Hey there pool and spa pros!
Today, we are joined by special guests Scott and Jared from AQUA Magazine to chat about their upcoming AQUA Live Leadership Retreat. This exclusive two-day event is designed for the pool and spa industry's most successful professionals to share stories, learn practical tactics, and connect with proactive buyers.
If you're looking to take your business to the next level, this is the event for you! We'll be discussing a wide range of topics, including:
So, what are you waiting for? Register for the AQUA Live Leadership Retreat today!
AQUA Live: Leadership Retreat | USA (aquamag.live)
Thank you so much for listening! You can find us on social media:
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Talking Pools podcast. My name is Rudy Stankiewicz. I am here with my co-host, Ms. Andrea Nanini, who's live in the cab of her truck today.
Oops, that was my coffee cup clinking. Yes, I am in my truck because I couldn't, didn't have time to make it all the way home before we had to start this. And yeah, I didn't realize we were doing a whole episode, so this is fun for me. If my phone falls down, if my phone falls down, don't worry about it, I'll fix it. But it's sitting up on my steering wheel, so it's a little precarious.
It was a surprise.
So, being honest, it's not that you didn't know, it's that you forgot, because I did tell you.
Yeah, but I told you that I needed like multiple notices throughout the day and there was not one until 3 38 when you were like, hey, are we going to start at four o'clock? No, let's not. Let's not. She's crazy. Let's not do that.
I am not your mother. We can get Paulette involved in this if you want. We really can, but. Paulette is Andrea's mother, also in the pool industry. So I got something big I wanna talk about. There's a leadership retreat coming up.
Scott Webb (00:54.171)
Ha ha ha!
Yes, it's delightful.
Are you familiar with how those work?
Uh, I've never been to one, no.
You've never been the one that's because this industry is woefully lacking things along this line.
I agree with you on that front, yes.
That's probably why you haven't been to one. I'm excited because to be honest with you, I've not been to one. So to tell us about this, it's Aqua Magazine's leadership retreat. It's gonna be in Ft. Lauderdale. To tell you about that, we have Scott Webb with us from Aqua Magazine, as well as Jared, who's known only as Jared. It's kind of like Cher. So Scott, can you tell us a little bit about what's going on?
What makes this different from the regular typical expo that's devouring November?
Scott Webb (02:02.576)
Well, let's just start with the basics. We wanted to try something new. And I like to think that's who we are. We work with you, and I would call you a person who likes to try new things. And this is sort of the same, in that same spirit, we wanted to change the environment of these events and try something different. The atmosphere.
Scott Webb (02:30.164)
We think we can change the depth and quality of discussion by changing the environment. So this comes from kind of who we are. I think we really believe in this at Aqua. So this is like trying something out that we believe works in our lives. If I'm relaxed and comfortable and in an inspiring environment, I think better. I communicate better. I...
I can learn better. And again, this is sort of an, I just wanted to clarify the difference between your standard conference hall, your standard convention center, which is great. I mean, they have lots of events and I like going to those events. I'm going to the Vegas show here in a week and I'll get a lot out of it. But this is meant to really facilitate
the exchange of ideas between people who are facing the same challenges across the country. There's pool and spa company supervisors and owners and presidents and leaders who are encountering the same challenges. And what we're going to try to do is first inspire a discussion.
with them, get them thinking, and then try to facilitate them talking to each other about people who are facing the same challenges in like Houston and Baltimore and Seattle and Chicago and all these different places who kind of face the same sort of things that we have in our boutique industry. That's it in a nutshell. We're going to this really beautiful resort in Fort Lauderdale.
at a time when people want to get a little sunshine, want to get a little outdoor sitting on the beach time. And we're gonna see what happens if we can get those people together and start discussions about the topics that people are really thinking about in their businesses.
I love it. Like I said, it's something that's not happened in my time in the industry that I'm aware of. So we're looking at 34 years now. And you do see this occur in other industries. And the response is always tremendous. This is a fantastic opportunity because the industry has...
Scott Webb (05:00.076)
leaned more toward a sharing environment. And I think this is a natural progression in the way these conversations should go. So I am stoked. And Jared, what were those dates again? Do you have those? Because I think I missed those at the beginning.
