Aquatech has concluded a year of honoring the group’s golden anniversary by gathering for its annual conference and rolling out a new branding initiative.

The organization, founded in 1962, held the January event at the Grand Wailea resort on the island of Maui, with 753 people representing 180 companies in attendance.

“We went to Hawaii thinking it needs to be special because of the 50th anniversary,” said Jeff Fausett, Aquatech’s president. “The most common thing that we heard, and I have to agree, is that it was the best event we ever had. It had quality speakers and quality education. The weather was great, and people were in a good mood because the season was better than it had been in a while.”

At the conference, Aquatech officials also introduced a new branding initiative. Though the group operates under the Aquatech name, it has two types of members — Aquatech builders and AquaValue retailers. It is now looking for a different moniker for the umbrella company.

“We’re like the General Motors of the pool industry, where we have multiple brands,” Fausett said. “So we’re looking for a new umbrella brand. Having one name that is above all helps you brand in a single direction without confusing the public about who’s a retailer and who’s a builder.”

Aquatech and AquaValue would continue to be used by their current constituents, he added. “And, just like GM is over Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac, you’d have a premium name over Aquatech and AquaValue,” he said. “The idea is to try to knit them together with a similar theme. You’d probably have a similar logo, coloring and font so that you can homogenize the marketing and branding.”

As to the exact name the group will use, it is currently in the research/proposal stage. Fausett expects a selection to be made in the next one to three months.

Aquatech also announced that it has retained Manor House Advertising to implement this initiative, along with the group’s marketing. The Warminster, Penn.-based firm has 35 years’ experience advertising for pool and spa companies. Besides its work for the overall organization, it will help member companies with all levels of marketing, from direct mailing to web design.

Along with the new initiatives, attendees of the conference took in several sessions and seminars, including a keynote address by author and motivational speaker Mark Scharenbroich, who discussed remaining positive and developing relationships in all parts of life. Janine Driver, author and president of the Body Language Institute, shared some of the lessons she learned as a former investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about presenting the right message with nonverbal cues.

Next year’s annual conference will take place Feb. 2-8, 2014, in Phoenix.