Waterfront: March 2005

Aq 305 13pg 0001

Healing Hydrotherapy

ThermoSpas and Starlight Children’s Foundation donate hot tub. 

Christmas may be the time of year when most everyone focuses on gift giving, but the Starlight Children's Foundation works hard year-round to bring gifts to deserving children. Last December, the foundation — an international nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families — and ThermoSpas donated a Healing Spa to Naomi Hardesty, an 11-year-old girl who suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of a traumatic brain injury.

Beyond weekly visits to Easter Seals for water therapy, Naomi's adoptive parents say she hadn't gotten much exercise. But that's changed now.

"The hot tub is so wonderful," says Naomi's mother, Carla. "She benefits from the warmth of the water and it helps relax her muscles. You can do range of motion in the water better than you can on land. And being confined to a wheelchair, she struggles with weight and in the tub she gets exercise because each evening when she first gets in, she plays really hard. She puts her goggles on, goes underwater and swims around in it like it's a swimming pool. By the time she's done, she's worn out, so it's even helping her sleep."

Designed in collaboration with the Arthritis Foundation, the Healing Spa provides warm water therapy for people with muscle and joint pain and is the first hot tub to receive the Arthritis Foundation's "Ease of Use" Commendation, according to ThermoSpas. For Naomi, the Healing Spa provides a place to relax, have fun and feel the freedom that most of us take for granted.

Tubful Of Toys 

Sometimes it's hard to remember that the holiday season is not about the most-expensive gift, the perfect table setting or the best outfit. The people of Airdrie, Alberta, demonstrated the true meaning of the holiday season: sharing and caring.

Cindy and Bruce Savitsky, owners of In Hot Water Spas, hold barbecues for various charities during the summer months, but this holiday season they organized a donation to Anonymous Santa, a local charity event. The goal was to fill a hot tub with brand new toys, for "Santa" to pick up and deliver to less-fortunate families throughout Airdrie and the surrounding area.

"We were hoping to get close to a tubful," says Cindy. "I thought that was ambitious because this was the first year we've had it. We didn't know what the response was going to be."

The response was unbelievable, she says. After sending a newsletter to clients and advertising in each of the local newspapers, approximately 500 toys were donated, filling both a 400gallon and a 350-gallon hot tub.

"There's a little Christmas parade here in Airdrie and we advertised that we'd be willing to take gifts along the parade route," she says. "We ended up slowing down the whole parade because people were wanting to come up to the tub and put toys in!"

If anyone in the community missed the chance to donate a gift this year, Cindy says she and Bruce plan on holding the charity again next season. They hope to fill one tub with toys and another tub with groceries to benefit the Airdrie Lioness Club's Adopt-A-Family Christmas program. Tubbers In Training

We don't know for sure if playing with a hot-tub-equipped toy car like this will help kids grow up to be hot tub consumers, but it can't hurt.

Olympic Glory

David Cline of Balboa Instruments took a timeout at a recent trade show with Genai Kerr, goalkeeper for the U.S. Olympic water polo team. Balboa sponsors Kerr and teammate Omar Amr, who were both AllAmericans at UC Irvine.

The Book On Contracting

Getting started in the building industry.

Most people prefer to take advice from others who've "been there and done that." Those folks have learned from their mistakes and can pass on time-tested words of wisdom. That's what R. Dodge Woodson does in his book Be

A Successful Building Contractor. A 30-year veteran of the home-building industry, Woodson includes many tips that translate from one segment of the building industry to the next. For example, Woodson has some solid suggestions for managing employees. He suggests developing a policy manual, which addresses client/customer relations, since, he says, "your customers are your business."

In terms of dealing with employee downtime due to weather — something almost all business owners in the pool and spa industry must manage — Woodson suggests: "When you prepare your estimate, don't assume that you will have all sunny days. Depending on the time of year, you need to think about adding a small contingency to compensate for time lost to bad weather."

Woodson addresses another issue many in this industry face: callbacks. To limit these, Woodson says: "Install a callback board in a part of your office that all employees can see." When there's a callback for a site a particular tech or employee worked at, write that employee's name on the board, but do clear the names monthly. "Generally, there is a certain competitiveness among tradespeople," says Woodson. "If [an employee's] name is in on the callback board, he will probably be embarrassed. This simple tactic can have a profound effect on your callback ratio."

Other useful chapters address how to sell, whether to work out of your home or from a commercial office space; why and how to add a computer to your toolbox; keeping track of your cash; and managing trucks, tools, equipment and inventory.

Be A Successful Building Contractor is filled with helpful information, whether you work for general contractors, plan to be one someday or are simply looking for good advice in managing the business you currently own.


Be A Successful Building Contractor By R. Dodge Woodson McGraw-Hill ISBN: 0071441743 Olympic Glory

Designated Drowning-Preventer

IPSSA chapter promotes unique drowning-prevention technique.

The San Diego chapter of the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association is turning ordinary people into superheroes. Instead of sporting tights and capes, these everyday men and women are wearing simple tags on strings around their necks. Instead of flying through the air, they're using their powers to keep a keen eye on young swimmers.

The Region 7 chapter of IPSSA developed a drowningprevention/pool safety program to address the fact that in states with the largest number of swimming pools, such as California and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. The chapter's Water Safety Committee developed a full-color safety brochure, and, in conjunction with the Safe Kids Coalition, produces and distributes a Water Watcher tag to identify individuals who specifically take the responsibility upon themselves to watch over a pool when children are using it.

According to John Silcox, chairperson for the IPSSA Water Safety Committee, many drownings occur when other people are in close proximity to the pool but everyone believes someone else is paying attention. While all adults poolside should always be watching young swimmers, the tag eliminates the possibility for this mistake.

In the past two years, IPSSA has distributed several thousand Water Watcher tags to residential pool owners, pool supply stores and at children's safety fairs. The trend is catching on. In California, drowning-prevention organizations and children's hospitals have developed their own Water Watcher tags. Organizations in other states have also emulated the prevention technique.

The public's reaction to the tags has been positive, according to Silcox, though no statistics show a decrease in the number of drownings or near-drownings since IPSSA began distributing the tags.

"A large number of the people we have given the tags and our safety brochures to have said that the tags are a very good idea and an excellent way to remind them about how important it is to have someone that is in charge of watching the pool, especially when there are large family gatherings at their house," he says.

Silcox calls on the pool and spa industry, specifically pool service firms, remodelers, renovators and builders to help spread the word about safety. This means ensuring that pool owners are aware of the practices and products that can prevent tragic accidents.

"In the past we have been reluctant to take an active role in drowning prevention, but this is the industry in which we make our living," he says. "We need to be leaders, not followers in this effort, because if we aren't, others will make decisions that will affect our industry and we will be considered impediments to solving this problem."

For more information or to order a brochure and Water Watcher tag, visit waterwatcher.org.

Aq 305 13pg 0003
Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library