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Rain or shine, day or night. Weekend or weekday. Green water, surface debris, unbalanced chemicals — you name it, a pool service technician sees and deals with it all. And yet they hardly get a moment to relax and dive into the crystal-clear waters they spend their lives maintaining. At the end of the day, who gives the pool technicians their well-deserved moment of glory?
Since 2008, the Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy and Gal [now dubbed the Pleatco Pool Tech Search] contest has been doing just that. Each year, the awards recognize the hard work and dedication of pool technicians nationwide who go above and beyond.
And there’s something magic about being a winner — the renowned honor of being the [then] Perfect Pool Guy or Gal has the proven power to boost business, establish credibility and transform the way technicians see themselves.
Just ask Jill Tillett and Kirt Kleiner, the original honorees.
Tillett, premier Perfect Pool Gal, got her start in the industry as a single mom in need of a second job. Before long, pool service became her passion, and she was eager to keep learning.
“I was reading every article I could...the learning, the knowledge, it was just awesome, like planting a seed and watching it blossom. It made my self-worth go through the roof. Things really do happen for a reason.”
Tillett was nominated for Perfect Pool Gal by two clients as well as her daughter, who started cleaning pools with her at eight years old and has been in the industry since.
“It was inspiring to feel the love on multiple levels, from both family and customers,” says Tillett.
Since 2006, Tillett has been servicing pools and hot tubs around Outer Banks with her family run business, Nags Head Pools. After taking home the Perfect Pool Gal title, her business and her confidence got a major boost.
“Throw my name into Google and it comes up – it’s reassurance to the customer. Being the Pleatco Perfect Pool Gal, and having that on my website, is definitely something that customers look at and they ask about,” she says. “And then they understand why after they hire me!”
“Pleatco is an ever-changing company, always to better themselves. And in all honesty, that’s how I feel about myself,” she says. “I’m always trying to make the world a better place, one pool at a time.”
Kleiner, premier Perfect Pool Guy, entered the business in his early teens. He started helping around a local shop unloading trucks, and has worked his way through the industry since.
“I’ve done just about everything in the pool business,” he says. “But I never really realized the benefit that it was to the people I was working for...that I was really helping them to enjoy their lives.”
After self-nominating and being named the Perfect Pool Guy, Kleiner used the award in his advertising. It helped his business grow — to the point where it nearly got too big.
“I would definitely recommend anybody to do it,” he says. “I never thought I was going to win. Who am I? I’m some guy in Pittsburgh that nobody knows.”
In his 50 years of experience working with pools, Kleiner says the contest was probably the best experience he ever had.
“What it showed me was that my customers had confidence in me, because, really, that’s how I got there...My customers had to vote in and write stuff about me. It really opened my eyes to how great the people were that I worked for, who had so much confidence in me.”
Long after the winners are crowned, the Pleatco Pool Tech legacy lives on – opportunities abound, and connections are lifelong. To the humble pool techs of the world who may be reluctant to enter, Jill says:
“Don’t be shy. Take a chance. If you’re that person who believes in making the world a better place, one pool at a time, share it with Pleatco, because Pleatco is going to share it with the world.”
Nominations for the 2023 Pleatco Pool Tech Search begin October 2, 2023 and must be submitted by October 27, 2023. Voting will open on November 1, 2023 and close on November 8, 2023. Winners will be featured in AQUA Magazine’s nationally publicized ad campaign. Find more information here.