We are going to December 11th through the 13th is when everybody will be there in Fort Lauderdale. So yeah, December 11th through the 13th.
And when you say everybody, who's speaking? There's gonna be some folks here speaking, right?
Scott Webb (05:48.073)
Yeah, we're going to have a go ahead, Scott.
Scott Webb (05:51.188)
Oh, I was just gonna run down just a brief list. We start off with a marketing boot camp from the people at the Get Smart group who are just gonna provide just ideas for marketing for small pool and spa businesses. And they understand the industry and they can really target that group. And also on the first day,
Thanks for watching!
Scott Webb (06:20.368)
is a succession boot camp which really takes on the gamut of Small business pool and spa succession issues everything from getting your business Organized to the point where it you know it not only can help itself operate better But be in a position to one day make a sale to all of the issues that go with
Passing on leadership passing on all of the important things that are needed to sustain a business after succession and then also to the stepping away and Transitioning for leadership itself. It's a that's a targeted group But there's a fair number of people in our industry who are at least looking at that either incoming leadership or outgoing leadership
And then second day we have a speaker from the Cornell University in the Ivy League talking about the customer journey and just insights on helping companies provide a unique customer centered experience. Of course you can't have any kind of conference without talking about labor. So
As I always say, it's the number one topic in our industry for the last 10 years. And we'll just have a panel of really successful business owners and managers talk about not only what they've learned, but some of the new thinking and practical tips on workforce management. We've got, I don't know if you know Ted Lawrence, he's kind of a retail icon. He knows a great deal about
Scott Webb (08:14.748)
retail showrooms and just how to set them up in a way to kind of maximize the effect. And he'll be talking about how to design showrooms to sort of to get the most out of that space. We've got Brett Lloyd Abbott talking about how to win the hearts, minds and wallets of your prospects.
uh... just sound marketing advice within the industry uh... and then we're going to talk about uh... technology the some of the current uh... technologies that are going to be important some of the technologies that have gotten us that have shown growth that's driven the industry uh...
but also where you might look for technologies that can help you in your business. We all use technology for one reason, it makes us more efficient and profitable. And that's gonna continue even, to an even greater extent in the future. We've got Sabina Hickman talking about new economic data.
from recent research that they've done in the industry. She'll be presenting that about what they've found as they've surveyed companies within the industry. And then we stepped outside our industry to find a speaker who just had a great message on engaging your employees, because we think that's important. Her name's Ruby Newell.
and she just, she knocked us out with what she could present on this topic, and so we recruited her for this. And it's just about putting your people in the right place to perform for you. And then we kinda ended up with observations from the next generation. We've got a panel of younger people who have.
Scott Webb (10:27.24)
seen some success in the industry. And as you know, it's a, you know, generally speaking an aging industry. And we really wanna talk to some of the people who are stepping into this industry and get some of their perspectives on, on what they're saying and ideas for the future. And of course you yourself, we're looking forward to seeing you there.
I love it.
Of course I will be there. Absolutely. I can, like I said, I'm excited. I can't, this isn't something that I'm not going to miss. Uh, I think Andrea is going to try to, to come if she can, if her schedule permits as well. So we are, like I said, really excited. Sounds like, I mean, it doesn't sound like it is Ted Lawrence, Sabina Hickman, and, and the other folks that you mentioned, you have an all star lineup. This is incredible. This is a dream team.
Scott Webb (10:58.207)
Scott Webb (11:19.668)
Yeah, we've been working on it.
Scott Webb (11:24.319)
Yeah, I think from our perspective, we're just excited to offer something like this. And you don't often see a Cornell professor with Ted Lawrence with something specialty for retail mixed in with getting high level conversations from Sabita Hickman that has a lot of influence in this industry. And then obviously more.
if you will.
