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Dr. R. Neil Lowry $5,000 Grant Awarded – PHTA

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(ALEXANDRIA, VA)—The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) has awarded the 2021 Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant to the City of North Richland Hills in Texas. The winner was announced during the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) 2021 Virtual Annual Education Conference (AEC) awards ceremony.  

Given in the memory of Dr. Robert Neil Lowry, a long-time member of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and the Recreational Water Quality Committee (RWQC), this $5,000 grant honors a public health official or department who has made outstanding contributions to advance the public’s health and safe use of recreational water in pools, spas, and waterparks through educational, safety, operational, and technical programs.

(L to R: Meagan Fendley with NRH Neighborhood Services, Marcus Hodges with NRH Fire, Captain Paxton [The NRH Water Safety 365 superhero in memory of Paxton Wages], and Sarah Hageman with NRH Parks and Recreation.)

The award was accepted virtually by Meagan Fendley, Neighborhood Services, City of North Richland Hills. Jody O’Grady, Director of Product Management and Customer Programs, Taylor Technologies, Inc., and Chair of the PHTA RWQC, presented the award via video.

The City of North Richland Hills created the NRH Water Safety 365 drowning prevention program after two North Richland Hills residents, 15-year-old Connor Gage and 4-year-old Paxton Wages, fatally drowned. Seven City departments and numerous community partners worked together to develop resources that reach a variety of audiences, including a color-and-learn storybook about water safety for children, a handbook for residential pool and spa owners, water safety curriculum for childcare providers and teachers, and an annual preseason safety class for public aquatic facility operators.

With the Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant, the City of North Richland Hills will create a mobile and interactive display about the layers of protection that would be used at community events, school outreach events, and local aquatic facilities. The City will also purchase additional educational materials to distribute throughout the community.

“The City of North Richland Hills really stood out among this year’s nominees,” says Terry Snow, Owner of TLS Pool Service in Upland, CA, and PHTA RWQC Awards Subcommittee Chair. “The fact that they already have a water safety outreach program in place and are already working with community partners to raise awareness of drowning prevention makes us confident that they will continue to do great work with the grant funds. We congratulate the City of North Richland Hills on what they have accomplished and are proud to help them reach an even wider community through the Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant.” 

Past winners of the Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant include: Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, 2019; Arizona Department of Health Services, 2018; Quechan Parks & Recreation, 2017; Riverside County California Department of Health, 2016; Columbus Public Health, 2015; Middlesex-London Health Unit of London, Ontario, 2014; Brevard County Environmental Health Services Department, 2013; Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, 2012; Alexandria Health Department, 2011; City of Houston, 2010; and City of Plano, 2009. 

For more information about the Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant, visit https://www.phta.org/membership/promote-your-business/phta-awards-of-excellence/dr-r-neil-lowry-grant/.

About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit www.phta.org

About PHTA’s Recreational Water Quality Committee (RWQC)
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance’s RWQC develops and maintains verifiable science-based information regarding sanitization technology and chemical products, for use in pools, spas and hot tubs. The committee also writes the chemical and sanitation sections for American National Standards Institute (ANSI) PHTA standards, including the ANSI/PHTA-11 Standard for Water Quality in Public Pools and Spas. For a current listing of Committee members or more information, email Genevieve Lynn in the PHTA Standards Department at standards@phta.org.

Marianne Trusty is a Press Correspondent for the pool & spa industry. A published author and social media influencer reaching over 20 million people around the world each day. Contact Marianne about publishing op-editorials, breaking pool news and press releases at mtrusty@poolmagazine.com.

Press Releases

A new Heat Retention Cover from Plastipack Ltd

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Plastipack announces new Raeguard Pool Cover

New to Plastipack’s high performance Guard range, RaeGuard™ is a covering material designed specifically to optimise heat retention.

Energy and resource preservation has never been more vital to reduce running costs and minimise the environmental impact of running a pool. Few technologies offer more efficient and higher returns than simply covering the pool. However, for indoor pools or commercial pools in use throughout the day the impact of a solar cover is limited, with alternative heating solutions being costly.

Here at Plastipack, we are making it our aim to ensure that every pool is covered.

RaeGuard™ offers the affordability of a bubble cover while still offering 90% of the performance of a 5mm foam cover. Using Plastipack’s knowledge of light to matter interactions through the development of award-winning products like the patented EnergyGuard™ Selective Transmission cover, we have optimised the optical properties of RaeGuard™ to maximise heat retention and minimise heat losses by up to 57%.

Offering typical payback times of less than a year, RaeGuard™ makes an attractive and effective solution to reducing a pool’s energy and resource consumption.

REFLECT. INSULATE. ELIMINATE.
RaeGuard™’s unique properties work to actively reduce heat losses from a pool’s surface by up to 57%. The specially selected pigments of the silver & white layers are designed to reflect and scatter radiative heat, and maximise reflection in the targeted mid-infrared region.

