Olympus Pools reputation in the Tampa area has certainly seen better days. Owners James & Alexis Staten currently face a firestorm of customer complaints and unwanted media attention from consumer advocates. Allegations of unfinished pools and unpaid subcontractors have tarnished the once sterling reputation of the Lutz, FL based company.
In a previous article we wrote about Olympus Pools, we reported how locals in Tampa were beginning to express frustration that their inground pool projects had not been completed in a timely fashion. At the time of publication, owners James and Alexis Staten were unavailable for comment. Shortly after the publication of our original article, owner James Staten reached out to us to convey his side of story. Sadly, it resembles many similar stories we’ve heard lately. Staten explained that a lack of materials is causing a series of delays in the construction of his companies projects.
“We are simply staring at a perfect storm of too many projects and a lack of parts and equipment to finish everyone’s projects in a timely fashion.” said Staten on a phone call with Pool Magazine Editor Joe Trusty, last week.
When we inquired as to how Staten responds to allegations that he has not paid subcontractors like Aaron Allen, Staten said this was emphatically false.
“I wasn’t even aware of who this guy was until all this happened in the media to be honest with you.” Staten suggested that a list of former clients, employees and subcontractors were picking this as the opportune time to kick Olympus Pools while they were down. “They are piggybacking off the notoriety this issue is getting” said Staten “Plain and simple, that’s all that is”.
When we asked how Staten intends to alleviate consumer concerns that his company will fold, Staten responded “We aren’t going anywhere. We want our customers to know that above all else, completing their projects is our number one priority. We have been a part of this community for years and are committed to finishing their pools.”
Olympus Pools has posted a message on their website that there is currently a 5 month wait to even begin a construction project. When we mentioned the fact that customers on social media seemed frustrated that Olympus Pools continues to take on new work while their pools remain unfinished, Staten responded “We are not selling anymore pools this year – period. We fully intend to complete the pool projects we’ve started as quickly as possible”.
Staten whose business Olympus Pools has become well known in the pool industry, expressed concern that his companies reputation had come under such a barrage of bad publicity as of late. When we discussed the root cause and underlying issues generating customer complaints Staten replied “We did not anticipate the incredible difficulties we’ve had this year being able to meet deadlines because of ongoing delays.”
Staten cited shortages as the primary culprit causing delays and consequently so many customer complaints as of late. He suggested that Olympus Pools was experiencing the fallout of the recent Texas freeze taking many essential components off the market. “Valves are impossible to find right now” said Staten “The problem is not unique, there are alot of pool companies experiencing the same customer complaints due to all of these shortages.”
Staten, who sounded exhausted on the phone expressed gratitude at being able to tell his companies side of the story, if only to fellow contractors in the pool industry. “I’m certain that there are other companies out there like us that are going through the same thing right now. All I can tell you is that we are building these pools as quickly as we possibly can. We are not taking on any new business until we can catch up.”
Dave Penton – Builder, Mentor, Professor
We’re chatting with Dave Penton, Co-Host of Ask The Masters and Professor for Watershape University
Dave Penton is probably one of the most recognizable voices in the pool industry. As a Co-Host of the Ask The Masters Podcast, and Professor at Watershape University, Dave has been a mentor to countless builders in the field of pool construction.
A certified PhD in Pool Construction, if there was such a thing – David Penton is pretty much omnipresent in the pool industry. Here is a man who is involved at such a high level in this field and has given back so much to the industry over the past few years. It’s tough to discern exactly how he finds time for it all.
Penton has been involved in a number of high profile pools over the years. His construction projects have been featured in The Robb Report, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Luxury Pools, and now we are privileged to be able to highlight and profile his incredible story and body of work in Pool Magazine.
Penton first got started in the pool industry back in 1992. His company at the time Krystal Klear Pools, originally focused on pool & spa maintenance and repair services. Receiving his state contractors license, the company continued to work on bigger and bigger projects. Dave began developing a reputation as one of the leading service providers in Orange County for his residential and commercial work. His company, Krystal Klear Pools continued to grow until he received his C-53 pool construction license in 2003. Penton decided to sell his service business to focus on pool construction full time and re-branded the company as Fluid Dynamics.
His first major project was a $100,000 remodel. A pool builder friend of his guided him through his initial forray into the industry and helped him learn the ropes. Penton committed himself to learning as much as he could, as quickly as he could and became a voracious student. Penton credits studying with organizations like Genesis with providing the stepping stones he needed to becoming one of the industries high-end builders.
