In The News: November 2003

Sta-Rite Loses Lawsuit

A Dade County, Fla., jury ordered StaRite Industries, Delavan, Wis., to pay $104 million in compensatory damages to the family of Lorenzo Peterson, a boy who nearly drowned after becoming trapped underwater for several minutes on an uncovered pool drain.

The accident occurred in June 2000, when Peterson's arm became stuck in the main drain of an apartment pool after someone had removed the cover. Several adults tried unsuccessfully to free Peterson, who was held underwater for about 12 minutes. Eventually the power was shut off and Peterson was released. It's not known whether Peterson, then 14, stuck his arm in the drain intentionally.

The Peterson family's lawsuit alleged that the pump was unsafe and that StaRite knew it to be so, yet made no effort to modify it to make it less dangerous or warn users of potential risks.

Sta-Rite denied responsibility and announced plans to appeal the decision. "This was a terrible, tragic accident," said Rick White, a spokesman for Sta-Rite's parent company, Milwaukee-based Wicor. "While our primary focus is how a young man's life was changed forever, we're disappointed with the jury's decision and are reviewing our options."

Sta-Rite's lawyers disagreed with the family's assertion that a vacuum-breaking device on the 1-hp P2R pump would have prevented the accident. The only way to prevent such accidents, they argued, is with dual main drains.

Hayward Acquires EUS

Hayward Pool Products, Elizabeth, N.J., has recently acquired heat pump assets of the privately held Energy Utilization Systems, Johnson City, Tenn.

"We have acquired a well-respected, fast-growing business in EUS that enhances our Totally Hayward system of products and expands our heater offerings," says Robert Davis, president and CEO of Hayward.

For more information, contact Hayward at 908/351-4500 or visit

Clearwater To Distribute Pioneer

Clearwater Spas and Stoves, Woodinville, Wash., has reached an agreement with Pioneer H2O Technologies to include the Genesis bromine generator as an option on all of its spas.

Bromine generators run a perpetual cycle of dissolved sodium bromide ions that are converted into free bromine, which sanitizes the water before reverting back to sodium bromide.

"I have no doubt that it's going to follow the same path as the ozone generator," says Larry Richards, vice president of Clearwater. "It will be on 95 percent of the models, because it works so efficiently and easily."

Pioneer H2O Technologies, located in Lakewood, Colo., also manufactures pool and spa chemicals, chlorine generators, ionizers and mineral purifiers.

Clearwater Spas manufactures gazebos, acrylic spas, portable spas and swim spas.

Taylor Technologies Receives ASCA Endorsement

For the fourth year in a row, Taylor Technologies has received exclusive endorsement of the American Swimming Coaches Association.

"We're pleased to continue our affiliation with Taylor Technologies," says John Leonard, executive director of ASCA, which has a membership of more than 5,500 aquatic professionals. "Our two organizations share the goal of improving American swimming."

Taylor Technologies, based in Sparks, Md., manufacturers pool and spa water testing products.

NSPI Updated Exam Schedule

The National Spa & Pool Institute updated its schedule of NSPI Tech Schools and certification exams.

To see the latest calendar information, visit the NSPI Web site at and click on NSPI Education. For more information, contact Bird Dawson at 703/838-0083, ext. 152.

NSPI members can now also post job openings on the NSPI Web site. Simply visit and go to its Members Only section.

Job positions can be viewed by members and non-members in the NSPI Community section of the site. Job applicants can search by state, region, job category, keyword or all jobs available.

For more information, contact NSPI Member Services Center at 703/838-0083, ext. 301 or e-mail [email protected].

SCP Acquires Litehouse

SCP Pool Corporation, Covington, La., recently acquired the assets of Litehouse Products' distribution division.

"This acquisition establishes a strong presence for us in northern Ohio and adjacent markets while providing Litehouse the opportunity to focus its financial and human resources on its growing pool and leisure products retail business," says Manuel Perez de la Mesa, president and CEO of SCP Pool Corporation.