You know, pool chemistry expertise like yourself. I mean, and then a tech panel with, uh, it's going to be with Bob Donne, who's a really impressive guy. He's going to, he's has other industry came from the food and beverage industry and talking about how he's. Learned from that and applying it to the pool industry. So I think that's going to be a very captivating discussion. And I think the round tables in Q and A's are really where the meat and potatoes will be for the attendee, because this is when
I get to talk about my business and I get to learn about what you're doing with your business and what do you do with this situation? What do you do with that situation? I think that's really where the rubber is going to hit the road and people are really going to start to have conversations they've never had before with people they haven't seen before. And I think that's where the magic is really going to kind of take place.
So this is the event for business owners in the industry who are serious about business, marketing, labor force, et cetera. That's what this is geared toward. That's what does make it different because the other events are fantastic. We need them, we do. And they have their sessions on improving technical acumen.
for the most part, but a more relaxed environment like you're speaking of with the speakers that you have lined up, this is something that is next level. Andrea?
Scott Webb (13:25.76)
She's working on it.
You're here, you need to speak.
Yes, I'm sorry. I, my, you saw my phone fell over.
I did. We all saw your knees.
No you didn't.
It's not where it fell.
Regardless, what do you think about all this?
I think it sounds great. I was actually gonna ask, he said it was, can you repeat the dates again? I'm sorry, it was the 11th through the 13th. So, yeah, so I, well, I'm gonna enter Rudy's Contest, so we'll see how that goes. But, I mean, it's only an hour drive for me, so I'll look into attending, so it sounds, sounds something that I would be definitely interested in too, interested in going to.
And that's the thing about my contest. It's open to everybody, even the Talking Pools podcast host, because this is a Rudy contest, not a Talking Pools contest. So it is a little bit different than the norm. And what I'm looking for is a wingman or wing woman, right, to attend the reception with me. And I put up air quotes here now because that's changed slightly, but to attend the reception with me. And all I'm looking for is provide a video,
It can be short, it can be 10 seconds, it can be 30 seconds, it can be 12 minutes, I don't care. Post it on social media, tag me, my handle is at CPOClass. It's at CPOClass on every platform, at the at symbol and CPOClass.
I thought you were going to hashtag CPO class. That's what you said yesterday.
What? No, I said, stop it. I'm said, I said tag me, tag me, tag me, tag me. Whatever, I'm asking for tagging. Stop it. So anyway, so tag me unlike, see the problem is, here's the thing, you just heard her say she's gonna enter, right? So she has you all hashtagged and when I'm looking for tagging,
You can't tell people to do two different things. Now, I was hashtag, nope, nope. Hashtag, go back and check the tapes.
so that there's only one video I can find. I can see what you're up to here. But so Wingman, Wingwoman for the reception, but Aqua Magazine upped the bar. They saw what I was doing. They thought that was cool. So they decided that the winner would not only get to go to the reception, but the entire event, a la carte. How cool is that?
No, we said yesterday to hashtag
I want to know if the algae in your kitchen knows that you're trying to get a date for the show.
And every The Algae in the Kitchen, and every everybody else who enters where I can find their video, is going to get a hefty discount on attending if they still want to go even if they don't win.
Go back and listen to the recording yesterday. You definitely said half day.
Oh my god, get off of it. The algae in my kitchen is getting pissed off at you, Andrea.
You're confusing everyone. That's fine. I told him that he was like, he's like Egon from Ghostbusters 2 with the algae in the kitchen.
But regardless, go ahead. You want a chance to go?
If you would like a chance to go, post a video, social media, at CPO class, tag me in it. Tell me why you want to be my wingman or wingwoman to this event. There'll be a winner. You get to go, no charge, to the event. I mean, you have to get there yourself. You have, you know, that's on you. But entry, no charge for the entire event. And anybody else who enters, hefty discount. How cool is that?
You're over it now, Andrea.
Me? No, it's great. I'm gonna see what's up.
Scott and Jared already know it's cool. They made the offer. I was asking you how cool is that?
Scott Webb (17:19.508)
It's great. I think it sounds super fun, honestly. Like I'm a huge trade show nerd. I think everybody knows that, but this sounds like one step above just your normal trade show. So I'm definitely... I don't know if I want to be your wingman. I don't like that. I'm just kidding. Yeah, no, it sounds great.
