Pool Repairs with a Purpose

The pool and spa industry is constantly changing, from technological advancements in equipment to new design trends. Although swimming pool construction and design are often considered “learn-as-you-go” types of jobs, a more formal education can help you and your business in many ways.

“In any business, education really begins with the owner,” says Ed Gibbs, President and CEO of Gib-San Pools Ltd. in Toronto, Ontario. “But if the perspective is coming directly from just one individual, the problem is that you have a very narrow view of where your business is going.”

“We have some really smart people working for us, but if they’ve never been exposed to formal training or education in this industry, no matter how smart they are, they’re going to learn by making mistakes. says Gordie Robinson, president of Cox Pools Service Inc. in Birmingham, AL.

“I know very little about pool construction,” admits Lance Irby, sales manager at Premier Pools & Spas in Sacramento, Calif. “I can build great, beautiful pools with my team and design them. But the nuts and bolts and the whys and hows, all the science and the math – these are things that we all have a tremendous amount to learn, even people who have been doing this for a very, very long time.

Enter GENESIS®, which has been teaching pool industry professionals about design, construction, engineering and business since 1998. Thousands of students have taken GENESIS® courses, and many have progressed through the various accreditation levels: GENESIS® Associate, Society of Watershape Designers (SWD) registered and SWD master.

Robinson first met GENESIS® co-founder Brian Van Bower about 15 years ago, when Van Bower was consulting on one of Robinson’s projects. After meeting Van Bower, Robinson said to himself, “Whatever it takes, I’m going to learn what this guy knows.” Robinson began taking GENESIS® courses approximately eight years ago and is now SWD registered. He’s been sending his employees to GENESIS® for a few years “with the goal of ensuring that everyone who works for us is as educated as possible in this industry, and that’s the best way I’ve found so far. “.

Employees benefit as much, if not more, than employers. “It really created a positive culture,” says Robinson. “It was very good for morale. The employees really appreciate the fact that our company is willing to invest so much money in them to train them.

Photo credit: Sarah Ramalho – Designer – Lance Irby | Sacramento Premier Pools & Spas

Irby agrees. Even though his employees have only been attending GENESIS® since early 2021, he has already seen a positive impact. “It gives everyone a level of enthusiasm and excitement,” he says. He describes how, especially in a busy year like this, employees’ mental and physical reservoirs are often depleted at the end of the day. GENESIS® actually fills their reservoirs and “puts a little pep in your step, because you’re excited about what you’re learning and you see things differently. It did us good. »

Irby has been in the pool industry since 2012. As he began to learn more about GENESIS®, he realized that the SWD Masters and the projects they do “are on a different level”. It created the desire to raise himself and his employees to that level.

“The added value with [GENESIS®] is great for both the company and the employee,” says Gibbs. “It comes down to the culture of your organization and the type of culture you create, where the importance and investment in education is to help us both grow – not just you from leaving, not just me for use you, but to develop a symbiotic relationship. It has to be a journey together.

GENESIS® is a serious investment, in several respects. Sending a student to a virtual class can cost upwards of $2,000, and in-person classes before the pandemic were even more expensive when adding airfare, accommodation, and food. It is also an investment of time, with courses both virtual and face-to-face lasting 16 to 24 hours over several days.

Swimming Pool Construction Education - GENESIS®

If accreditation is the goal, it is even more of an investment. It can take more than a year for an employee to earn the SWD Registered designation, which involves 150 hours of training and completion of seven core courses covering design, construction, and engineering. But employers agree that it is well worth the time and money invested.

“The target is the SWD,” says Gibbs. He has three SWD registrants in his squad, with two more set to qualify in the coming months. “Being SWD registered adds that level of credibility and increases that level of education.”

“We focused on building and we went that route of building so everyone would get the SWD Registered designation,” Robinson confirms. Although Cox Pools is a construction company, the required design courses help its employees better understand what they do every day, he says.

For new members of the sales team, “I take them through basic building courses as well as basic design courses, because those things go hand in hand,” says Irby. “You can’t sell something if you don’t understand how it should be built.”

Gibbs and Robinson, who have been sending their employees to GENESIS® since before the pandemic, both agree that their employees really appreciate the in-person networking and the connections they can make with other students. Gibbs explains, “That camaraderie that is created over the two or three days that classes are held is part of that GENESIS® secret recipe.” Robinson says the students learn a lot from the class itself, “but when you take it with a lot of people who are in the same boat, you also learn a lot from those people.”

Gib San Pool & Landscape Creations
Photo credit: Gib-San

“In our world that we live in today, when you see groups of people who want to raise the bar, there’s a pull about it. There’s a magnetic pull to want to be better. That’s where we want to be,” says Gibbs. “Customers feel that. Your other employees feel that. And that’s really a success.”

How do these three employers sum up the benefits and importance of GENESIS®?

GENESIS® has given Robinson employees “the confidence to go a step further in their ability to perform and contribute to our business. It gave them a kind of energy that there are goals out there where they can learn more, do more, and be more.

“These courses will take you anywhere you want to go in the pool industry,” says Irby. “If you want to be in this industry long term, this is your foundation.”

“It makes you better. It makes a better business. It allows you to build a better pool,” says Gibbs. “GENESIS® has proven year after year that it really is the benchmark.”

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