At The Pool & Spa Place (Cranbury, N.J.), Roberta Prygon is the glue that holds everything together. As acting general manager, she has a hand in all facets of the business, from managing the construction crew and creating service routes to overseeing the retail business — and on top of all that, you'll find her working in the field, too.

Prygon is driven by a deeply-rooted passion for the industry — so much so that it's hard for her to put it down during the off-season. Come wintertime in New Jersey, Prygon jets down to Florida to build pools. (The weather doesn't hurt, either.)

When nominating her for the award, John Migliaccio, owner of The Pool & Spa Place said: "Roberta brings her A-game to work every day and she makes all her co-workers feel wanted, happy and part of the team! She has chlorine for blood and her pH is always perfect."

Given everything she does, it's no surprise Prygon ran away with this year's Pleatco Perfect Pool Gal title.

Q: How did you find yourself in the pool and spa industry?

A: I didn't realize there was an industry. I grew up with a pool when I was seven, and one of my chores was to vacuum the pool. So I kind of had a hand in it.

Then I was a personal trainer and wound up lifeguarding. The company I worked for, in the summer we were a lifeguard management firm and in the winter, we started building pools. And the owner of the company, Joyce Scott Frazee, was like, "Roberta, you should try this." And I'm like, "Okay, sure. I'll try it." And building concrete pools, and it just fascinated me. And I literally was hooked from that minute on.

Q: What is your work philosophy?

A: What you promise, you deliver, and over-deliver. That's always been my philosophy. Always be upfront and honest. Deliver and say what you're going to do, and go above and beyond.

Q: What do you enjoy about the industry?

A: When everyone speaks of your pool guy or your pool gal, you are family. You have this camaraderie and familiarity with your clients that most people don't have. You don't have it with your dentist, you don't have it with your lawn guy. You don't have it with your house cleaner. It's something that's more personalized. I just treat everybody as if they are my next-door neighbors.

Q: How does it feel to be this year's winner?

A: It's kind of surreal. It kind of sunk in for a minute and then everyone who had voted for me, which was amazing, they all started contacting me, texting me and sending emails and they were like, "Hey congratulations!" And to have Genesis education and the follow-ups through Pleatco and being honored like that was overwhelming, in a good way.

Q: What advice do you have for others who want to be the next Perfect Pool Guy/Gal?

A: I think your experience and your attitude should speak for itself. I boast about my work and what I do all the time. I love what I do. And if you don't love what you do, you shouldn't do what you do. So for anybody who's in my position and wants to be the next Pool Gal or Pool Guy, just let your work do the speaking for you.


Cailley Hammel is Managing Editor of AQUA Magazine.