by PoolPro on behalf of the NPC
The National Plasterers Council contributes to the industry with networking, education and research
QEP Co., Inc. has been a corporate member of the National Plasterers Council for more than 15 years.
“They support the industry with education, act as a watchdog for industry and political issues, support education charities for the next generation — all while working for the betterment of our industry,” says Mike Venturelli, general manager and senior vice president for QEP, whose subsidiary, Premix Marbletite Products, has members on the NPC board of directors. “It is one of the finest and best operated industry groups inside the building industry umbrella.”
Jana Auringer, quality control technician for Pebble Technology International (a pool finish company in Scottsdale, Arizona) and NPC board member, says it all started in 1987 with a discoloration problem across the nation in the swimming pool plaster industry. “It was also a time in which there was much rivalry amongst pool plaster companies,” she says. “Slowly, the plasterers were able to disarm and band together in order to work through these issues. It was during this time that the association was formed.”
Originally established in 1988 as the Plasterers Council under the auspices of the Southern California Chapter of the National Spa & Pool Institute, a membership system was instituted in 1990 and the National Plasterers Council incorporated in 1994 as a 501(c)(6) trade association. Since its formation, NPC has focused on studying plaster surface problems and the writing of technically sound practices for the industry.
Jack Beane, president and founder of Jack’s Magic, has been a member of NPC since the early ‘90s. The entire business model for Jack’s Magic centers around helping plasterers solve problems with swimming pool water chemistry, so joining the NPC was a logical step.
“I started going to their annual conferences and making friends, talking to people and telling them how to solve some of their [water] problems,” Beane recalls. “It was a great way of networking. It’s enabled us to broaden our research and reach out to as many plasterers and finish manufacturers as possible, so they know the resources that are available to them.”
Beane’s daughter and COO for Jack’s Magic, Nadia Beane, serves on the board of directors for NPC. She was also recipient of scholarships from NPC that helped enable her to attend college.
“Some of my earliest memories in the industry are going to NPC events,” Nadia recalls. “One year, Jack told me that we were going on summer vacation, but it was trap because we actually went to NPC’s test kit study.” It was during those formative years that Nadia began to see the value of education within the industry. “You can live in a bubble if you want, but then you never find out about the new things and the research that’s going on to make your life so much easier. NPC offers that education targeted toward plasterers,” she says.
In 2003, when NPC moved its headquarters to Florida, pool surface research was determined to be a top priority of the organization moving forward. That’s when the NPC Research Foundation, Inc. was established as a nonprofit charitable corporation to raise money for the NPC’s research efforts. Other priorities for the organization include nationwide membership recruitment, new member benefits and new educational opportunities.
“Obviously, the networking is second to none with this group,” says Brent Lane, director of operations and market development for Artistry in Mosaics, Inc., a pool tile company in Fort Pierce, Florida. “The knowledge gain and education has been outstanding and something I feel this trade group offers not only to its members, but to the pool industry as a whole. It extends beyond the classroom and happens naturally in informal conversation with the members [at events like the annual conference].”
After 40 years doing construction and retail in the pool industry, Patty Cone opened Oregon Pool Plastering in Beaverton, Oregon, in 2015. She immediately joined NPC to learn more about the plastering segment. “I attend the NPC conferences for the educational opportunities,” she says. “They’ve been the most valuable [aspects of the organization] for me.”
Glenn Gunderson, Sr., founder and president of Gunderson Pool Plastering in Rex, Georgia, became an NPC member in the late ‘90s and served as a board member for 10 years. “NPC provides information pertinent to our industry: Technical manuals, start-up procedures, equipment,” says Glenn Gunderson, Jr., vice president of the company. “We recommend [becoming a member] and attending the conference to others.”
Auringer, who was voted to the NPC board of directors in 2004 and currently serves on the Research Committee and Technical Advisory Committee, joined the organization to be on the forefront of interior finish research and help develop trade specific guidelines and standards for this unique industry.
“I continue my affiliation as new products and pool building materials continue to be introduced, most of which will have some repercussion on plaster,” she says. “The plaster surface is one of the most cosmetic features of the whole pool experience. It requires the NPC to continue to work with all associations and trades in the pool building industry to deliver the best possible end product to the buyer.”
While most NPC members recognize the networking and educational benefits, Jonathan Dongell, director of research and development at Pebble Technology, says that those members willing to work on committees will find additional advantages. “[Benefits such as] staying current with related construction and service trade associations such as PHTA, IPSSA, NESPA,” Dongell says, “as each of these institutions can have a direct effect on the others, and ultimately on contractors’ and technicians’ day-to-day work.”
Dongell says that committee members also get the opportunity to help unify the common trade practice of swimming pool plastering nationwide, and create minimum standards for workmanship and materials, as well as establish education guides and manuals.
“I joined the NPC because I saw an opportunity to learn from some of the best people in our profession,” says Kent Westfall, initial water treatment manager for Alan Smith Pools in Orange, California. “The information and help that is available is immeasurable in my eyes. If you’re having a problem, chances are, so are the members of the NPC — and they may already have a solution. I have learned from all the members in one way or another.”
The National Plasterers Council’s 31st annual conference will be held Feb. 12-14, 2020 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston, Texas. Member pricing is available, but all are welcome to attend. Registration is open until Feb. 12 on the NPC website: npconline.org/events.
Joe Hatfield, owner of Midwest Outdoor Concepts and Top Shot Services in Bentonville, Arkansas, finds a lot of value in the annual NPC conference. “I would recommend [attending] for the training, the expertise from like-minded individuals in the same field and staying on top of the latest and greatest items to come into our industry,” he says.
See what we thought from attending our first NPC conference.
*This content is sponsored by the NPC