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Contractors and Builders

Jimmy Reed Is One Of The Elite

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Jimmy Reed is unquestionably one of the top experts specializing in glass tile interiors today. A master artisan, he is definitely on a short list of A list installers. When it comes to tile, Reed is often sought out for his expertise in that particular realm.

We had the opportunity to catch up recently on the Pool Magazine podcast and discussed his impressive body of work. Working with a veritable who’s who in the swimming pool industry, Reed’s work has taken him from coast to coast working on some of the most jaw dropping pools in America.

Reed’s expertise is highly prized, consequently he’s become a frequent collaborator with luxury pool builders like Dave Penton.

Jimmy Reed Has a Reputation

A native of Southern California his entire life, Reed first began building a reputation on the West Coast for his incredible mastery at installing glass tile interiors. That notoriety has spread over the years to catapult Rock Solid Tile as a premier consulting firm providing expert pool tile installation all over the country. Today he is widely considered by many to be one of the best of the best.

With almost 50 years under his belt, there isn’t a whole lot about glass tile Jimmy Reed doesn’t know about.

Reed first got his start in tile almost 5 decades ago and has become a permanent fixture in the pool industry. A humble and unassuming person, you’re almost lulled into the false security of believing he’s just a regular guy. In fact Reed is without a doubt one of the crème de la crème when it comes to tile and an important resource for veterans who value his craftsmanship and wealth of knowledge.

Mosaic tile interior Reed installed in a collaboration with elite designer Shane LeBlanc – Photo Credit: Jimi Smith Photography

“The first important job I ever had the opportunity to work on was for Jaqueline Bissett” who costarred opposite Steve McQueen in the 1968 classic “Bullitt”. Over the years, Reed has worked on tile interiors for a laundry list of Hollywood celebrities and famous athletes.

Skip Phillips and Dave Penton collaborated with Reed on this stunning custom luxury pool.

First getting his start as an assistant in the 70’s, Reed would spend years learning the trade and honing his craft. “I inevitably wound up hiring most of the guys I used to work with” said Reed, discussing his progression to starting his own firm Rock Solid Tile back in the early 80’s.

First starting with luxury tile interiors for kitchens and bathrooms, as tile interiors began to become more popular in swimming pools, Reed would eventually focus on making that a bigger part of his repertoire. “It was kind of a new thing back then, especially in L.A. to be doing an all tile pool interior.” said Reed. Over the years glass tile would become a mainstay with him. “Glass tile really began to take off around the late 80’s” said Reed, “over 85% of the pool interiors we do today involve glass tile”, he explained.

Seeing as though he’s collaborated with some of the most well known designers and builders in the pool industry, we wanted to know Reed’s process for consulting on a high end glass interior.

“Every project is different and I get called in at all different times,” said Reed, “Often, I’ll get the call before the pool is even built and be the first one called in to consult with a client who doesn’t have a pool or they have an existing pool they want to add tile to.”

This was certainly the case on a major remodel Reed worked on with Dave Penton, Alison Terry, and David Peterson for one luxury home owner in San Marino, California. The homeowner had the budget and the desire for a complete pool and landscape makeover.

While elite pool builders know to consult with Reed when it comes to glass tile, Reed likewise knew to tap his resources in the industry to consult when adding on all of the extras the client was asking for to compliment the $250,000 glass tile interior he was installing.

“Sometimes I’ll come in and recommend that we create a team with a landscape architect, and a legitimate viable pool builder to really take on the project and make it what they are ultimately looking for.” said Reed.

Jimmy Reed continues to impress builders with his amazing eye for detail. – Photo Credit: Jimi Smith Photography

Advice For Those Aspiring To Learn Glass Tile Interiors

“Learn the techniques and the trade from the ground up, don’t take any shortcuts. It’s not just about putting tile on a pool. There is so much preparation involved. If you can master that, by the time you get to the tile installation part, that should be a breeze.” said Reed.