Litehouse's primary business is retail sales of swimming pool and other leisure products through 27 stores located in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

SCP has also recently completed two international acquisitions. The company acquired Sud Ouest Filtration, a distributor of swimming pool products in Bordeaux, France, and Mepasa Albercas, a swimming pool distributor in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

SCP now has four locations in France, and its purchase of Mepasa Albercas marks the company's first location in Latin America.

The three acquired companies earned more than $40 million in sales in 2002.

For more information, visit the company's Web site at

San Juan Teams With GE

San Juan Pools, Lakeland, Fla., is now offering its dealers direct access to financing through GE Capital Finance.

Under the GE Capital Financing Program, San Juan dealers are eligible to become GE Capital agents. Those dealers can fax consumer credit applications directly to GE Capital Finance.

According to Niles Leonard, national sales manager for San Juan, GE Capital Finance can offer 100 percent, zero-equity financing with no closing costs to cover the cost of a complete pool installation.

In addition, GE can help dealers with floor planning needs and offers a trailer program developed for San Juan dealers.

For more information, call 800/5357946 or visit San Juan's Web site at

Companies Change Names

Muskin Leisure Products has changed its name to Zodiac American Pools.

The company's corporate structure will not change, as all obligations of Muskin Leisure Products will be incorporated into Zodiac American Pools. All contact information will also remain the same.

"As a Group Zodiac Company, this change is part of a continuing process to capitalize on the strength of the name Zodiac and the brand loyalty we have developed not only in the United States but worldwide," says Howard French, president of Zodiac American Pools.

For more information, contact the company at 912/888-7665.

GPM Industries, Holland, Mich, is also changing names. The company will be known as Great Lakes Home & Resort.

"We believe our new name more accurately reflects our vision and sets the stage for future product additions and innovations," says Rick Mouw, president.

For more information, contact the company at 800/458-1476 or visit its Web site at

Arch Buys Aquachlor

Arch Chemicals, Norwalk, Conn., recently completed its acquisition of Aquachlor Limited by purchasing the remaining 50 percent of the company.

Arch Chemicals purchased the South Africa-based company from its joint-venture partner, Sentrachem Limited, for approximately $6 million.

The Aquachlor plant is the sole producer of calcium hypochlorite in Africa with sales of approximately $20 million a year in 2002.

"This transaction gives us the flexibility to expand our product offerings and to capitalize on major water-treatment growth opportunities in both Africa and Asia," says Arch Chemicals chairman, president and CEO, Michael E. Campbell. "We plan to significantly grow our business of providing sanitizers to address the need for potable water throughout Africa and to capitalize on both residential and industrial water-treatment applications in Asia."

D1 Appoints New CEO

Dimension One Spas, San Diego, Calif., has appointed John Hradnansky chief operating officer. Hradnansky replaces Jim McClure.

Hradnansky has previously worked for companies including PepsiCo, IBM and Hughes Aircraft. He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in electrical engineering from M.I.T., as well as an MBA from Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration.

"The spa category enjoys very promising fundamentals relative to other market sectors, and I believe this will continue, if not increase, in the future," says Hradnansky. "There has never been a better time to be involved in the industry."

McClure says he plans to begin building his own business.

Dimension One Spas designs and manufactures home hydrotherapy and aquatic fitness products.

Specialty Acquires Paradise

The Specialty Mfg. Co., St. Paul, Minn., recently acquired the assets of Paradise Industries of Valencia, Calif.

Paradise Industries' line of pool cleaning and maintenance products will be marketed by the Rola-Chem Corporation, the parent company of Specialty Mfg. Co. For more information, contact Rola-Chem Corp./Paradise Industries at 800/549-4473 or e-mail [email protected].

Pentair Schedule

An Equipment Training Seminar Series for 2003-2004 will be hosted by Pentair Pool Products, Sanford, N.C.

The technical seminars, which will be held throughout the United States, focus on the MiniMax NT Series and NT Low NOx heaters, IntelliTouch/EasyTouch controls and Letro automatic pool cleaners.

To register, call 888/755-7946, email [email protected] or go to

Saratoga Mart

Saratoga Spas, Latham, N.Y., is hosting a two-day Dealer Mart and Vendor Fair Nov. 15-16, 2003, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

For more information, contact Kristine Keegan at 800/444-9977, ext. 620 or email [email protected]

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