• In Remembrance of Robert Matthew "Matt" Markiton

    by AQUA Editors April 2019

    Robert Matthew “Matt” Markiton was born on March 31, 1976 in Houston, Texas to Robert Irvine and Christine Ann Leder Markiton. He attended Lee High School and Blinn College. On June 7, 2003, he married Audrey Jackson in Spring, Texas.  Matt was in the hot tub business, both manufacturing and retail, for 25 years. He enjoyed music and old movies but best loved being outdoors, fishing and hunting, especially with his boys....

  • In Memoriam: Larry Biscornet

    by AQUA Editors January 2019

    On December 31, 2018, former APSP Board Chair Lawrence (Larry) Biscornet passed away in Safety Harbor, Florida. Biscornet was active in the pool and spa industry for more than 50 years; he was the owner of LBI Swimming Pools and Spas in New Rochelle, N.Y., but he also made industry activism a priority, serving in several leadership positions with NSPI, APSP, NESPA and the NESPA NY/NJ Metro Chapter.

    In addition to his leadership service, Larry was recognized as an APSP Fellow in...

  • Honoring an Industry Stalwart

    by Eric Herman January 2019

    When Paulette Pitrak, a small woman with a giant personality, passed away in November 2016, the industry lost one of its most dogged proponents of quality education, volunteerism and effective government relations.

    To honor her memory and legacy, NESPA has dedicated the training room at the association’s headquarters in Hamilton, N.J., in her name. Now called the Paulette Pitrak Training Room, the hands-on educational space was extensively renovated with state-of-the-art...

  • Remembering Claudia Mayhall Buktenica

    by AQUA Editors November 2018

    Pool industry pioneer Claudia Mayhall Buktenica passed away peacefully surrounded by family on October 29 at the age of 97.

    Claudia, with her husband Gene, founded National Pools of Palos in 1954. Operating from their home, the Mayhalls built concrete inground pools. In the...

  • In Memoriam: Norman Cardinal

    by AQUA Editors February 2018

    Industry veteran Norman Cardinal, known for founding Hydroqual Corporation as well as his active role in promoting education with NESPA, passed away February 1.

    Cardinal’s career in the pool and spa industry spanned over 40 years. In 1976, he formed Hydroqual Corporation, a manufacturer’s representative agency that helped...

  • Remembering Paul Birkbeck

    by Eric Herman January 2018

    Inventor and advocate for alternative sanitizing technology, Paul Birkbeck passed away Dec. 30 after a brief battle with cancer at his home in Houston. He was 55. An industry veteran with more than 25 years experience, Paul is responsible for a number of inventions including bromine generators manufactured and sold by a number of companies.

    At the time...

  • Remembering Hugh Hefner, Pool Innovator

    by Bruce Riley October 2017

    Hugh Hefner passed away last week, and while he’ll be remembered for many things (both famously and infamously), in my eyes, he’ll always be remembered for his role in the pool and spa industry.

    In 1973, Hefner built the Playboy mansion pool and, perhaps more importantly, the legendary grotto. The grotto was built with natural stones weighing as much as 3 tons, and held together with over 100 yards of concrete. At the time, the grotto was a unique concept, one that spurred...

  • Dino Prisco Passes Away After 50 Years in the Industry

    by AQUA Editors September 2017

    Dino Prisco, founder and owner of Prisco Spas & Pools (Yonkers, N.Y.), died August 11 while surrounded by his family. He was 77 years old.

    Prisco’s career in the pool and spa industry spanned 50 years, starting shortly after his family emigrated from L’Aquila, Italy in 1957. He worked two years at a landscaping business...

  • In Memoriam: Jim O'Brien of Odyssey Systems

    by AQUA Editors September 2017

    Longtime industry veteran James O’Brien, vice president of sales and marketing for Odyssey Systems, passed away September 13 after a courageous battle with aplastic anemia.

    O’Brien was born August 11, 1946 in Los Angeles, Calif. As a child of two Disney artists, he spent his childhood in Burbank and Hidden Hills, Calif., and graduated...

  • Industry Pro Dies in Barcelona Attack

    by AQUA Editors August 2017

    The pool and spa industry lost one of its own last week. Jared Tucker, son of Chlorine Genie inventor Dan Tucker, was killed in the terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain; he was the sole American to perish.

    Jared was active in the pool and spa industry his whole life, working alongside his dad at Chlorine Genie and Fiberglass Pool Resurfacing. He was in Barcelona with his wife, Heidi, celebrating their first wedding anniversary with a trip to Italy, France and Spain.

    After a...