Family. It’s a word heard often in the swimming pool and spa industry. Of course, the products the professionals build, sell and repair center around family and bringing people together.
But it also happens to be the backbone of the industry. It's no secret that a very large percentage of the businesses that make up the world of pools and spas have been passed down from father and mother to daughter and son.
April 23 marks the 23rd annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and while in a sense, for many every day is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, Pool & Spa News is taking this opportunity to mark the event by looking back at some articles and videos highlighting the professionals who have shared their legacies with their children.
While we can’t include everyone, here’s a look at a small sampling of the many firms and families that have shaped the pool and spa industry.
Kicking things off is The No. 3 Top 50 builder in 2014, Shasta Pools. Founded by Bob Ast in 1966 and joined by his brother Skip a year later, the family tradition continues with Skip's son, Jeff, who serves as vice president of construction.
Another Top 50 Builder, Rising Sun Pools is co-owned by siblings Tara Onthank, Mike Vassallo and Gina daRoza. All three grew up working alongside their father, Charlie Vassallo, in the Raleigh, N.C.-based company. But when he sadly passed away in 2003, they quickly determined it was fitting to carry on his legacy.
They continue to do their father proud. In 2013, the company was names Retailer of the Year by the The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. Since 2009, the company has been named a Top 50 Builder by Pool & Spa News.
Each year, Pool & Spa News produces a special theme issue for the annual Int'l Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, and in 2013 it focused on the future leaders of the pool and industry. Among the list: Hamlin Pools of Pharr, Texas, Locey Swim & Spa in Portage, Mich., Rosebrook Custom Inground Pools in Libertyville, Ill. and Townley Pool & Spa of Little Rock, Ark. Read about how these companies are making a difference in the industry and paving the way for others.
Last year, the industry bid farewell to Edward Nejame, Sr.
But the Top 50 Builder carries on thanks to his sons, Tom, Ed and Greg, who joined the firm as partners in the mid-1980s after working at the company during their teens. Of course, this is but a small sampling of the children who are continuing in the footsteps of their parents. But it all began when the fathers and mothers took their kids to work. Are you a family firm that has yet to be discovered by Pool & Spa News? Or have a favorite you think sets the best example for the family-oriented pool and spa industry? Have young ones of your own and plan to bring them to the office tomorrow in honor of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? We want to know. Send us a photo and share your thoughts in the comments section below.