Vassallo Wins Honor for Promoting Water Safety

photo of Vassallo winning a 2014 Lifesaver Award
From left: McGruff, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Crime Fighting Dog; Tim Szymanski, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Public Education & Information Officer; Lois Tarkanian, Las Vegas City Councilwoman; and Joseph M. Vassallo, Paragon Pools President.

Joseph M. Vassallo, president of Paragon Pools in Las Vegas, was recognized by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance with the 2014 Lifesaver Award for his years of promoting safe water activity. 

Vassallo was honored specifically for his signature Float Like A Duck program, a major public awareness campaign that educates the public on the importance of safety while celebrating the joys of water sports. The annual event — held in collaboration with the YMCA, area first responders, the City of Las Vegas, local news affiliates and other business partners — celebrated its 11th year in 2014.

Vassallo, an APSP executive board member, hosts the yearly event to provide a family friendly activity that is free to the public. Utilizing a kid-friendly, sidekick named Duckie, Vassallo is able to catch the attention of children and their parents, allowing him the opportunity to provide vital information about the importance of practicing safety measures around all bodies of water.

His program has become so popular that he and Duckie receive requests from concerned water safety advocates from as far away as Alaska for information and advice on sharing the Float Like A Duck messaging. Vassallo and Duckie have created topic-specific PSA videos to address their community issues. (You can watch the videos here.) 

The NDPA Community Lifesaver Award honors exceptional work in the field of drowning prevention at the community level.  The NDPA recognizes, addresses, and supports drowning prevention efforts for persons of all ages and drowning risks in all types of bodies of water. 

Zodiac Pool Systems Announces New Acquisition 

Zodiac Pool Systems has acquired the assets of Next Step Products LLC, specifically the SAVI Pool and Spa lighting line of products, and will continue to operate the company as a stand-alone business under the SAVI brand name. SAVI offers an innovative line of nicheless LED lighting products for both underwater lighting and illuminated water features in residential and commercial applications. 

Zodiac Pool Systems acquired the company in a strategic move to increase its support for the pool construction and renovation aftermarket. The previous SAVI owner, Mark Masterman, will remain with Zodiac as director and general manager of the SAVI line as product will continue to be manufactured in the SAVI facility in Orlando, Fla. As with all acquisitions, Zodiac’s world-class team of product engineers will review quality control procedures and ensure the products meet Zodiac’s strict quality standards. 

“To continue innovating and broadening product lines, we had to align with a true market leader to realize the product’s full potential,” Masterman says. “Zodiac is that market leader both domestically and internationally, so this acquisition provides us the ability to introduce the SAVI lights to the entire swimming pool market worldwide in a very short time, which is something we never could have accomplished as an independent company.”

Nicheless lights from SAVI require no grounding or bonding, only a 4-inch minimum depth, and now accept a new designer series of lenses and replaceable, upgradable, interchangeable and field-serviceable LED cartridges. 

The SAVI operations team in Orlando will continue to operate the business as usual with no interruption in service. Customers will continue to place SAVI product orders and get product and technical support as they had previously. Financial details of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

Chase Wins Promotion at Evosus

Evosus Inc. Business Management Software, makers of an all-in-one software program designed specifically for the pool and spa industry, is pleased to announce it has promoted Jessica Chase to the position of VP of Client Services. 

Chase has been with Evosus for more than seven years, first as a support specialist, then as Support Manager. Her knowledge, expertise and positive rapport with customers has made her an invaluable addition to the Evosus executive team, the company says. Chase is responsible for the vision and growth of the client-interfacing departments at Evosus, including support, implementation, data conversion, networking and training. She can be reached at jchase@evosus.com.

Marquis Hires New Account Executive

Marquis is pleased to announce it has hired Don Austin as its new account executive covering the Northeast Mid-Atlantic territory. Austin began his career around retail in the pool and spa industry and has more than 18 years of experience.

“We’re very excited Don Austin is joining the Marquis team,” says Marquis President John Schrenk. I’m confident his experience in the retail side of the business will be a tremendous asset to us and our dealers.”

Austin entered the pool and spa industry shortly after college, joining the family business at Clearwater Pools in Thomaston, Conn. While at Clearwater, he was a jack of all trades, helping with everything from IT to sales, service and construction. He found his strengths were in sales as he was frequently able to convert service calls into new sales. 

Austin’s territory spans the majority of the east coast from Maine to Virginia. He is married with two children and resides in Connecticut. In his spare time, Austin enjoys attending his children’s musical performances, tinkering with old cars and power kiting.

SeaKlear Taps Harris for Southwest Sales

SeaKlear, manufacturer of a complete line of natural pool and hot tub water treatment products, is pleased to announce it has hired Gina Harris as the company’s new territory sales manager for the Southwest region of the U.S. Harris has many years of experience in the swimming pool industry and brings a wealth of knowledge to the company and its sales team. 

Cailley Hammel is Managing Editor of AQUA Magazine.