Dick Abare was only a teenager when he got his first job in the pool industry. He was promised good pay and a tan.

He’s still at it 45 years later. To his way of thinking, why stop a good thing?

“I absolutely love what I do,” Abare enthused. “You’ll never hear me complain.”

Abare has been involved in construction and retail, but found his true calling in service.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be involved in every facet,” he said.

Today, he’s the owner of Algae Busters Pool Service, a residential firm of three in Tampa, Fla. The service side of the industry keeps him outside, working on the latest tech in the industry.

Abare is among elite few chosen by manufacturers to test equipment for new products go to market.

“We’re very proud,” he said of the group. “There about 18 to 20 of us across the state of Florida, men and women. We’re all business owners … and we share information.”

If you were to look at his personal pool, you’d find seven fully functional sets of pool equipment operating at any given time. He collects data on the products and reports back to the manufacturers on what works and what doesn’t.

By the time he encounters a new pump, motor or filter, he’s likely already experimented with it. In other words, there are no surprises.

“As technology has evolved we’ve learned it from the ground floor up and as the new stuff comes out we’ve pretty much seen it before it hits production,” Abare said. “I’m very fortunate so many manufacturers trust me.”

He’s particularly adept at automation equipment. Abare is the go-to technologist for many builders in the area who need to spec out elaborate systems. “I say this with a great deal of pride: I am the automation guru,” he said.

And now he can say with pride that he is Pleatco’s 2018 Perfect Pool Guy. He was honored just to be in the running and resigned himself to the fact that the award would likely go to one of the young guns in the competition. When Pleatco notified him, his response was understandable.

“I think I screamed,” he said with a laugh. “I moved the phone from my mouth and did a ‘Yahoo!’ and apologized in case I screamed in their ear.”

He credits his wife and daughter and the support of the industry for keeping him poolside for more than four decades.

“You don’t stay successful as one individual,” he said. “You just don’t.”