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    Credit: EVAN BROWN

Here we are in the 21st century, yet it still surprises many people to see a female-owned pool service company. It shouldn’t.

Women own more than 8.3 million companies in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing 7.7 million people, according to the “2012 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,” commissioned by American Express.

The inroads made by females in male-dominated industries such as pool service have been steady — and one service professional helping make it happen is Stewart Vernon, founder of America’s Swimming Pool Co., based in Macon, Ga. ASP is a pool maintenance and repair franchise firm that was started in 2001, and currently has territories in more than 175 cities in nine states.

“Our industry could stand to get more diverse,” Vernon says. “[So many] females have incredible organizing skills; they’re task- and detail-oriented. These are key traits we have been missing in this industry.”

In the past two years, his company has welcomed four new female franchisees.

“These females dig their heels in, learn the business and overcome obstacles,” Vernon says.

Read stories of women pool service professionals:

A Go-Getter | Deb Weaver

The Strategist | Denise Wolfgang

Winning Over Skeptics | Nancy Dozier

Hands-On Approach | Tina Brown