However when it comes to actually pulling off luxury tile interiors, Reed admits the number of installers capable of doing high end work at that level are far and few between.

Personally, we have seen our fair share of glass tile installations posted to social media showing evidence of catastrophic failure. Consequently, we asked Reed to weigh in on what folks may be doing wrong. Some of the failures have occurred in areas of the country where tile typically experiences more expansion from season to season. Reed stressed that proper surface preparation can account for expansion even in cold environments which aren’t traditional markets for glass tile interiors.

Builders sent a snapshot of the mosaic tile installation Reed did standing up to another harsh Wichita, Kansas winter.

Reed’s best advice for those tempted to take on glass tile if it is outside of their wheelhouse; “Don’t do it, or hire someone that’s experienced in those types of installations” he explained. Suggesting that because of the high price tag associated with glass tile interiors, doing one wrong could be prove to be extremely costly. “Homeowners doing a project of that nature typically have no problem taking care of themselves on an installation that goes wrong. I’d either go into it with the utmost confidence or not do it at all”, said Reed.

Many builders would love to be doing more glass tile interiors but there is a limited number of skilled tradesmen capable of taking on high end work. Many contractors are unwilling to learn how to properly install glass tile. We asked Reed if he saw a lot of that going on in the pool industry. “It’s very true, they don’t need to do the training because they are very busy as it is. It’s like learning a different trade. They don’t see it as learning how to do their trade better, it’s something completely foreign to them.”

A Return To The Norm

Although Covid-19 has seen unprecedented demand for inground pools, the pandemic has brought it’s fair share of challenges for many folks in the pool industry. This has also been true for Reed, who has had to scale back his operations. “We’ve been busy, but not as busy as we’re used to. We scaled down so our overhead is lower, our workforce is smaller. We’re still very busy though. This season has been nuts (referring to demand).”

We asked Reed if he expected a return to the norm soon, now that the demand associated for pools due to Covid-19 has begun to taper in the market; to which Reed responded “I do, at least we’re certainly seeing that on our side.”

Listen to our entire interview with Jimmy Reed on the Pool Magazine podcast

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Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email [email protected] or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to [email protected]

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Contractors and Builders

PHTA Debuts Pool Professionals Pipeline

Group plans to launch a robust jobseeker education program to fill pipeline with new talent.

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PHTA Debuts Pool Professionals Pipeline

(Alexandria, VA) – The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) today announced it is jumping into the waters of workforce development with its Pool Professionals Pipeline, a new program designed to help its members find workers, drive awareness amongst today’s jobseekers, and foster long-term career progression in the pool, hot tub, and aquatics industry.

“It’s no secret that many industries and businesses today are struggling to find and retain employees, and this is particularly true in trades such as ours,” says PHTA President and CEO Sabeena Hickman, CAE. “Our members are looking to PHTA to help fill that gap and we’re ready for the challenge. We are incredibly excited to share this new program with our membership and give them the tools they’ll need to compete in today’s labor market while working to attract a skilled, diversified, and thriving workforce.”

Underneath the PHTA’s Pool Professionals Pipeline workforce development umbrella is its external industry awareness campaign and jobseeker website, Work in Aquatics and workinaquatics.com, launching in 2023. Work in Aquatics will seek to advocate for trade professions by highlighting the numerous advantages, training and apprenticeship opportunities, job openings, and potential career progression tracks that are available working in the pool and hot tub industry. From construction labor to lifeguards, sales representatives, entrepreneurs, and even engineers and designers, there are many industry sectors and paths along the way that PHTA wants jobseekers to explore.

“This program is a game-changer for our industry as it works to drive qualified talent to our respective businesses and our industry as a whole,” says PHTA Chairman Charlie Claffey, owner of Claffey Pools. “To be successful, we’re going to need everyone on board as we work to put the industry on the radar of those searching for an alternative path to college; a rewarding career in a healthy lifestyle environment; the ability to work away from a desk; creative freedom through modern design; and lifesaving skills through swim instruction. The possibilities that exist in the aquatics industry are endless and once you begin in this line of work, you’ll never want to walk away. Let’s share that passion with the next generation of workers.”

