ARTICLE: In Pursuit of Art / by Kerri Escobar

In 2008, William Drakeley was at a crossroads and saw this big, uniquely challenging project as a way to separate himself from the crowd. It was a bit more than he bargained for, but he persisted -- and knows that making it all work changed the regional perception of his business.

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For me and my business in around 2008, this project was a real rite of passage.

At that point, pool-construction and shotcrete-application companies like ours were well established and had lineages stretching back to the 1950s. Just the same, we were having a hard time gaining recognition from architects, landscape architects and developers who were pursuing quality, prestige construction.

The irony is, my own firm had amazing experience in critical applications that called for precisely their desired level of excellence: There’s nothing quite like building tunnels for automobiles and subway trains to focus the mind on the fine details and the best possible construction practices, and we’d been doing that sort of work successfully for years.

The thing holding us back with our pools, we figured, was geography: We work from a base in Connecticut, and even as recently as ten or 15 years ago, the local pool industry was known to a very large extent for the installation of basic, cookie-cutter concrete and vinyl-liner pools. It didn’t help us to point out that, in our case, these architects and their colleagues were comparing apples to oranges: We were still lumped in together with the “pool guys.”

We were so fed up that we decided to change that context of presumption and misconception the best way we knew how – that is, by associating our business with the best and brightest watershapers we could find and getting educated along the way.

To read the full Watershapes article, click here.