AQUA Year in Review: 2022 News & Trends

Looking Back

Before we say goodbye to 2022, let's take a look back at some of the big news and noteworthy trends in the pool and spa industry that defined the year.

1. AQUA Magazine hosted the inaugural AQUA Live, a new educational conference and trade show, in Charlotte, N.C., at the Charlotte Convention Center. The event brought together a number of successful pool and spa professionals for education, exhibits, a Welcome Party at the Nascar Hall of Fame, and more. 

2. BioLab reopened a new-and-improved trichlor facility after its Lake Charles plant caught fire in August 2020. The new, state-of-the-art facility will significantly increase chemical production in readiness for the 2023 pool season.

3. Under pressure from an ongoing drought, the Southwest has been tightening water use restrictions — a growing number of which directly regulate swimming pools. While the industry has been working to dispel misinformation to defend pool construction, they have also been doing their part: from PHTA’s “Let’s Pool Together” campaign, to designing swimming pools that use less water, to choosing the best water-saving equipment, and more. 

4. The announcement of the merger between two of the largest builders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (Pulliam Pools is now under the growing portfolio of Concentric Equity Partners) raised eyebrows, and not just because of the company’s lineage, but also because, while consolidation has been rampant in the manufacturing sector of the pool and spa industry, activity in the construction sector has been relatively limited. 

5. As part of its commitment to elevating the professionalism of the pool industry, GENESIS launched a concierge program to foster professional development among its students.

6. AQUA's beloved Truck & Van Contest returned (after a brief bout with COVID), ready to dazzle enthusiasts across the nation. This year’s revival did not disappoint: We received a huge number of submissions, including some of the best and most unique vehicles we’d ever seen.

7. The 10 retailers selected as the 2022 class of the AQUA 100, located all over the country — including our first inductee from Canada — rose above adversity and come out the other side stronger than ever before. With a deeply rooted commitment to the customer and a genuine love for what they do, AQUA was thrilled to shine a light on their success.

8. The sudden rise in inflation to levels unseen challenged the pool and spa industry. While pool builders overcame rising costs to stay profitable, service companies that are on the road every working day streamlined business operations to combat the rising prices at the gas pump

9. The conversation around water safety was more critical than ever this past year — and the pool and spa industry has been making strides. From introducing new AI and camera-based drowning detection systems to fundraising efforts from PHTA's "Step Into Swim," the industry continues to make an impact on drowning prevention in the United States. 

10. The retail sector also experienced a major acquisition as the pool and spa industry moves toward consolidation. Watson's — one of the nation's largest home recreation retailers — acquired Allstate Home Leisure and its Sol Casual and Carlon Billiards brands. 

11. The industry lost a number of beloved veterans this year. Among them were Ron Dawes, founder of Alpha West Marketing Group, and Robert Sterling, who launched and became president of the BioLab Network (BLN).

12. A handful of standout pool and spa projects were selected by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance as Gold winners in this year's Awards of Excellence. AQUA was proud to feature these award-winning installations — as well as the Silver, Bronze, and Merit winners — in the October 2022 issue.

13. Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 monster that tore through Florida and parts of the Carolinas, wreaked massive havoc for pool techs in September, leaving many to navigate the aftermath of post-storm cleanup. 

14. Pleatco crowned the newest pair of Perfect Pool Techs during the 2022 PSP/Deck Expo in Las Vegas. Fred Goss of North Charleston, S.C., and Amy Lemieux of Englewood, Fla., earned the coveted title this year.

15. In hopes of reaching and recruiting new industry talent, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance launched the Pool Professionals Pipeline, a robust jobseeker education program. The new program was designed to help PHTA members find workers, drive awareness amongst today’s jobseekers, and foster long-term career progression in the pool, hot tub and aquatics industry.  

16. After a wild three years of sky-high demand and struggling supply chains, pool and spa dealers reported a slight cooling of the market, signifying the start of a new era in the wake of the pandemic.

17. A new ingredient found its way into concrete mixes for pool shells: carbon nanotubes. Pool builders who adopted the technology reported an improvement in the wet properties of concrete.

18. In June, an industry podcast enjoyed some time on the charts: "Talking Pools" reached No. 43 of all "How-To" Apple Podcasts in the United States. In another popular podcast, "Pool Nation" hosts Edgar De Jesus, John Chakalis and Zac Nicklas strived to encourage unity and collaboration within the industry.

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