the company, based in Mayfield Village, Ohio, said the decision was based on the low number of shareholders and general lack of liquidity, along with the high cost of being listed on the NASDAQ SmallCap Market.

Bill Evanson, chief financial officer for the company, said the stock had an average of just 200 trades per day over the last two years.

The buy-back effort began with what's known as an odd-lot tender offer, in which shareholders with fewer than 100 shares were offered $4.00 per share to sell them back to the company. The offer price was about 50 percent higher than the stock's average price last year.

By becoming delisted from the NASDAQ SmallCap Market, the company stands to save as much as $500,000 annually in costs associated with keeping current with the market's compliance requirements, Evanson said.

Anthony & Sylvan's shares will now be traded on the Pink Sheets, a quotation service that collects and publishes quotes for over-thec-ounter securities in an effort to increase liquidity and decrease extreme fluctuations in OTC prices.

Anthony & Sylvan, which operates a network of 39 sales centers in 16 states, had market capitalization of less than $30 million, which lagged behind most of the companies listed on NASDAQ.

NSPI Reorganization Getting Focused

One year into its reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, the NSPI Board of Directors has identified several areas for the organization to focus its attention.

According to Jack Cergol, chief staff executive, the board will direct association efforts in four key areas: education, promotion of industry products, research and statistics, and advocacy.

With these goals in mind, the board is also developing a long-range (10 to 30 years) and short-range (3 to 5 years) plan, which will include outcome-oriented goals and strategies to enhance the business success of association members.

"Each activity and existing program of NSPI is being evaluated so that it can be adapted or changed to more efficiently meet member needs going forward," says Cergol. "New programs and products are being developed. New partnerships and alliances with like-minded organizations are being pursued. All activities of the new association are being developed, or redeveloped, in order to serve and support the members in key areas."

Cergol adds that the board is "extremely optimistic about the final outcome" of NSPI's Chapter 11 reorganization.

The threat of four lawsuits, all of which involved diving accidents, caused NSPI to file for Chapter 11 in September 2002. The lawsuits involved incidents in Canada, New Jersey, Texas and Missouri.

Imperial Pools Opens New Branch in Indianapolis

Imperial Pools, Latham, N.Y., recently opened a new distribution branch in Indianapolis, bringing its total to 11 distribution branches serving 27 states.

The new 30,000-square-foot distribution center features warehousing, packaging and shipping capabilities.

"The expansion is consistent with our long-term strategy and direction," says Charlie Vennard, senior vice president. "Our goal is to focus on specific new markets nationwide. It allows us to build stronger partnerships with our customers by delivering products and services to meet their demands."

Imperial Pools was founded in 1959 and today claims to be the Northeast's oldest and largest privately owned manufacturer of galvanized-steel in-ground pool kits, one-piece thermoplastic steps and vinyl liners for in-ground and aboveground pools.

W.R. Meadows Forms New Division

Hampshire, Ill.-based W.R. Meadows, a manufacturer and distributor of concrete construction products, has formed a new division called Deck-O-Seal.

This division will handle the current Deck-O-Seal product line, including joint sealants, polysulfide primer sealants, plastic drainage systems, expansion joints, construction epoxies, bonding agents, anchoring products and pool and concrete patches.

Jim Dill will head the Deck-O-Seal division. He was previously the company's sales manager in Texas.

For more information, contact W.R. Meadows at 800/542-7665 or visit its Web site at 

Paramount Acquires Aries

Paramount Pool & Spa Systems, Tempe, Ariz., a manufacturer of in-floor cleaning and circulation systems, has purchased the assets of Aries Enterprises.  

Salt Lake City-based Aries Enterprises supplies training videos for pool design drawing and coloring; template design books; technical layouts; and computer software. The products were created to assist industry professionals when they draw, color and present designs for customers.

Paramount will redesign and relaunch Aries' products in early 2004.

For more information, contact Paramount Pool & Spa Systems at 800/621-5886 or visit its Web site at 

McClure Joins Coast Spas

Jim McClure recently became president of Coast Spas, Langley, British Columbia.

"Jim has played instrumental roles in building some of the key companies in the hot tub industry, as well as helping to grow and professionalize the industry itself," says Don Elkington, chairman of the board for Coast Spas. "With our business plan moving into its seventh year of positive straight line growth, Jim's expertise in the world spa market is key to increasing our global market position and strengthening our existing dealer network."

McClure joins the company with more than 25 years of experience in the pool and spa industry, including serving as president for the NSPI Hot Tub Council. He was most recently chief operating officer of Dimension One Spas, Vista, Calif.

