AQUA Year in Review: Staff Picks of 2023

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As 2023 comes to a close, the AQUA team takes a look back at their favorite stories from the year.

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Scott Webb

 Pool Life In Wartime

This story was a real departure for me and the magazine, as it came from pool professionals on the front lines of war in Europe. Their comments, coming from people just like us but in dramatically different circumstances, made me think about what it might be like if something like that happened here in the United States.

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Abigail Carpenter

 Take a Break at Isaacs Underground

When Isaac Pools & Spas (Johnson City, Tenn.) opened a new operations facility in 2021, Owner David Isaacs was given the opportunity to open a state-of-the-art recreation facility for his staff. From playing games to working out to making meals, the facility allows his employees to unwind and hang out. I enjoyed writing this story, one that details a great example of employee appreciation and unique retention strategy.

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Haley Grace Harris

 Haunting Encounters: Service Stories From Hell

This was my favorite story this year because I love Halloween and the pool/spa industry, so combining the two into a spooky feature was so fun for me! Shannon Noser with Jeff's Pool & Spa Service relayed a time when she had squatters in her rental pool, as well as when she was cornered by a customer's terrifying dog. Dick Abare with Algae Busters discussed a deathly mannequin prank he and his friends got away with at his apartment pool, and then in true karma fashion, a time when he was pranked with a snake when servicing a pool light. It's a fun and spooky read, and it's all thanks to Shannon and Jeff!

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Jared Fish

Getting to Know 'Hot Tub Ernie' and His Successful Spa 

This is a great redemption story. 'Hot Tub Ernie' (Ernest Canelli) went through some hardships — including losing the hot tub business he had worked so hard to develop. But he overcame those hardships and got back into the industry. Not only did he rebuild his business, he came back even stronger than before.

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Stan Chambers

A Furry Retail Employee

I think building a community identity is important for any type of local retailing operation and this story kind of personifies that. Winston (the dog) seems to have really etched a spot for himself in the daily activity at the Pool Doctor of Rhode Island. I really enjoyed getting to know Winston and this story.

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