Along with marking its 50th anniversary this year, Blue Haven Pools & Spas celebrated another milestone. For the second consecutive year, the San Diego-based company took the No. 1 spot in Pool & Spa News’ Top 50 Builders list in revenue and volume.

Blue Haven’s coast-to-coast chain of 71 offices in 29 states and Puerto Rico built 6,261 pools in 2003, generating $221.5 million in sales. Company President Ron Zaberer says the continued success — and an anticipated growth rate of 20 percent in 2004 — boils down to one factor.

“We may have size, history and an exclusive product array on our side,” Zaberer says. “But when it comes to designing and building Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s pool, these factors mean little without the talent and drive of real people backing everything up.”

Attracting and training a high-caliber staff — and keeping them motivated — are fundamental to the company philosophy, he adds. Performance bonuses and national training conferences are two such incentives, but he says opportunity is the most important.

Take Beto Garcia, for example. In 1988, Garcia joined the firm’s San Antonio office as a design consultant. He soon rose to construction superintendent and then became sales manager. Now he is general manager of the company’s Oklahoma City operations.

“Today, my office has a portfolio of beautiful work and was just voted No. 1 builder by The Oklahoman newspaper’s Reader Poll,” Garcia says.

As effective as internal promotions and industry recruitment have been at meeting the company’s staffing needs, expansion decisions often hinge upon finding experienced locals. If management is unable to find a current employee willing to relocate, for instance, it will train new hires to take the reins while learning about the company’s business approach.

Indeed, expansion efforts are continuing, Zaberer says. The target list includes large Midwestern cities such as Detroit and Minneapolis, New England markets such as Boston, and smaller Sun Belt markets such El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Regardless of the area, Zaberer says all the new offices will focus on serving and providing value for the company’s core customer: the residential pool buyer.


  • Top 50 Builders

View the list of the Top 50 Builders.


  • 1 Blue Haven Pools & Spas
  • 2 Anthony & Sylvan Pools Corp.
  • 3 Paddock Pools
  • 4 Shasta Industries
  • 5 Swan Pools