Fast forward to 2021, his company Fluid Dynamics has been responsible on numerous high end pool construction projects all over Los Angeles and Orange County. Dave’s body of work includes the type of high end restoration projects that only the leaders in the industry at the pinnacle of their career get to work on. Penton recently worked an incredible restoration project at The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades and another restoration of the fountain at the historic Century Towers property.
Projects like an over-the-top 26 by 100 foot pool in Bel Air are all in a days work for this master pool builder. With a laundry list of high profile inground pool projects, Penton has worked with a veritable who’s who in the pool industry including top names in construction and design like Jimmy Reed, Shane LeBlanc, and many others.
As one of the leading experts in the country, Dave has found time to give back to the pool industry in so many ways over the years. His transition now to Mentor has seen him function as an instructor for both the Genesis program, and now Watershape University where he teaches today.
We asked Dave how he finds time for it all, and what the transition has been like to becoming a mentor for other builders “I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without people doing the same thing for me.” said Penton who claims to find it immensely rewarding to be able to give back in the form of imparting his expertise on other builders. “That rhythm has always been established since the beginning of my career for learning or being able to carve out time for giving back” said Penton.
Prior to joining Watershape University, Dave was an instructor for Genesis – one of the leading training programs in the pool industry. His split from the organization is now common knowledge. We asked him some pointed questions about his separation from Genesis. We also asked him to clear up a few ambiguities that come from questions we have seen posed again and again in social media groups.
The pool industry itself is huge but in the ecosystem we live in, everyone talks to one another so it’s kind of like a small town the way word travels so fast. Dave was already familiar with the topic at hand and replied “Bill Drakely and David Peterson had a different vision for education and decided they could do a great job on their own.” said Penton “I love Dave and Bills vision for the industry and I’m just happy to be a part and be a contributing professor and continue to give back to the industry”.
Penton summarized one of the distinctions between the two programs being the pace of which matriculation occurs from one level to the next.
“What I like about Watershape University is that you can move from your Associates, to your Bachelors, to your Masters quickly” said Penton “There’s also recognition at various levels of your education as opposed to having to wait until you’ve completed the entire course”.
We inquired as to whether the course curriculum is the same. “As far as the program goes there are some overlaps,” he replied. “There are instructors that teach for both organizations.” Penton advised anyone interested in either of the two programs to compare course descriptions and teacher bios in order to make an assumption as to which program best suits their educational pursuits.
Penton, who regularly consults with a dream team including Paolo Benedetti (Swimming Pool Expert Witness), Randy Beard, Rick Chafey and many others is probably one of the most knowledgeable folks in the pool industry. He says programs like Genesis and Watershape University have given him the foundation and vernacular to be able to communicate at various levels in the industry with expert knowledge.
“It creates a more well rounded individual” said Penton “Understanding both sides of it makes pool builders better understand the design side, and conversely it makes pool designers better understand the construction side.”
You cannot discount the fact that Penton has taken the opportunity to reinvest back into his education. He has done so at every stage in his career. Education is something Penton encourages professionals pursuing a career in the industry to consider very strongly. The program he teaches today at Watershape University is an excellent pathway towards continuing ones training in the field of pool construction.
You can follow the Ask The Masters Podcast where they speak with expert knowledge on a variety of different topics associated with the pool industry. We subscribe to it and you should too. Listen to our complete interview with Dave Penton on the Pool Magazine Podcast.
All Photos Courtesy of Fluid Dynamics
Claffey Pools Helps Residents Recover From Freeze Damage, With Help from Above
Claffey Pools team of nearly 100 employees are working tirelessly to restore nearly 1,000 area pool systems after the recent deep freeze.
After a freezing winter storm shut down power in Texas in February, many pool owners experienced damage. With plumbing lines and equipment compromised, tens of thousands of pools across Texas were damaged beyond use. The Claffey Pools team of nearly 100 employees continues to work tirelessly to restore nearly 1,000 area pool systems. Serving North Texas for more than 30 years, Claffey Pools specializes in pool construction, service and renovation. Several weeks later, the Claffey Pools team can see the finish line on what has been and will be its most complicated and challenging endeavor. We sat down with Claffey Pools president Charlie Claffey to learn more about how his team weathered the storm.
FOR MORE THAN 34 YEARS… Claffey Pools has built more than 10,000 pools in North Texas. The Claffey Pools team is ranked third in the United States according to the “Pool and Spa News” Top 50 builders. Claffey Pools helps lead the industry by assisting in the adoption of Texas’ first uniform pool building code, serving the Texas Pool and Spa Coali- tion, the International Code Council, the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance and the Master Pools Guild.