You can go with Wing Nut if it makes you feel better.
And the code Rudy, just so you know, the code is Rudy. So it's your name. That's the code for the discount. It's 200 bucks off. So you're gonna save yourself a hundred bucks.
200 bucks off. How cool is that? Again, I think that that's friggin amazing. What a great opportunity.
Be the person who attends this event and really sets up yourself and your business for success. Be that person.
That's my thoughts. Now, let me ask you this, either Scott or Jared, whoever wants to take this, who is this event geared toward? In your opinion, I already said business owners, but I mean, it gets a little deeper than that, doesn't it?
Yeah, I mean, I think it's basically the way we've thought of it is any manager or influencer owner that wants to basically come at a certain stage in their career. And after they come to Fort Lauderdale over two days, they want to leave a better professional. They want to have different deeper relationships with their peers in the industry. So we say managers, owners, associate managers, or if it is somebody that's just kind of getting started out.
and is kind of ascending in their business. It just wants to kind of surround themselves with people that are very business forward. They're very creative. They wanna provide solutions, they wanna grow. This is for them. We think the resort, we have a lot of fun planned. It's not just gonna be all serious. Scott has a good kind of a segue or comment. We don't do anything if it's not fun.
And so you want to talk about that a bit, Scott. I mean, it's, but it is for the manager and owner influencer that just wants to, to really grow and connect with, with like-minded peers.
Before we jump to the fun stuff, let me ask, what about the person who's like working for someone or maybe he's working in a different industry that's thinking of, of starting in this industry? Is this a good event for those folks or is this above their head?
Well, I think, you know, that if you look at the program and Scott kind of talked about it, I mean, we, this is a lot of just general business that is just, you know, whether, you know, our industry is specialty retail, if you're a retailer, right? It's kind of specialty products and there's, there's people that sell candles or people that sell barbecue sauce, right? But they still have the same challenges of overhead and stock and foot traffic and all these, these sorts of, sorts of commonalities, right? For any retail business.
Obviously we're going to cater to our service professionals as well. We're going to have content for them and seminars and speakers and that sort of a thing and also for build, right. Um, but I think just generally, if somebody is on the periphery looking to kind of get into our industry is maybe making some plans. Absolutely. Um, I think a lot of this type of content is, is very good for, for business in general.
And this is the stuff that's lacking. That's why I'm so excited. Scott, what's the fun stuff? He said there's fun stuff. Tell me.
Scott Webb (21:08.524)
Well, we're gonna be on the beach for receptions. I'm gonna play some golf in the morning. I'm gonna, and I don't even golf, I stink at golf. But I'm gonna go out with the alligators on the links and whack a few balls around. I'm gonna take the cruise on Wednesday.
To me, anytime you're on a boat, when the sun's going down on the ocean with a drink in your hand, I feel pretty good. And so that's, you know, some of the fun things that we'll be doing and I'll feel good in any of those environments. I think, and I think that's really what we're shooting for. The vision is after it's done, you know,
we see an attendee saying, you know, the talk from Ted Lawrence was great and Sabina had some really great insights on some things I can use in my business, but the part of it that I'm actually going to actually implement starting next week when I get back to Bozeman or Rockford was something that I heard from a gal retailer in Wichita.
you know, she we were sitting there and she said, you know, that was interesting what Ted said, but You know, I what I'm gonna do is tweak that for my place you know in Wichita and have we're really thinking that this environment can Spur that kind of discussion
The whole networking vibe in a more mellow environment is fantastic because it really is conducive to those types of conversations. And that's where you will pick up those contacts. And like you said, it could be somebody in Florida can make a contact in.
Scott Webb (22:59.846)
Walla Walla, Washington.
Yes, specifically. Birthplace of Adam West. Anyway, the real Batman. Anyhow, somebody can make that contact. And you know what? It could be the best thing in the world for their business. That could be the person who has the answer that they've been looking for. These friendships, these partnerships with folks that can last a lifetime, because I know I have them.
Scott Webb (23:24.264)
I'm gonna go.
