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Pool Nation Grows

New education platform, awards and more coming from group

The guys from Pool Nation are tired of answering one question about their business: “ ‘How profitable is it? How are you gonna make money off it?’ ” says founder Edgar De Jesus.

As hard as it may be to believe, De Jesus and his partners John Chakalis, co-owner of J&J Flawless Pools in the Coachella Valley, California, with his wife Janey; and Zac Nicklas, co-owner of The Pool Boys in League City, Texas, with Justin Morehead; didn’t start Pool Nation to make money. After what they personally invested into the platform, sponsorships and pool pros paying for classes and coaching, they estimate Pool Nation is at a net zero.

Edgar De Jesus
John Chakalis
Zac Nicklas

“John has his business. Zac has his business. I have my business,” De Jesus says. “If I need to go get another job, I could go get a job. That’s not the point.”

The point, the trio insists, is to help the pool service industry become more professional and more profitable. Maybe at some point the products they create will make them money, but for now all three make their living running (and for De Jesus, supporting) pool service companies, and that’s how they plan to continue.

PoolPro featured Pool Nation in the September/October 2021 issue, about a year after it launched, and after De Jesus had persuaded Chakalis and Nicklas to do a weekly live podcast together. In the fall, they launched an awards platform — a place where the pool service industry could come together to vote on its favorite products, companies and people. After nominations and voting, the awards culminated in a ceremony at the Dallas Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in November. The awards were a hit.

“I had people in the lobby the next day stopping me, shaking my hand,” Nicklas says, “and saying that was truly an amazing event.”

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The 2022 awards, to be held at the PSP in Las Vegas in November, are already in the works. In March, they’re doing a pared-down version for the industry’s favorite pool builds of the year, with a Instagram Live ceremony held at their booth at the Western Pool & Spa Show in California. The awards’ success and momentum has helped Pool Nation start building their dream: an online hub that brings together the best industry technical and business education in one place, for everyone from service techs to owners.

“If you have somebody brand new to the industry, they can find 10 different water chemistry classes, 15 business classes,” De Jesus says. “We want the pool pro to be successful — not just at water chemistry, but to be successful business owners.”

Around $10,000 has been allocated to build the platform, and it’s about 60% done.

“The awards and what we’ve done so far is just the tip of the iceberg,” Chakalis says. “We’ve got a lot in store and are 100% committed to changing the industry, how education is taught throughout the industry. We want to give both new people and veterans who have been around a while access to education, training and everything they could possibly need to set themself up for success.”

Across the industry, there has been a call for more professionalism, community and education with the hopes that, as each company and person improves, the entire industry is elevated. “If we have better competition, a better playing field, better education opportunities, an industry that looks more like a career opportunity and better candidates, that would help [my company] The Pool Boys greatly,” Nicklas says. “The profit [for us] is a better industry.”

Pool Nation featured on the cover of the March/April issue of PoolPro

Photography by Michelle L. Cramer

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