One of the next generation's greatest assets is their entrepreneurial enthusiasm. Armed with tech skills and a creative spirit, the young people coming into the workforce have a reputation for developing innovative tools.
Some, like Cameron Craig, bring that spirit to the pool and spa industry. While working part-time at his family's service firm, Super Swim Pools (Glendale, Ariz.), Craig found he was routinely bogged down by paperwork, a familiar tune to many industry pros.
Those evenings spent tackling the tedious side of the job sparked an idea: Someone should build an app to do the heavy lifting. And thanks to his background in software development as well as his experience in the pool industry, Craig was just the man for the job.
After just a weekend, he had a working prototype capable of automating invoicing and organizing routes. Over the next year, Craig worked closely with his dad, a former manager of Pool Man, one of the biggest service companies in Phoenix, Ariz., to collect feedback, make tweaks and add features.
"My dad has insight from running a one-man operation with a few cleaners and techs to a multi-million-dollar company specific to our industry," Craig says. "Being able to tap into that and make it something that can function for other people has been an absolute benefit."
Today, the program has a name: AquaSuite. And it's caught the attention of fellow industry pros.
"We started to allow other users to use it, play with it and give us their feedback. They gave us insights that we hadn't thought about," Craig says. He used this testing process to improve the app.
With AquaSuite on the rise and now available to pros industry-wide, Craig has stepped away from the service route to devote more time to the app.
It's for the best, he says.
"My end goal was to never make our company into the next Pool Man or anything like that," Craig says. "As things turned out, software ended up being an opportunity that I can take advantage of."