Early in Wayne Ivusich’s long career at Taylor Water Technologies, Wade Beebe, the company’s vice president, took him aside and said, “Wayne, one of the goals I have for you is to become well known in the industry.”
Thirty years later, Ivusich received Pool Nation’s Robert Lowry Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Las Vegas last November. The award is named in honor of lecturer, chemist and entrepreneur Robert Lowry who passed away in 2021. Ivusich received the award in recognition of his contributions to the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance’s Certified Pool Inspector and Certified Pool Operator courses. The recently retired educator has taught an estimated 10,000–15,000 pool and spa professionals about leisure water chemistry.
Fifteen thousand and counting, that is.
Ivusich’s post-retirement life includes a steady presence in the industry, where he acts as a business consultant, among other endeavors. “I’m still sticking a toe in the pool,” he says. As a CPO himself, Ivusich says he teaches the instructor’s class twice a year.
He’s also continuing on the Talking Pools Podcast. The program, which is called “Testing Thursdays with Wayne,” is a service-oriented 20-to-30-minute weekly upload. He has already recorded four to five episodes. “I’m good for another few weeks on different topics about testing or whatever happens to come up,” he adds.
Starting to work at Taylor in 1991 was a “big” leap, he says. The Maryland-based company was a well-respected but small, privately held business that has grown over the years and is now a part of the Fluidra family. Armed with a master’s degree in technical writing and a recent job with the state of Maryland, Ivusich began as technical coordinator with “other duties as required.” This included writing press releases, marketing and other company materials. “But one of the other things they wanted me to do, eventually, was to answer technical phone calls that would come into Taylor about testing,” Ivusich says. “I had no chemistry background, however.”
While finishing his undergraduate degree, Ivusich added a chemistry class and passed with flying colors.
Within several months, Ivusich was answering those calls, a role that he continued as long as he was with Taylor. His interpersonal skills led to a sales manager position, which he held for nearly 22 years. Then, another leap — public speaking.
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In addition to acting as trade show coordinator — one of the “other duties as required” — for 10 or 11 shows a year, he also taught classes at all the trade shows, on a variety of subjects from basic water chemistry and testing to advanced chemistry. “You name it. I probably talked about it,” he adds.
Wayne always made very good, informative and fun presentations. He has a wonderful ability to hold people’s attention.”
Chris Golden, Taylor Water Technologies
According to Chris Golden, Taylor’s director of sales, “Wayne always made very good, informative and fun presentations. He has a wonderful ability to hold people’s attention.”
For example, “The first time I saw him teach was at the Western Pool Show, it was a Friday at 9 a.m.,” Golden recalls. “The class had about 80 service techs — and they’d probably been out the night before with some cocktails involved. He gave an hour and a half of chemistry lessons, but there were no heads on the tabletops.”
One of the things that helped Ivusich with teaching and developing his style is that “I had no fear of public speaking whatsoever,” Ivusich says. “I started doing community theater in the Baltimore area when I was 16, and that gave me the confidence to stand in front of a group and speak.”
It’s a hobby that has consumed his interest for more than 50 years. “I did a lot of plays when I was younger and eventually moved into musicals,” he explains. “I still do a couple a year.”
His last position at Taylor, beginning in 2014, was manager of education and technical services, where he focused on education full time until his retirement in September 2022. “It took four people to replace me; I kind of feel proud of that,” he says. He also says his Pool Nation award was the highlight of his career, especially as the award is named after Robert Lowry, “who was my mentor,” he says.
Those interested in learning more can stream Ivusich’s podcast, “Testing Thursdays with Wayne” on Facebook. Or, if you happen to be in the Baltimore area and enjoy community theater, you may get a chance to catch one of Ivusich’s performances at the Dundalk Theatre.