A steering committee comprised of PHTA members, industry partners, and PHTA staff will serve in an advisory role to help guide programming, funding, and more:

  • Charlie Claffey, Claffey Pools
  • Joseph Laurino, Ph.D., Periodic Products, Inc.
  • Andrew Levinson, PoolCorp 
  • Elizabeth McMurray, Florida Swimming Pool Association 
  • Albert Miller, Hayward 
  • Dominick Mondi, Northeast Spa & Pool Association  
  • Kevin Post, Counsilman-Hunsaker  
  • Teri Wiltshire, Master Pools Guild  
  • Lisa Zarda, CAE, US Swim School Association 

Members, partners, and others interested in becoming involved in the PHTA Pool Professionals Pipeline can contact Seth Ewing, PHTA Senior Director of Member Programs & Services, at [email protected]  

Media Contact:
Amy Willer
Associate Director, Marketing and Communications
703-838-0083, ext. 121 | [email protected]

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Contractors and Builders

Basecrete Launches OnDeck Wearable Waterproofing System

OnDeck waterproofing system promises to be a real game changer for pool contractors.

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Basecrete Launches OnDeck Wearable Waterproofing System

When it comes to the waterproofing of residential and commercial pool vessels, Basecrete Technologies has long been a leader in waterproof bondcoatings for the pool and spa industry. Recently, Pool Magazine had the opportunity to catch up with Vito Mariano and Christopher Gates to discuss the newest innovation to hit the pool trade, OnDeck, a new system they claim will revolutionize waterproofing.

The OnDeck Difference

“The actual application process is super simple. It can go horizontal and vertical and can be textured as the installer sees fit. Heavy and light textures can be rolled on, shot on, or troweled on but it’s based on the same science as Basecrete,” said Gates, who will be managing the OnDeck product.

One of the primary reasons the new system is predicted to be a surefire hit with pool contractors is due to its versatility, which Gates says will be a game-changer. “You can take a new project and marry it to an old project. Our material allows you to build up an old existing deck that’s chipped and broken. You can clean it out and build up to two-inch lifts using the material to build that up so that it’s seamlessly the same elevation as the new concrete. Then you coat the whole thing with OnDeck and it all is just beautiful and elegant. That all happens out of one bag and bucket of polymer.,” explained Gates.

OnBase – OnDeck – OnTop is the 1,2,3 Waterproofing System Pool Contractors have been searching for.

Versatility and Customization

OnDeck is sure to appeal to contractors who have experienced frustration with other products in the past said Gates. As an industry veteran, he knows those frustrations first-hand, “you have to buy a bag of this for horizontal, and a bag of that for vertical, and a bag of that for waterproofing. Ours is just real simple,” explained Gates.

Color options and customization are a big factor when it comes to decking materials. OnDeck promises to alleviate many of those concerns as well. “The last coating is a pigmented stain and sealer which comes in seven different colors. We operate in a light base and a dark base so you can tint a custom color,” said Gates, “if you have a big project, say you were doing a stadium, for example, and you wanted to have the colors of the team, you can get your own color mixed with a lighter or darker base.”

A Cost Effective Waterproofing System

The OnDeck system is all the brain-child of Vito Mariano who has a history of producing award-winning products of this nature. His strategy for propelling the system into the market is to win contractors with a better product they can have at a smarter price point than what they’ve already been accustomed to using.

“Price per square foot is number one,” said Mariano, “OnDeck is not expensive and it’s a fast waterproofing decking system at the same time. Now you get all these new benefits that the industry isn’t used to; instead of just your typical low-end cementitious spray, roll on, epoxy or latex-based material. We’re staying focused on simplicity, our waterproofing capability, and price. That’s very important out there.”