Revised ANSI/ NSPI-5 2003 Released

The ANSI/NSPI-5 Standard for Residential In-ground Swimming Pools has recently been revised to include three changes.

These changes are enhanced requirements on suction-entrapment avoidance and drains, requirements that all diving equipment be installed in accordance with the specifications of the equipment manufacturer, and a new appendix which includes detailed explanations focused on the hazards and underlying causes of suction entrapment.

The revised ANSI/NSPI-5 Standard can be purchased by NPSI members for $35, or by non-members for $350, by calling the NSPI Member Service Center at 703/8380083, ext. 301.

NSPF Offers Scholarship

The National Swimming Pool Foundation is offering four scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.

Applicants must prepare an essay concerning "ways to improve public health through aquatics," "building safer pools and spas," or "making pools and spas easier to maintain."

NSPF Certified Pool and Spa Operators, NSPF Certified Pool and Spa Operator Instructors and family members can apply for the scholarships, which will be awarded in the fall and spring semesters.

For more information, visit NSPF's Web site at

Safety Symposium Scheduled

An International Symposium on Swimming Pool and Spa Safety will be held March 2 at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, Fla., from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The goal of the meeting is to significantly reduce death and injury due to entrapment.

Experts, including representatives from government agencies, hospitals, standards agencies and manufacturing concerns, will present information covering a full range of safety topics from codes and standards to safety devices and data collection.

To register, contact International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization by Feb 6, 2004, by phone at 301/601-3240; by fax at 301/601-3543 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Aquabuilt Joins Insignia Program

Aquabilt, Rocky Hill, Conn., has joined Lawrenceville, Ga.-based BioGuard Pool & Spa Products' Insignia Dealer vendor partnership.

BioGuard says an Insignia Dealer is the highest form of dealership one can achieve with the BioGuard Pool & Spa program. As an Insignia Dealer, the retailer is committed to the entire BioGuard & SpaGuard product line, the Alex Computerized Water Testing & Analysis program, owner and staff training, and continuing education. Aquabilt manufactures the Aquabilt Personal Underwater Treadmill.

Retail Store Design Competition

The 2004 International Pool & Spa Expo, in conjunction with the NSPI Retailers Council, is seeking proposals for state-of-the-art retail concept store designs. The winning entry will be showcased on the exhibit floor throughout the International Pool & Spa Expo, Dec. 1-3.

The NSPI Retailer of Excellence Concept Store First Annual Design Competition is open to retail store designers, architects and artists. The store must incorporate a barbecue area, sales counter, pool and spa chemicals, a water chemistry station, a portable hot tub, pool and spa accessories, outdoor living accessories, safety accessories, pool-cleaning equipment, above-ground pool equipment and accessories, pool toys, games and floats and parts.

The winning designer will have the option of selecting a round-trip ticket to the International Pool & Spa Expo, a two-night hotel stay and a conference pass, or a 10-by-10-foot exhibit booth at the expo, as well as a Conference Super Pass.

For more information, visit Entries will be accepted through mid-March at P.O. Box 612128, Dallas, TX 75261-2128.

Zodiac Group Acquires PSA

The Zodiac Group, the international firm whose pool division includes Ovation and KD Portable Pools, among others, has acquired PSA, a European company that supplies swimming pool heating systems, heat pumps, heat exchangers, electric pre-heaters, boilers and dehumidifiers.

Zodiac says it will integrate PSA into its corporation, but allow the company to maintain its specialties.

Jean Michel Renard will be the head of PSA. He was previously director of the Zodiac Group's Pool Care Sector. Pascal Leleu will assist with the transition as group advisor for approximately 12 months.

PoolGuard Alarms ASTM Compliant

North Vernon, Ind.-based PoolGuard's in-ground pool alarm, model PGRM-2, and above-ground pool alarm, model PGRM-AG, are now in compliance with the American Society for Testing & Materials for Pool Alarms standard, ASTM F 2208-02, the company announced.

OMNOVA Introduces Vinyl For Pools

OMNOVA Solutions, Fairlawn, Ohio, has expanded its product offerings to include vinyl-liner pool products.

OMNOVA Solutions' industrial films business provides flexible vinyl sheets to various markets, with product options including integrated calendaring, embossing, laminating and coating. It has also created numerous custom vinyl and multi-polymer formulations for automotive, vinyl-to-metal, marine and roofing, and contract upholstery applications.

Formerly known as GenCorp, the company has 2,300 employees worldwide, and made $681 million in 2002.

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