Scott Webb (23:43.744)
Scott has them, we've been doing this for a little bit, but it wasn't so easy. There wasn't this type of event, and there certainly wasn't a healthy attitude towards sharing information.
Scott Webb (24:08.04)
Right. That has changed.
The industry was scared to death of breeding competition.
So that's why the timing is right for this. It's perfect actually.
Go for it.
Yeah, I completely agree. I think this has really been part of our industries. I haven't been in it as long as you guys have been, but I mean, I've been now 10 years. And so it's really evolved, I think, to be more of a thought leadership, share ideas. The pie is large enough for everybody to kind of, you know, still make money and then be happy and then be comfortable. And I think...
this timing of the leadership retreat is just a new chapter, I think, in what we try to do at Aqua is just provide good authoritative content, exchange ideas, give people more ideas through our network, right? Scott knows you guys have a good relationship and we're able to get you in the pages of AquaRudy and to kind of showcase your expertise. And this is no different. We want to get those same people in person, right? We're always...
You know doing things through the magazine or our newsletter or webinars and those are received well but how about we get together in person and how about we you know, just say hi and enjoy each other's company and learn and Just look forward to the next reunion, right? And and so that's what we're looking forward to the most is just making new friends Helping them meet new friends and just doing trying to do the best we can for the industry
Scott Webb (25:47.836)
You said that really well, Rudy. I, uh, that change is, is real. And I think to an extent it is being driven by a younger generation to an extent, I think some of the people who are putting the shoulder to that wheel of changing the industry into a place where people realize that if we all do this better and the pie gets bigger, we're all going to get a bigger piece of pie.
And that is definitely central to the thinking of this retreat is that kind of sharing that probably would have been impossible or not as easy when I came in the industry in 2001. And what did you when did you join this industry Rudy? Ninety one. So yeah.
91? A little while ago.
Now there was no sharing back then. It just, it didn't exist. So...
Scott Webb (26:49.136)
Scott Webb (26:54.01)
We all hated each other back in 91.
Scott Webb (26:58.786)
So. But yeah, you know, and one of the things I always say, and Andrea has heard me say it before, one of the greatest things that you can do for this industry is take on the role of a mentor. And this is the perfect opportunity to find those connections there. So it doesn't have to be a mentor. It can be a partnership, a back and forth, and maybe just a mentor relationship where we both learn from one another. But the thing is, we do.
talk about professionalism across the board. And the way to fix that is through events like this, where we can get people together and get people talking. Not on a platform, but with a cup of coffee, face to face.
And not like at your friend's party or like your daughter's birthday party where you're trying to talk to everybody about pools or your business and nobody wants to hear it. Like this is the place for that.
saying if you're like out you know these are people that want to talk to you about pools instead of like your friends where you're you know you go hang out and try to talk to people about pools because that's basically all you do and your friends yeah talking to people at your daughter's birthday party about pools nobody wants to hear it unless it's like you happen to have customers that want to corner you and ask you questions but anyway yeah that's what I meant is that this is the place to go
Oh, okay, I get where you're going. I think I get what you- I heard you say your daughter's birthday party, and I wasn't sure I heard that correctly.
Yeah, okay like that.
talk about pools and make friends that also talk about pools.
Great analogy, Andrea. Great analogy.
I thought it was.
Scott Webb (28:38.368)
face that same problem. I mean...
No, no, I just didn't think I heard you correctly. You're fine. I just, yeah. No, I didn't, but you're correct. And this is the good environment for it. And this is where you build those relationships and that's how you grow. And that's how professionalism across the board grows. And when we can get other people involved, I mean, actively recruit for stuff like this. Tell somebody about it. Don't just come yourself, tell people about it.
Scott Webb (29:08.724)
them with you.
Yeah, like my wingman wing woman contest. I'm bringing somebody I just don't know who it is yet.
Scott Webb (29:12.68)
It might be Andrea. It might be somebody who doesn't interrupt me. You never know.
Oh, do you guys want me to go there and... Do you guys want me to go there ahead of time and like clean the pool and make sure everything's good? Like chemistry-wise and stuff? If I can go check it out. That was a joke.
Ha ha ha.
