In the News: March 2006

AQUA Magazine Commits To Hot Tub Immersion Research

The National Swimming Pool Foundation announced in January that AQUA Magazine has committed $10,000 per year for the next two years for a study to explore the health benefits of hot tub immersion. “Poor diet and lack of exercise may now be the leading killer in the United States,” says Thomas Lachocki, CEO of the NSPF. “Aquatic activities are an ideal means of exercising from youth through old age. Unfortunately, there are substantial data gaps to demonstrate the unique scientific health benefits of aquatic exercise and even aquatic immersion. NSPF is splitting our R&D funding between two areas: health benefit research and finding ways to prevent injury, illness and other possible maladies associated with aquatics.”

Scientific literature suggests that immersion and/or exercise in water may benefit cardiac, circulatory, respiratory and other systems in the human body, as well as aid in stress reduction.

In 2005, the NSPF approached several hot tub organizations to donate matching research funds to explore the benefits of hot tub immersion. “It will cost about $150,000 per year for two years to carry out the hot tub immersion research studies,” says Lachocki. “At least eight leading hot tub industry members expressed enthusiastic support of the study during the Orlando IPSE Show. Peter Brown, (president of Athletic Business Publications, AQUA’s parent company, who also serves on the NSPF Board of Directors,) was ready to write a check on the spot and was the first to prov ide a wr itten commitment of $10,000 per year.”

Brown comments, “This study will be a huge step in catapulting the hot tub from a luxury item to a necessity for any family pursuing a healthy lifestyle.”

The hot tub studies will be carried out in 2007 and 2008, and will focus on an array of measures including pulmonary function tests, resting metabolic rate, respiratory exchange ratios, percentage body fat and cardiac tests including blood pressure changes, heart rate and heart rate variability. Researchers also hope to learn how warm-water immersion affects stress-reducing-hormone production and possibly brain-function changes via electroencephalogram (EEG).

Water Pik Acquired By Zodiac And The Carlyle Group

The newly-created Coast Acquisition Corporation, 80 percent owned by the Carlyle Group, a global private equity investment firm, and 20 percent owned by Zodiac, announced an agreement to acquire Water Pik Technologies, Newport Beach, Calif.

“We are pleased the Carlyle Group has entered the pool and spa industry,” says Vance Gillette, vice president, Jandy Pool Products. “For a global investment firm of their size and resources to invest in Jandy is a validation that Jandy and the pool industry are well positioned for long-term success and continued growth. When you look at the Carlyle Group, they have an incredibly diversified position in many industries, and I really believe they are going to grow their position in this industry as well.”

Officials at Zodiac were also pleased with the deal. “We are thrilled to partner with Carlyle in this transaction,” says Jean-Marc Daillance, CEO of Zodiac’s marine segment. “With its Jandy brand, Water Pik is a top-notch player in the American swimming pool industry, especially in the heating and electronic controls categories.” Under terms of the agreement, Water Pik Technologies stockholders will receive $27.75 per share, representing a 31.2 percent premium over the average closing price for the stock for the period from Dec. 6, 2005 to Jan. 6, 2006.

The Water Pik Board of Directors has unanimously approved the transaction, expected to be completed in late April 2006, and subject to approval by the stockholders of Water Pik Technologies.


The Independent Pool and Spa Service Association (IPSSA) and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) announced in January that they have partnered to expand IPSSA’s educational offerings to its membership.

“IPSSA members will benefit from a proven training program, at convenient times and places,” says Bob Kerswill, chairman of IPSSA’s educational committee. “IPSSA plans to train 10 leaders to become CPO instructors within the next year. They will be called Regional Training Directors. Once the RTDs are trained, IPSSA plans to offer CPO classes at regional meetings.”

“We are honored that IPSSA has selected the CPO program to offer to its members,” says Thomas Lachocki, CEO of the NSPF. “IPSSA’s plan to bring the CPO program to its members helps us all advance the health and safety of swimming pools and hot tubs.”

Arch Achieves ACC Certification

Arch Chemicals’ HTH Water Products division has attained the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Management Systems certification, the company announced.

