Watkins' Hammock Celebrates 30 Years, Reflects On Future

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Steve Hammock of Watkins ManufacturingWatkins Manufacturing recently celebrated the 30-year anniversary of its president, Steve Hammock, an influential executive in the spa industry who has led Watkins to sustained success. 

Hammock began his career with the company in October 1982, and took over as President at the retirement of the company’s remaining founder Jeff Watkins in 1997. 

In recognition of the milestone, Hammock agreed to a short Q and A with AQUA on the essence of a successful hot tub company, the changes he has seen during his tenure, and his vision for the future:

What is essence of a prosperous hot tub company — that is, the qualities most important to its long-term success?

Hammock: To me, essence means core, that one thing that makes the difference.  At Watkins that one thing is Focus on The Customer.  If you take care of your customers when times are good, they’ll be there for you in thick or thin.  If you look at, then make decisions from, the customer’s point-of-view, you’re one step nearer success.

The hot tub industry has seen great change during your tenure, and it’s safe to say Watkins has navigated these changes as successfully as anyone. How did you do that?

Hammock: By doing the above. We maintained our principles even as other things were being cut. By taking the long view that we needed to still be here when the survivors were identified; and by delivering a better user experience today than yesterday, which extends to products as well as after-sale care.

What is the biggest change you see coming for the hot tub industry in the next 5 years?

Hammock: Returning to relevance.  We’ve lost a lot of visibility over the past 5 years or so, and we didn’t have all that much to lose.  This industry has some challenges that go beyond economics and we will need to be more innovative with our products and compelling with our marketing if we are to thrive.

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