In The News: April 2004

Polaris Buys Caretaker Systems

Polaris Buys Caretaker Systems

Polaris Pool Systems, Vista, Calif., recently acquired Caretaker Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., for an unspecified amount.

President Les Mathews, who founded Caretaker Systems in 1973, will act as a consultant to Polaris.

With this acquisition, Polaris will be the first company in the industry to offer both in-floor and automatic pool cleaning systems.

Polaris has acquired the Caretaker 99 in-floor cleaning system, the Leaf Trapper Safe Drain System, the UltraFlex water valve, the Environpool water management system and the Dust&Vac step and bench cleaning system.

"We feel Caretaker Systems fills a unique position in our product line," says Eric Kownacki, president and CEO of Polaris. "The ability to offer a complete cleaning system combining an in-floor cleaning system with Polaris' line of automatic pool cleaners will create the ultimate cleaning experience."

All correspondence, including orders, can continue to go to Caretaker Systems until further notice. For more information, please contact Caretaker at 800/762-0647. 

Vogue Acquired By Zodiac

The French company Zodiac Group has acquired LaSalle, Quebec-based Vogue Pool Products, an aboveground pool manufacturer, for an undisclosed amount.

Vogue will operate separately from Midway, Ga.-based Zodiac American Pools, a Zodiac Group subsidiary, which owns above-ground pool manufacturers Muskin, Ovation and KD Portable Pools.

Gilles Grand, director of the Zodiac Group pool division, says Zodiac will gradually integrate Vogue while allowing it to retain its above-ground pool products and customer service programs. All current Vogue staff will remain in place under the direction of Vogue President Gilles Lebuis and Vice President Paul Gray.

"The significant synergy between Vogue Pool Products and the Zodiac Group's pool division subsidiaries offers a strong potential for international development," Lebuis says. "Zodiac's objective in the acquisition is to increase its market share in the United States and Canada."

Arch, Avecia Reach Agreement

Arch Chemicals has agreed to acquire Avecia's Pool & Spa and Protection & Hygiene businesses, officials announced March 4. The companies expect the sale will be completed near the end of the first quarter of 2004.

"Our purchase of the Pool and Spa business sends a strong signal that we are seriously committed to the specialty pool and spa dealer segment," said Randy Hitchens, vice president of Arch's HTH Water Products business, in a press release. "With the addition of the Pool and Spa products to our own Poolife brand of products for exclusive sale by dealers, we can offer dealers and their customers a comprehensive range of pool care products and accessories that should satisfy virtually their every need. We're also excited to add their well-established and growing family of products tailored for use in spas."

Hitchens said that the companies are committed to a smooth transition for customers as they integrate operations.

Arch, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., has plants in Tennessee, France and South Africa. The company is one of the world's leading producers of calcium hypochlorite sanitizers and it also supplies chlorinated isocyanurates, as well as other pool and spa care treatment products and accessories. Avecia is known for providing alternatives to chlorine-based sanitizers for swimming pools and spas.

NESPA Selects Executive Director, Show Manager

Members of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association's Board of Directors recently selected Lawrence Caniglia as executive director of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association-NSPI Affiliate.

Caniglia replaces Joel Caesar, who retired in February after being with the organization for 21 years.

Caniglia has worked in both the public and private sectors, most recently as executive director of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Order Sons of Italy in America.

The board also named Patricia McCormick show manager of the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show. She also replaces Caesar, who will act as a consultant for the show.

McCormick joined NESPA as an administrative assistant in 1995 and was promoted to director of marketing. For the last eight years she has served as administrator of the show, which opened in February 1982.

The first show she will manage takes place Jan. 25-27, 2005. 

Long-Term Help

NSPI has announced it will offer members a long-term-care insurance policy underwritten by John Hancock Life Insurance Company. The offering is a response to feedback from members that indicated the majority of respondents do not currently offer long-care insurance to their employees, would like to learn more about this insurance product, and would consider offering it to their employees if the cost and plan options were favorable.

The John Hancock program is designed to assist NSPI members and their employees plan for future financial stability and to help protect against the high cost of long-term medical care. The coverage will be available to eligible members and their eligible spouses, partners and families.

More information is available at

Pathogens Course

NSF International will host a new course, "Waterborne Pathogens: Minimizing Risk Associated with Building Water Systems," May 18 and September 14 at NSF headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich. The course will cover information on the microbiology, associated illnesses, exposure routes, prevention, water treatment, and control of waterborne pathogens as well as government regulations and industry guidelines for Legionella. To register or get more information, call NSF at 800/673-6275, or visit

NSPF Offers Grant Fellowships

The National Swimming Pool Foundation will offer as many as 10 research fellowships per year to graduate students or post-doctoral researchers who investigate topics related to swimming pools and spas, the organization says.

Fellowships will range in value from $2,000 to $4,000 per year and are available to researchers whose work helps to reduce risks to those who use pools and spas, or to researchers who are exploring the health benefits of aquatic activity.

Applications will be accepted through June 1 and will be awarded for the 2004/2005 academic year. Applications and instructions can be found at

NSPF is also seeking volunteers for the Research Grant Review Committee to review applications.

Interested applicants should have an advanced academic degree and share the Foundation's commitment to research.

Resumes should be sent to [email protected].

Survey Says AQUA Show A Hit

A survey conducted by AQUA Show event coordinators shows the overwhelming majority of exhibitors say the January 2004 AQUA Show met or exceeded their expectations. Seventy-five percent rated the show as "excellent;" 92 percent also said the Mandalay Bay Convention Center met or exceeded their expectations.

The survey also found that exhibitors attend the AQUA Show primarily to find new dealers, introduce new products and to gather orders.

A survey faxed to attendees soon after January's show found that the top reasons buyers come to the AQUA Show are for the seminars, to find new products, to get motivated for the upcoming sales season and to observe industry trends. These goals were either met or exceeded at this January's show, survey results indicated.

The next AQUA Show will be held Nov. 9-11, 2004 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. For more information, visit or call 800/536-3630.

Water Pik Acquires Huron Tech Systems

Water Pik Technologies, Petaluma, Calif., recently purchased Huron Tech Systems, Jacksonville, Fla.

A division of Finnchem USA, Huron Tech systems manufactures ClorMatic salt chlorine generators used for swimming pool and spa water sanitation, as well as titanium heat exchangers, a component used in high-end pool and spa heat pumps.

"The acquisition of Huron Tech Systems supports the growth and profitability of our pool products business in two very important ways," says Michael Hoopis, CEO for Water Pik Technologies. "First, the addition of the ClorMatic salt chlorinator product line allows us to integrate this high-growth pool equipment into our Jandy system, a line of pool and spa products designed to meet all the equipment needs of our customers. Second, by acquiring the capability to manufacture titanium heat exchangers, we will achieve immediate margin improvement in our heat pump product line."

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