Bernard E. Ventre, a longtime advertising salesman in the pool industry, passed away on Aug. 19 from cancer. He was 71.
Based in a Boston suburb, Ventre was a regional sales manager at Recreation Management magazine. Colleagues called him a tireless networker who could always be seen at industry shows with a smile on his face.
“He would walk the trade shows, meeting and greeting people and putting them together,” said Carol Ramundo, owner of CarMel Aquatic Solutions, a sales and marketing firm in New Jersey. “He opened a lot of doors to a lot of people.”
Ventre was born in Syracuse, N.Y. He received an undergraduate degree from Ohio University and an MBA from Suffolk University in Boston. He served in the Army, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, during the Vietnam era.
His career in publishing spanned nearly 40 years, with much of that dedicated to trade journals. After 10 years at Electronic News, Ventre struck out on his own for a time, launching a consumer-focused housing magazine serving New England. He then joined the Laux Co., a publisher of journals covering the corporate travel market, as vice president of sales, helping grow revenue from $1 million to north of $5 million.
Pool equipment manufacturers described him as a valued business partner.
“He was always on your side,” said Jeff Gray, a sales representative at Aqua Products, maker of Aquabot pool cleaners. “You can tell he enjoyed his work, that’s for sure.”
It was Ventre who convinced Aquabot to advertise its line of commercial products at a time when it was selling directly to the end user from its Garden Cove, N.J., plant.
Colleagues could always turn to Ventre for guidance.
“Through the years that I had the pleasure of working with Bernie, it was very clear that whenever anyone had a question or needed help, they could reach out to him,” Ramundo said.
He was the first person Chris Belbin hired when he became publisher of Recreation Management. The two had worked together previously at another trade magazine.
“He was quite helpful, being that he was a publisher at one time, and gave me a lot of guidance learning the publisher’s job,” Belbin said.
Their friendship spanned 20 years, with 12 of those at Recreation Management.
“He was an asset to our team for all that period of time,” Belbin said.