WE ARE INDUSTRY LEADERS BECAUSE… of the tireless efforts of our staff, the talents of our trade partners and a culture centered on a passionate commitment for excellence.
TEXAS WAS DEVASTATED… by this winter weather. The never-before-seen cold, combined with power outages that, in some cases, lasted for days, caused immeasurable damage to homes and pools across the state. In what may go down as the single largest weather-related disaster in our nation’s history, swimming pools that rely on electricity to keep water moving were frozen solid.
WE WERE OVERWHELMED… with hundreds of calls, emails and texts in the days of the freeze. Our team assisted hundreds of clients at all hours of the night with calls and field visits. After the first few days, it was apparent that managing the requests without centralized communication and processes was impossible. In less than 24 hours, our team developed a web portal that gathered the data necessary to categorize damages and dispatch field personnel. The portal went live at 5 p.m. on February 18. By February 20, we were faced with the daunting task of performing nearly 900 freeze assessments.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE… in the last month can only be explained as miraculous. With our backs against the wall, the God-inspired ideas, systems, communication and execution is unfounded. The teamwork of employees, trade partners, supply side partners and manufacturing partners will forever change us. Our team, with daily help from above, has performed 900 assessments and estimates and repaired over 700 pools, covering a 120-mile radius, in just seven weeks. From what we are being told, the industry will be lucky to finish the balance of the repairs in seven months.
WE HAVE INCREDIBLE… team members that have worked seven-day weeks since the freeze event started — many working 20 hour days. We have incredible trade partners and manufacturing relationships that have been critical to the process. We have amazing people who have done amazing things.
WE ARE GRATEFUL… to God for the inspiration and guidance. From being inspired to clear the entire supply side chain inventory before anyone else reacted to being guided to design website portals, mechanized assessments and workflow management tools, our team has always been a step ahead.
THANK YOU… to our loyal clients. Throughout the entire process, our amazing clients have allowed us to pilot processes, use their homes as assessment training grounds, helped us feed our employees and even remodeled a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in one week — just to allow us to hold a never-before-seen amount of product. The friendships that are created as a result of working for so many of you is what makes each day special. Thank you.
Article originally posted at: https://www.southlakestyle.com/community/business/claffey-pools-helps-residents-recover-from-freeze-damage-wit/
Swimming Pool Collapse Kills Worker in Orange County
Swimming Pool Collapse Kills Pool Contractor in Orange County
California emergency workers recovered the body of a man buried in the collapse of a swimming pool under construction. Firefighters filled the streets of a gated Orange County community Saturday, December 19, 2020. They removed the body of a man who had died after being buried under soil that collapsed on top of him and a crew that were excavating an area for an inground swimming pool, authorities said.
Swimming Pool Collapse Buries Pool Contractor Luciano Gonzalez Munoz
The victim, a pool contractor identified as Luciano Gonzalez Munoz, 45, died as he was digging a swimming pool wall for a project that he was working on , according to Supervising Deputy Coroner Larry Esslinger.
Firefighters had to bring in an outside commercial construction company with a massive crane in order to help them haul out tons of dirt and debris from the backyard in the 6200 block of Cliffway Drive.
Orange FD confirms a worker died after he was buried under soil that collapsed on him while working in hole excavated to install a backyard swimming pool on Cliffway Drive. About 75 personnel are on scene attempting to recover the body. Story coming. @ocregister— Nathan Percy (@NDPercy) December 19, 2020
Early Sunday morning, experts brought in the crane attached to a 3,000 pound rectangular steel drum. Workers then used the drums to scoop out enough dirt in order recover the mans body. The huge crane itself blocked off most of the street for hours and left the entire area congested with police and fire vehicles.
The man was buried midmorning while building a pool wall on Saturday. O’Connor said firefighters got an emergency 9-11 call about a man trapped in a collapsed pool at the home just before 11 a.m. By the time they arrived, other workers were already at the site desperately trying to dig out the man. The victim was buried up to his neck complained of having difficulty breathing.
Concerned about the unstable soil of the cliffside, the firefighters evacuated workers, then began digging themselves. Approximately 30 minutes later, a second collapse caused the victim to be completely buried. After several hours without being able to communicate with the man, the fire crews switched the operation from a rescue to a body recovery. Coroner’s officials and Cal OSHA were investigating.
O’Connor said the fire department had trauma counselors on standby to talk to the man’s coworkers and boss who immediately came to the job site. The unfortunate homeowners, were also apparently home throughout the entire ordeal, were also visited by the crisis counseling team.
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