In 1999, Buzz Ghiz established the Paramount Advisory Committee Enterprise. Buzz’s mission was to assist his fellow pool companies with business practices to grow our industry.
Buzz accomplished what he set out to do. Any PACE attendee of
the past 10 years will tell you that the gathering has proven
PACE continues to meet for its annual business conference. While
attending in 2007, I realized it would be beneficial to establish a
similar retreat concept in the Midwest. Using the strategies I
already knew were successful, I focused my efforts on firms closer
in size and volume to my own, Pools of Fun. After all, we are all dealing
with the same market trends.
I also decided to include various levels of company personnel. I
strongly feel that a firm is only as good as its employees, and
that includes hard workers in addition to managers and owners.
It’s important to recognize all your assets, especially in
tough economic times.
For my group, I focused on inviting department heads in sales,
marketing, retail, service and financing. While high-level
executives are invaluable in the business world, they are often so
busy that they might not be aware of the smaller efforts that have
been successful in their companies. With those added voices, we are
able to share any ideas we have tried. For instance, financing has
been almost impossible to get recently, but when one person in our
group is able to find even a small solution to that issue, we all
When people from different companies and different job
descriptions work together, a cross-section of issues emerges. Only
then can we begin to share real solutions.
Including those folks turned out to be the best decision I could
have made. After that first gathering at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway (which I dubbed “Racing Toward Success”), the
participants told me it was one of the most worthwhile conferences
they’d ever attended. They felt there were very few times in
our business that individual companies could get together and work
toward the same goal without competing.
It’s been two years since the Midwest retreat came to be,
and the areas we cover have morphed to reflect the concerns of the
entire industry. In our second gathering last year, topics included
compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act,
strategies for Websites, alternative revenue sources, customer
retention and a range of other important subjects.
Often in this industry, we see our neighboring firms only as
competition. But when we band together, our whole market can
improve. When that happens, everyone wins.