POOL PEOPLE – PAUL WALTON-COLLETT

Pol PeopleBuckingham Pools Managing Director, Paul Walton-Collett began his swimming pool building career in 1998 and now heads one of the most successful pool companies in the country. Quite a journey from his original music career when he ran his own recording studios…

WHAT WAS YOUR INTRODUCTION TO THE POOL INDUSTRY?
Joined Oxford Pools in 1998 as an apprentice and ended in 2009 as Head Engineer.

HOW HAS YOUR POOL INDUSTRY CAREER PROGRESSED?
I joined Penguin Pools- as a Commercial Fitter in 2009, progressing to Service Manager from 2010 to 2013. I then joined Buckingham Pools as Contracts Manager, progressing to Operations Director in 2018 and now Managing Director from 2019.

WHO WOULD BE YOUR THREE SPECIAL GUESTS AT YOUR IDEAL DINNER PARTY?
• Ray Dalio – Author of one of the best books I have ever read ‘Principles’. Would love to dig deeper into it with Ray.
• Thom York – Would love to talk music all night with Thom.
• Richard Patterson – Would love some whisky recommendations from Richard.

WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO ON YOUR JOURNEY TO AND FROMWORK?
Employees, architects, builders and clients. Not necessarily in that order!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO OFFER THE POOL BUSINESS?
Quality and Clarity. It is too easy to pull together a selection of components and call it a pool design. This is not what we are about. We want to share our industry knowledge and ensure that every design shows as much attention to detail to the product specification, waterproofing methodology, filtration and chemical treatment systems as to the all important finishes.

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF WORK ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
I am a fan and follower of To Eat Your Frog; a book by Brian Tracy that encourages you to:
• Identify your frog (aka The hardest /most important task of the day)
• Eat it!
• Rinse and repeat

HOW HAS COVID CHANGED DAY TO DAY BUSINESS?
Apart from the obvious impacts regarding procurement and cost increases we have been very lucky in that we had already invested heavily in remote operating systems through the entire workforce, from the guys working at site level through to the office based teams. This has allowed us to adapt very efficiently into a flexible working routine.

WHAT ARE YOUR TEAM’S BIGGEST DAILY WORK CHALLENGES?
There are plenty of daily frogs in all forms and I’m proud to say the team excel in getting them dealt with, no matter the size!

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR CUSTOMERS AND THE INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?
Lead times, logisitics and rising raw material cost base.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE POOL MARKET EVOLVING?
Short term, I think we will start to see a separation between the men and the boys as the construction industry pushes through the current challenges. Longer term, a focus on efficiency, water quality and energy saving designs.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME OUT OF WORK?
As well as time with family and friends, I enjoy playing guitar and piano. I am heavily into audio production, recording, editing, mixing mastering. In fact, I owned and ran my own recording studio back in the day and cut some records with some local Oxford bands before I got stuck into swimming pools.