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After a lifetime spent working across many facets of the pool industry, Dick Abare is still most inspired by new opportunities to learn and grow.
Crowned 2018’s Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy, he says the best part of everything — beyond the presentation gala, and thousands of dollars’ worth of Pleatco products — was the education opportunities. Each year, winners are granted fully-funded participation in training provided by sponsors Genesis and PHTA.
“One of the most amazing benefits was to take the Genesis class. It was wonderful,” Abare says. “It’s something that pushes you to the limit. Even if you think you’re good, when you take that class, you’re going to be better.”
Abare got his start working for one of the major pool builders in the early 70s. He moved into retail, but eventually discovered that his love of the outdoors translated well into a passion for pool service. Since 1987, he has owned his own pool business, Algae Busters, alongside his wife and brother.
“How many amazing men and women do we have in this industry, and I get to say I was the lucky one to win the award?” he says. “Any time you’re honored by your peers, I think it speaks volumes. And that makes me personally even more proud, because that means my peers appreciate what we do.”
Winning skyrockets the reach and reputation of winners: the Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy and Gal become the faces of a nationwide advertising campaign.
“There’s no way to explain the first time you open up that magazine and go, ‘Hey, this is me!’ Or you take a magazine, and you and your partner are on the back page, you know?” he says. “What’s so amazing is the people that you get a chance to meet, the national exposure.”
Abare’s above-and-beyond pool service work earned him the award, and it came full circle: being Pleatco’s Perfect Pool Guy gave him a voice with a reach, and he wanted to use that voice in service of the greater good of the industry as a whole.
“I really wanted to be able to promote the pool industry, to be able to get more people involved,” he says. “The various articles that we are fortunate enough to be interviewed in were good vehicles to not only promote our industry, but to promote the professionalism that goes along with it.”
That professionalism shines bright within Abare’s pool professional referral network, the Tampa Group. In fact, it was members of the group who initially nominated Abare for the contest. All are licensed pool professionals — competitors, in essence — collaborating to support one another’s businesses by connecting each other to opportunities.
“There’s so many amazing men and women that we are fortunate enough to work with that we don’t always get a chance to meet. [Pleatco] opens up so many doors for us to do that.”
“[The award] doesn’t just go away at the end of the year,” Abare says. “You become part of a family. And in an industry the size of ours, I think that says a lot.”
Nominations for the 2020 Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy and Pool Gal are now open at Pleatco.com.