OnDeck - Basecrete Decking System
OnDeck – Basecrete Decking System

Bringing OnDeck To The Industry

Mariano is confident in having an industry professional like Gates to help drive the product in the market. “I’ve been producing OnDeck for a long time. The formula goes back many years,” said Mariano, “and I’ve used it again and again for my own applications. I never really had the time to pursue it because I was busy with other products. We think Christopher will be ideal for us. He’s got an edge because he knows the industry and he gets it. “

The success of Basecrete has industry insiders eager to demo the OnDeck system. “I had a phone call from a gentleman I did a contract with a while back who wanted to thank me. He told me ‘Where has this product been? I’ve used everything out there in the last 35 years. I’ve never seen anything this good before.’ He now has 60 driveways totally converted to the OnDeck system and will be doing our training,” said Mariano.

Mariano expects many brand ambassadors to come forth and champion the product in the coming months. “We’ve got folks like Jose Garcia from Barefoot Pools in Arizona, chomping at the bit to get this product. He does phenomenal Basecrete applications on hundreds of pools. Those are the kind of companies and applicators that we’re going to go for,” said Mariano.

Gates, who has a long history in the pool industry, previously with California Pools and San Juan Pools; says the timing is ripe for a product of this nature.

OnDeck decking system by Basecrete Technologies
OnDeck decking system by Basecrete Technologies – Photo Credit: Basecrete

“On pool and deck projects many years ago we started doing polymer overlays and acrylic top coats. Every one of them kind of marched to the beat of their own drummer, and you had to figure each system out. You’d try to stick with one that you could use if you knew the idiosyncrasies of a given system,” explained Gates, “when Vito started telling me that it’s the same bag to make the material that goes on the flat deck, that goes up the walls, that waterproofs the corners; it’s just different mixing styles – that’s got me excited. That coupled with this fellow he’s talking about who will doing all the training for our team members that are coming on board makes it a no-brainer,” explained Gates.

Listen to our entire conversation and learn more about the OnDeck system on the Pool Magazine podcast.

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Contractors and Builders

Pentair Pool Builder Software May Just Be a Game Changer

We take a look under the hood at Pentair Pool Builder and discuss the software with developer Tommy Reynolds.

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Pentair Pool Builder Software May Just Be a Game Changer

These days pool builders are searching for best-in-class software that can help them save time, improve efficiency, and communicate better with customers. Pentair Pool Builder is a software that aims to do exactly that. While there are plenty of solutions out there geared toward design, few applications exist for managing a pool construction business. Pool builders in general prefer a system that offers flexibility, ease of use, and reliability. Consequently, Tommy Reynolds, the developer behind the software, said his app is the game changer that the pool industry has been waiting for. We had the chance to discuss the software with Reynolds on the Pool Magazine Podcast and got the opportunity to learn more about the features and benefits.

One on One With Pentair Pool Builder Developer, Tommy Reynolds

For Reynolds, the path toward developing the app started with building a pool. A seasoned software developer and entrepreneur, he was having a swimming pool of his own built and discovered that communication throughout the process was lacking.”I was going through building a pool and had some experiences. I felt like as a consumer, I should be a little bit more connected. That was kind of the premise of me getting involved in starting this project,” said Reynolds.

Frustrations With The Pool Building Process

For Reynolds, he felt that he knew what to expect before construction began but once things got started is when he felt the need for better communication. “When we got to construction, there were a few communication gaps. A lot of times they use subcontractors, and their availability could be at the drop of a hat. They’re going to be at your place unannounced to work on the pool.” explained Reynolds, when describing the frustrations.

“My dog had been let out a couple of times,” said Reynolds, “and so I just thought, ‘I wish there was an app that I could put on my phone that would tell me when someone’s going to be at the house, I could put the dogs away.’ I just felt like, maybe there’s an app for this. I approached my builder and asked him, ‘Do you have an app for me to use?’ And he said he didn’t. My next question was, ‘Does anybody have an app?'”