The American Chemistry Council developed this third-party certification to recognize its member companies for superior quality control systems, workplace safety, environmental quality, community awareness and emergency response, Arch says.

In 2003, Arch received RCMS certification for its headquarters, then implemented the processes in its full supply chain, according to the company. In 2006, Arch plans to introduce the RCMS processes at its research and development sites worldwide.

All In The Family

Aquascape Designs, a St. Charles, Ill.-based manufacturer and distributor of pond supplies, announced the acquisition of PondSweep Manufacturing (PSM) in February. Gary Wittstock, current CEO of PondSweep Manufacturing, originally founded Aquascape Designs with son Greg Wittstock, Aquascape Designs current president and CEO, but sold the company to his son in 1996, going on to form PondSweep Manufacturing.

With the acquisition, Aquascape Designs will provide additional products for its pond and water garden customers and distributors, such as systems to create koi ponds and other technologically constructed water features. PondSweep Manufacturing will become a divis ion of Aquascape Designs, with Gary Wittstock continuing on in a consultative capacity, and the other PSM employees integrating with the Aquascape Designs team at the company’s new 256,000-squarefoot corporate headquarters and warehouse complex, dubbed Aqualand.

Spa Control Patent Lawsuit Settled

A legal dispute be tween Balboa Instruments (plaintiff) and Gecko Electronics, Hydro-Quip and Charisma Spas (defendants) has been settled. At issue were patents covering microprocessor-based spa controls.

The terms of the settlement are confidential but Balboa Instruments and Gecko Electronics jointly acknowledge that the patents in question are valid. As part of the settlement, both parties agreed that the defendants have a license to use the patents and technology.

Arctic Wins Award

Blue Falls Manufacturing, Ltd., makers of Arctic Spas, has won a 2005 Canada’s Best Managed Companies award in recognition of its innovation, consistent growth and effective business practices. The award is sponsored by a group that includes a business school, the National Post (a Canadian newspaper) and business concerns in Canada.

“Being chosen as one of the nation’s best-run businesses is pretty terrific,” said James Keirstead, vice president of marketing for the Thornsby, Alberta, manufacturer.

Blue Falls was also named one of Alberta’s Fastest Growing Companies by Alberta Venture, a business magazine in the province.

Blue Falls sells through a network of more than 230 dealerships in 26 countries, according to the company.

Business Briefs
  • Patio Pools & Spas of Tucson has renamed its retail division “The Backyard Store by Patio Pools,” and will open its sixth retail location in Marana, Ariz., on April 1, and two more in that state by the end of the year, according to company president Mark Ragel.
  • Backyard Pool has added e-commerce to its Web site, According to the company, the site offers a unique collection of games and toys for pools and was developed for pool and spa dealers, builders, service companies and other professionals.
  • Cal Spas recently named Pool & Spa Outlet and Spa and Leisure of Plymouth its top dealers. The companies were chosen from more than 5,000 dealers worldwide that sell Cal Spas’ products.
  • Pool & Spa Outlet, Pomona, Calif., received the “Total Home Resort Award,” for its sales of all Cal Spas products, while Spa and Leisure of Plymouth (Minn.) was recognized as the company’s No. 1 spa dealer.
  • ThermaSol, a leader in steam bath design and technology, awarded the “David Altman Team Member of the Year Award” to Jim Van Landingham, the company’s national sales manager since 2003. The award, named for the man who founded Simi Valley, Calif., company in 1958, was given to Van Landingham for his help in the company’s expansion in the residential and commercial markets worldwide, according to ThermaSol president Mitch Altman.
  • Marquis Spas donated its 200th hot tub to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The hot tub was given to a 9-year-old McMinnville, Ore., girl named Alicia, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that maker her body unable to process certain proteins and fats properly.
  • Bullfrog Spas announced in January that it had transferred its product safety recognition from UL, which is recognized in the United States and Canada, to the internationally recognized TUV. The move came in response to the company’s overseas growth, the company says. “Not only is TUV the only company whose safety ratings are internationally recognized, but they test products to the highest standard for worldwide consumption,” says David Ludlow, CEO for Bullfrog International, Bluffdale, Utah.
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