I was speaking with a builder/retailer many of you know – Brian Quint with Aqua Quip Pools in the Seattle area – and he was explaining how things are especially good there. Sure, the Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly known as the center of pooldom. But companies like Boeing, Amazon and Costco make Washington state their homes, meaning that the unemployment rate there currently hovers at about 5 percent.

Brian had the same enthusiasm I’m hearing in more and more builders’ voice. Last year it was relief, but this year people are starting to sound kind of amped. They talk about hiring more, seeing low-end pools going in the ground again or the rise in work with home builders.

But it made me wonder: How are companies different than they were in 2006 and 2007? And which of these changes are permanent?

I asked Brian and, like many, his company diversified. The new categories have grown enough to make up almost 20 percent of his business.

So I asked, “Do you think you’ll ever go back to the way things were before?” He said absolutely not. Knowing Brian and his partners Eric and Kathleen Carlson, I believe it. I suspect that, if anything, their slate of products and services will only increase.

How is your company different than it was pre-Great Recession? Which of these changes have you vowed to uphold as we embark on what we hope is a longterm upswing? In what ways do you want to change?