“He’s been building pools for 25 years, and an industry expert, and so he said he didn’t know of anything for the customer,” explained Reynolds, “so that really started the creative juices flowing and made me think I should just take this on as a passion project for him and I to work on something. I figured, if it works out, he can share this with the next customer, and then they could benefit from what we built.”

Reynold’s builder recognized the potential of what they had developed in a short time frame and began showing it to his Pentair dealer who took interest in the app and invited Reynolds to demonstrate it for the senior leadership team at Pentair. “I was invited to go to the International Pool & Spa Expo to show them what we’d been working on,” explained Reynolds, “When I showed them what we were doing, they said, ‘This is pretty cool and we’d like to be a part of it.'”

Reynolds, who began working locally with pool builders in Texas said word began to get around fast. “Once we got out there, we really knew that we had something. There’s a real demand and need for this type of product. So we started working with builders locally and then it just grew to what it is today,” explained Reynolds.

Learn more about Pentair’s new software for pool builders – Pentair Pool Builder

Communication is the #1 Challenge for Pool Builders

“I think the biggest challenge that a lot of pool builders have is just with communication and managing the customer’s expectations along with inner office communications and their subcontractors,” said Reynolds, “what Pentair Pool Builder really does is it addresses the communications gap. We start with the sales lead management process. When a salesperson goes out to the job site, they can begin taking photos and uploading those right then and there. We relieve some of the stress and friction just by allowing them to do things on the spot. The mobile application allows that salesperson to manage that lead throughout the process.”

Problems That Pentair Pool Builder Solves

Pentair Pool Builder promises to solve a few different problems that contractors face on a daily basis. Their mobile-friendly app enables builders to simplify job costing with real-time pricing updates and easily create instant estimates and change orders that be signed electronically. With a robust built-in CRM, salespeople can efficiently manage their leads and sales with better visibility.

Pentair Pool Builder is feature packed and has numerous cost saving benefits.

Core Benefits:

  • DITCH PRICING SHEETS
  • LESS WINDSHIELD TIME
  • EASY COMMUNICATION
  • EASY CHANGE ORDERS
  • HELP MANAGE MORE SALES
  • EASY INTEGRATION

What Pool Builders Are Saying About Pentair Pool Builder

  • “It gives the designers the ability to see what’s going on in real time.” – Susan Rodriguez, Office Manager, Cypress Custom Pools 
  • “It’s a very efficient app, and it has helped streamline the building process. For everybody.” – Tommie Fleeman, Project Manager, Backyard Oasis

Simplifying Pool Construction Management

Custom tailoring the pool construction management experience to a variety of contractors was key in developing a tool that can be universally adopted, said Reynolds. “It’s a completely customizable process. So how they build their pool may be different than someone else. They’re able to customize that experience to their process,” he explained.

“The construction module of the software is basically the orchestration of producing a swimming pool,” said Reynolds, “from the time they excavate it to the time they put water in it. All the processes that happen and all the people that it takes to make it happen are managed through the software which provides the ability for scheduling of resources. There are also notifications to let people know when it’s their time to do the job, as well as let other people know what’s happening on the job site.”

The integration of camera monitoring into the software system also promises to lower the amount of windshield time between visiting job sites, explained Reynolds. “Generally the project superintendents are having to drive job to job to check things out. Once we introduced the job site monitoring capability that we now have, it allowed them to do that remotely. Now, they can actually cover more jobs in a single day than they would by driving around to check on those jobs.”

Listen to Our Entire Discussion

Learn more about Pentair Pool Builder take a deeper dive by listening to our conversation with Tommy Reynolds on the Pool Magazine podcast. For those interested in learning more about the software or taking a demo, visit Pentair’s website.

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