The unique GeoBubble™ air cell provides an insulating barrier which works to prevent the transfer of thermal energy away from the surface of a pool. Covering your pool helps to eliminate evaporation. When a pool is covered, instead of using energy to turn water into vapour, your pool water retains its thermal energy and stays warmer.

These combined features provide 90% of the performance of a traditional 5mm foam cover, making RaeGuard™ a high-performance, cost-effective solution for heat retention.

Featuring the unique GeoBubble™ Technology air cell design and enhanced UV stabilisation, RaeGuard™ comes with a 6-year manufacturer’s warranty and a 6-year plus expected lifespan.

RaeGuard™ is also available with a reinforced woven top layer for enhanced longevity and durability.

About Plastipack: Plastipack Ltd is an independent specialist manufacturer of cover materials for swimming pools and water storage solutions. We pride ourselves on our superior manufacturing and quality, and consistently invest in research and development, creating and refining scientifically tested materials. Our materials are supplied to fabricators around the world in a weld-ready roll format which our customers fabricate into covers.

Contact us to find out more: info@plastipack.co.uk

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Press Releases

Pioneer Joe Vassallo Celebrating Paragon Pools 20th Anniversary

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Paragone Pools celebrates its 20th anniversary

(Las Vegas, NV) July 15, 2021. In July 2001, a thriving economy and a longing desire to take
control of his own destiny in business, Joseph Michael Vassallo parlayed his 13 years’
experience in the pool industry to open Paragon Pools, a custom in-ground pool and spa design and construction company. Twenty years later, Paragon Pools’ list of accomplishments has even surpassed its founder’s expectations.

Joseph Vassallo is a pool industry leader is celebrating Pargon Pools 20th anniversary.

Working side-by-side with Vassallo is his son, Joseph Jr.; both hold the state required Qualified
Expert (QE) rating, as well as the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance- PHTA (Formally the APSP)
Certified Building Professional (CBP) credentials, the association’s top scholastic honors.
Vassallo’s company has beat the odds according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for private
sector establishments. Data indicates- of companies that opened in 2001 (between April 2001-
March 2002) 54.8% survived to year 5 and only 22.9% have a survival rate at year 19. (BLSannual opening-year ended March 2002). Vassallo believes the key to success for a small
business is to be adaptable to the market and economic climates.

Vassallo Sr. passes the torch of excellence to his son Joe Vassallo Jr. – Vice President of Paragon Pools

Today, the family-owned business is known locally as well as internationally for their innovative design concepts, industry involvement, consumer awareness, safety activism and community service.

The Vassallo’s established the design principle of “AquaTekture™”: the discipline of designing,
engineering and erecting of water environments and ancillary components, in a harmonious
nature with consideration to function, space and aesthetics. Innovative concepts such as the signature WetFlame ™, combination water and fire feature were instrumental in igniting a major trend in the pool industry, as well as obtaining a feature segment on HGTV.

Taking an active role in the PHTA was a natural step for Vassallo Sr. “I initially became
involved with the PHTA because of numerous regulations being introduced at the local, state and national levels. I knew it was important to have a say in the regulations that directly impacted our industry and the consumer. In each situation, through my involvement as a representative of the PHTA we were successful in developing reasonable and economical solutions that allowed the industry to prosper as well as protect the consumer.”

Both Vassallo’s served on PHTA’s Builders Education Committee and were contributors to the
3rd & 4th editions of the PHTA Builders Manual- the industry’s leading technical publication.
And, as a noted educator, Vassallo Sr. has presented higher-level seminars for international
expositions. Joseph Sr. served on the PHTA National Board of Directors and is a Past-President
of the Builder’s Council, he continues to serve on the Builders Council and Education
Committee. His work with the PHTA earned him the 2012 CBP of the Year Award and in 2014
he was named to the Fellows Program.

He shares his expertise with consumers as well as with industry professionals. A former
contributing columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal (RJ)– Home section, his pools and spa
column ran for two years (2006-2008). The column resulted in Vassallo penning an awardwinning, coffee table book, The Al Fresco Life: Pools, Spas, Bars & Kitchens featuring Paragon Pools’ projects across the Las Vegas valley. He continued to be a featured writer for the RJ for the next 10 years.

He was also contributing author for the international publication, Waves: India’s Pool, Spa and
Bath Magazine from 2011-2013. His extensive credentials make him the “go to” expert for the media where he is tapped for advice and commentary on a range of issues from design trends to safety applications, how to select a reputable contractor and the do and don’ts of remodeling.

A stalwart water safety activist, Vassallo Sr. launched “Float Like A Duck” in 2003, a water
safety initiative with a mission of “Educating the public on the importance of SAFETY while
celebrating the joys of water sports!” The initiative has developed into a multi-faceted, awardwinning program. Paragon Pools partners with major supporters including first responders, local media, industry vendors and the YMCA to provide a variety of programs free to the public.

The multitude of design, business and philanthropic awards that line the walls and shelves of the office remind the Vassallos of the importance of delivering high-quality projects to every client, as well as giving back to community.

