Helping his father and a family friend on a swimming pool stand at the Royal Welsh Show proved to be a landmark holiday treat for a young Simon Jones, of AstralPool UK, now one of the UK’s leading experts in pool provision…
WHAT WAS YOUR INTRODUCTION TO THE POOL INDUSTRY?
As a lad, I spent the best part of a week camped in Builth Wells, with my father, on a swimming pool stand.
Little did I know that 12 years down the line I would eventually be working for this swimming pool business.
HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY CHANGED SINCE YOUR INVOLVEMENT?
Technology, as a manufacturer and distributor the demand now from our customers’ clients, is the need to control their pools via mobiles or tablets. We now see this on a day to day basis in our everyday life, now the demand is for this technology to control the pool lights, pumps, heating etc.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST DAILY WORK CHALLENGES?
Time management, with having a wide scope of task that I do for the company, it’s quite easy to lose track of time to get tasks completed. Even though I have a to do list this can be thrown into turmoil when you get that urgent call for a quote of a pool design drawing done, by the following day, but that’s the trials and tribulations of the pool industry.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR CUSTOMERS/THE INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?
I’m going to use one of our company values in adaptability. I’d like to see us look at different designs from the bog standard rectangular pool, use of different materials, stainless steel, acrylic etc and good landscape design to give the pool the wow factor. Thing is this wow factor does come at a cost.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE LANDMARK MOMENTS IN YOUR CAREER?
In 2008 we supplied the competition and training pools for the FINA World Swimming Short Course
championships, we had to oversee the pool builds and delivery of the facilities to FINA on time, heated and ready to use. This was one job where there was no chance of any extension in time. Needless to say, I had a few sleepless nights, especially when the two generators decide to breakdown on you, two days before the championships started.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE POOL MARKET EVOLVING IN THE SHORT AND LONG TERM?
We are seeing a lot of interest in the swim school market, holiday parks and the high end luxury pool market is another area on the up.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF WORK ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?
Two things my father always said to me: “Honesty is the best policy.” Nobody likes bad news, but better to be honest than string people alone with false promises. He also advised: “Never ask people to do any work that you’re not prepared to do.” So, you can often see me in our warehouse on my hands and knees doing my Health and Safety bit.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO INVITE THREE SPECIAL GUESTS TO A DINNER PARTY WHO WOULD THEY BE?
First has to be Freddie Mercury, I saw his last ever concert at Knebworth and his performance blew me away, he had the whole crowd eating out the palm of his hand. Next would be Robert
Downey Jr, I’m interested to hear how he managed to resurrect his career after the dark days, to where he is now. My last guest, I have to include the lovely Kylie Minogue mainly for my wife who is a big fan. I’m not going to argue with my wife, anyway as Kylie has Welsh ancestry that’s okay with me.
HOW DO YOU MOST LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME OUT OF WORK?
I’d love to be out on the golf course, but just don’t have the time these days. I do like to get and see my beloved Swansea City, now that the children have grown up, I’d like to go more often but I’ve a feeling Mrs Jones wouldn’t allow me.