In The News: October 2008

New President, Corporate Owner for Advantis

Advantis Technologies employees lost a beloved president and gained a new corporate parent during the last weeks of summer.

Keith Lewis was appointed president of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Advantis following the cancer-related death of Stephen M. D'Onfro, Aug. 13, and just weeks later, Arch Chemicals announced it will purchase Advantis from Rockwell Holdings.

"We are all still coming to terms with the sudden death of our dear friend and mentor, Steve D'Onfro," Lewis said. "While I wish the circumstances were different, I am honored to accept the position of president and am looking forward to working with our excellent team at Advantis to serve our customers' current and future needs."

Lewis joined the company in 1984 and was most recently vice president of business development. Lewis has held a range of executive, operational and technical positions in the 24 years he's been with Advantis and its precursor, Laporte Water Technologies. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Liverpool, also in the U.K.

"Keith had assumed many of the duties of President during Steve D'Onfro's long illness and is an excellent position to continue the good work done by Steve and the entire team," said Seifi Ghasemi, chairman and CEO of Rockwood Holdings, parent company of Advantis.

D'Onfro joined Gary Chemical Corporation as CFO in 1987, which became part of Rockwood Holdings. For the past 11 years, he served as president of Advantis Technologies.

D'Onfro is survived by his wife of 23 years, Beth, and three daughters: Katherine, Jillian and Madeline.

In early September, Arch Chemicals, Norwalk, Conn., announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Advantis for $130 million. The transaction, which includes Advantis's Pool & Spa and Surface Water divisions, is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close before the end of the year, according to Arch and Advantis press releases.

Arch will finance the transaction through its revolving credit facility and expects to realize pretax synergies of approximately $6 million per year from the integration and leveraging of Advantis with the Arch water products business.

"The acquisition of Advantis Technologies builds on our core biocides portfolio," said Michael E. Campbell, Arch Chemicals chairman, president and CEO.

"The Pool & Spa division expands and improves our participation in the specialty pool and spa dealer channel as well as with pool industry distributors, adding products and technologies that complement Arch's existing product portfolio. In addition, we are very excited to acquire Advantis's specialty formulations and technology, permitting us to supply additional product offerings to our mass-retail customers," he said.

Louis S. Massimo, Arch's COO, added, "We are extremely pleased that the Advantis business and employees will become part of Arch and look forward to realizing the potential of this winning combination. The business's managerial philosophy and culture are very similar to those of Arch. These similarities will facilitate the success of our detailed plan to integrate the two organizations and rapidly capitalize on the many growth opportunities we have identified."

Can You Be More Concrete?

The American Concrete Institute endorsed the National Plasterers Council Technical Manual in its new technical publication, ACI 524R-80, Guideline to Portland Cement-Based Plaster. The ACI refers readers to NPC's manual: "information specific to swimming pool plastering can be found in reports by the Portland Cement Association's Portland Cement Plaster/Stucco Manual and the National Plasterers Council's Technical Manual."

The Portland Cement Association manual offers a two-page swimming pool section, but refers readers to the NPC manual for "a thorough section on troubleshooting and the repair of cracks, soft plaster, debonding and delamination, discoloration, and general deterioration. The manual can also be used for failure analysis, in addition to serving as a guide for inspection and writing specifications for the proper application of pool plaster."

NPC executive director Mitch Brooks noted that the ACI is considered the primary authority in concrete construction. "This amplifies the sound technical practices outlined in the NPC Manual," he said.

All three manuals will be available at

Muto Scholarships Awarded

The Guy and Gloria Muto Memorial Scholarship Foundation announced the recipients of its 2008 scholarship awards. Muto scholarships are available to those employed full-time in any capacity in the swimming pool and spa industry, or to their immediate family members. The Muto scholarships were established in 1989 to honor the memory of Guy A. Muto, who was a strong proponent of dramatically increasing educational opportunities for pool and spa professionals.

The 2008 scholars are: Elizabeth Balian, Aptos, Calif., father is IPSSA member; Kristie Benning, Pasadena, Md., mother is Gene Lily Pools & Spas employee; Melanie Collins, Castro Valley, Calif., father is IPSSA member; Christopher R. Cramer, West Creek, N.J., mother is Pentair employee; Margaret Flynn, Hartland, Mich., parents own Executive Pools; Mary Ruth Gooch, Trussville, Ala., mother is Allstar Pool & Spa employee; Chelsea E. Griffin, Grove City, Pa., father is Latham Plastics employee; Hillary Grimes, San Diego, father is IPSSA member; Augie Heath, Chico, Calif., Chico Pool Service employee; Brandon Kaysen, Roseville, Calif., father owns Kaysen's Pool Service; Kelli Keigwin, Canyon Lake, Calif., father is Aqua Pro employee; Nicole E. Lane, Lake Forest, Calif., father is Pentair employee; Cheryl Lynn Mahaffey, Port Saint Lucie, Fla., father owns Keith Mahaffey Pools; Gary Meyer, Los Gatos, Calif., former IPSSA treasurer, 18 years in industry; Emily Moore, Chelsea, Ala., father is Poolcorp employee; Laura Peck, San Diego, father is IPSSA officer; Megan P. Quint, Bellevue, Wash., father is APSP board member; Alicia Rockafellow, Sonoma, Calif., father is IPSSA member; Scott Segro, Englewood, Fla., mother is Florida Swim Pool Association employee; Bailey Shugart, Nashville, Tenn., father is Sundance employee; Sara Simmons, Denton, Texas, father is Poolcorp employee; Patrick J. Storm, Elk Grove, Calif., employed 23 years in the industry; John T. Tunstall, Glen Allen, Va., spouse is Douglas Aquatics employee; Tasha Nicole Vickery, Salinas, Calif., father is Skimlight Manufacturing employee; Abigail Wetterer, Indianapolis, Imperial Pool & Spa employee, father is APSP Board Member.

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