A collection of international design awards includes numerous PHTA- Awards of Excellence,
Pool and Spa News- Masters of Design Awards, Signature Pool & Spa- Design Awards, ADASBest Pool Award, PebbleTec- World’s Greatest Pools, AQUA Choice Awards, and an HD
Magazine- HEIDI Award, and Las Vegas Parade of Homes- Best Pool Award.

As for business accolades, Paragon Pools was named to the Aqua 100 Hall of Fame, after
receiving the Aqua 100 Award, five years consecutively, presented to Top pool industry
businesses in the US. Paragon Pools is the only builder in the state of Nevada to attain the Aqua 100 status. In 2009, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce honored Vassallo Sr. as Entrepreneur of the Year. Vassallo Jr was named to the Vegas, Inc (formally InBusiness) 2011 40-Under-40. Both were named Distinguished Men of Southern Nevada for 2012 & 2015. And Paragon Pools was a finalist in the Nevada Business Magazine Family-Owned Businesses 2011.

Vassallo Sr’s community work with water safety, the CCSD Title-1 HOPE homeless education
program, the Salvation Army Food Bank and other non-profits has been recognized by many
entities including proclamations from the Mayor, as well as congressional citations from the state and national level. He has been presented with the Citizens of Distinction, The Jefferson Award, the Golden Hands Service Award, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance- Community Lifesaver Award, the National Water Safety Congress- Award of Merit, American Country Countdown w/Kix Brooks- Kidde Hero of the Week, and the President’s Council on Sports Fitness & Nutrition-Community Leadership Award.

That leap of faith to open his business has been presented with challenges over the years,
especially when the housing industry went bust (2007-2009), but the tenacious Vassallo met
those challenges head-on, even altering the business model to accommodate an alternative client base. When the company opened in 2001, its clients consisted of residential projects more specifically new home construction. In 2007, the company’s client list became a combination of residential and commercial projects with an increased focus on remodeling and renovations of existing pools, and spas. Advanced education, experience and crucial industry contacts gave Vassallo and his team the credentials and capability to take on problematic and difficult projects.

As the economy slowly improved so too was the growth of new construction in both the
commercial and residential sectors. The desire for new pools grew with fewer requests for remodels. Then, the Pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, and the demand for a backyard pool exploded. “It seemed like everyone in the city was calling us for a pool. And they wanted it NOW,” explains Vassallo. “We have always prided ourselves on being very responsive to our clients. However, the industry climate in Vegas and across the nation is making it difficult to operate in a manner that meets our strict standards. There is a decrease in the labor force and a shortage of products. This makes it challenging to complete projects and it also means an increase in prices for the consumer. We have worked through challenges in the past, and this is just another phase for our company to conquer.”

“When I look back at the last twenty years I think, “Did we really accomplish all that”, exclaims
Vassallo Sr. “But when you’re passionate about what you do, it’s not difficult to share it with
others. I believe that passion has been evident to our clients over the years, and they have
allowed our visions to become part of their lives. For that we are grateful.”

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Press Releases

SCP Drops Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Olympus Pools

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Olympus Pools was being sued by SCP for $1 million dollars

A lawsuit filed against Olympus Pools for $1 million, which was widely reported by Tampa Bay area news outlets in May, was dropped earlier this month, according to a news release issued by Olympus Pools Tuesday. 

On July 1, the two companies executed a settlement agreement and agreed to continue working together, the news release said. 

“This is a major accomplishment and step forward that will hopefully offer some much-needed peace of mind to our customers and sub-contractors,” said James Staten, founder of Olympus Pools. “I’d really like to thank our great legal team at Peterson Law Group in New Smyrna Beach and Ausley McMullen in Tallahassee for helping us to reach this resolution. Additionally, I’m beyond proud of the progress and efforts our entire operations team is making. Without them, none of this would be possible.” 

According to Staten, the progress Olympus has made has been nothing short of significant. Since May 10, Olympus Pools has accomplished the following: 

  • More than 100 pools have passed final inspection.
  • 50 pools were shot with concrete.
  • More than 40 pre-grades have been completed.
  • More than 40 pools have had plumbing completed.
  • Brick and Tile work has been completed on more than 35 pools.
  • 19 screen enclosures have been completed.
  • 25 pools have had electric work completed.
  • 11 decks have been completed.
  • 15 pools have had plaster work completed.

“Barring a major hurricane or something outside of our control, at this rate, we confidently expect to be back to our normal production schedules by the end of August or early September,” said Staten. “Additionally, customers can hopefully see the end in sight, as we are targeting for all pools currently under construction with Olympus to be finished by Christmas, if not sooner.”

With the SCP lawsuit behind them, Staten says their attorneys will now be able to focus on helping the company move forward to complete open projects and protect the company’s name and reputation.  While Olympus recognizes the delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide material shortages which followed the pandemic, Olympus must address false accusations or defamatory statements about the company. 

Olympus Pools, which was founded in 2010 by Staten, has completed more than 3,000 projects throughout the state of Florida, and the company looks forward to completing many more projects for the Tampa Bay area in the years to come.

Olympus Pools
Public Relations Representative

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