That's an interesting question. Scott, Jared, do you guys go to the facility ahead of time and make sure the pool looks good?
Scott Webb (29:40.916)
Yes, I will be there two days in advance and I always go to the pool. And if there's anything wrong with that, I will have a word with management.
I've been in that position, not for large events, but for classes where they've had me come in specifically. It's a teach CPO and we go around the corner to the pool and it's green or there's a floater. I'm like, come on. I mean, I know, yeah, true, true. If it is an educational opportunity, but not the one that I was hoping to present. So, but good question. So.
Now, so if I was to ask you, Jared, in a sentence, what's the one thing about this that has you the most excited?
Um, I think, uh, something that's new, I think just something that hasn't been created yet, um, just you never know how everything's going to unfold. We just know that we've got a lot of the core things, right? We got a lot of our team is, I love working with our team. We've got the right culture. I know that we can market this properly. I know we're going to get a lot of excited people, but once everybody gets there and once the two days are, you know, uh, are done.
I'm really gonna reflect and I think it's just gonna be, I'm excited for all what happens that hasn't happened yet. So that's, I think that's what I would say.
Scott, same question.
Scott Webb (31:12.988)
I'm the selfish sort of person. I want my face in the sun. I want the waves lapping over my white, pale feet. I'm looking forward to just being in a beautiful resort, in a beautiful environment, and having relaxing conversations. And that's what I intend to do.
and to make some friends that, you know, you know how it is with this industry, the friends you make, you stay friends with because you're all still in, you're united by this pool and spa thing. You're after a year. You will, you know, you see your friends, you hear about your friends, you talk to your friends because we are all held together by this. And I think this will just be a great shape, great place to enhance.
Scott Webb (32:10.501)
existing ones and make new ones.
What were those? What? How do we not with the dates? I we already covered that we can say the dates again, definitely for sure. So people remember, but how do I sign up? That's what I wanted to ask again. How do I register to go to this event?
So you can go to Aquamag.live and that's our main site that we have everything listed there and there's a registration button easy to get to. Once you get to the registration page please use the code Rudy for 200 bucks off so keep that in mind but yeah Aquamag.live.
Scott Webb (32:47.992)
Or, if that's too hard to remember, just go to aquamagazine.com and just click on the button that's right in front of you and it'll go to the same place.
Yeah, that's awesome. What?
Okay, so at this point, because there is the luxury of being able to edit, have we covered everybody's points?
Scott Webb (33:12.252)
Yes, I think we got it.
Yes, yes. Andrea, did you have any neat tidbits to share?
No, um, there's sandhill cranes right outside my truck. It's kind of distracting. Yeah. Where'd they go? They're, they're picking up though. There's, I'm going to, yeah, the babies are really cute.
Scott Webb (33:24.46)
I love Sandhill cranes.
They're dinosaurs. Giant, giant dinosaurs.
Scott Webb (33:30.956)
I'm going to go ahead and close the video.
Cool. All right, Andrea, you wanna take us out?
Alright, yeah, so thanks guys for coming on to talk to us. I hope to see you guys there and we hope to see all of our listeners there, at least, you know, most of our listeners there. So anyway, follow us, like us, you know, like I said, all the things. Do you want to say the website? What was it again? Aquamagazine.com and then there's a button to go find all the information or Aquamag.com slash live. Is that the other one?
Scott Webb (34:02.344)
Either way, AquaMagazine.com. So anyway, yeah, that's it. I got nothing. I'm, I'm still in the truck.
Scott Webb (34:14.126)
Thanks for this opportunity. It's an honor to be on this show.
Oh, you're welcome. I'm hoping that. Oh, we appreciate you. You taking the time to speak with us, both of you. And I look forward to seeing you guys at the event. And I look forward to meeting a lot of other people out there that there's names I need to put faces to, you know, and I would love to sit and chat about pools with anybody, actually, who wants to who wants to talk about pools. It would be fantastic.
Yeah, not just Facebook profiles.
Nobody at your daughter's birthday party. That's the key.
Until next time on that note, be good, be safe.
What's your problem? Bye!