Hundreds of water feature industry professionals attended Pondemonium, Aquascape’s premier training, networking and pond event from Aug. 24-28, 2016, in St. Charles, Illinois. This year’s theme was “Leading the Change” in honor of Aquascape’s 25-year anniversary. In-depth classroom sessions and hands-on training were available for both novice and advanced water feature professionals throughout the event. Numerous networking sessions allowed for the exchange of ideas among peers.
An inspiring Leadership Bootcamp for business owners and managers opened the event on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Attendees completed a DiSC profile in advance in order to learn their personality styles and how they influence leadership behaviors. Classroom training and hands-on activities provided insight on how to coach and interact with staff to create the best work environment. Wednesday evening was set aside for the annual Top Frog dinner, where leading contactors and retailers were recognized.
Thursday’s events included hands-on training for foreman and water feature installers new to the industry. After classroom training was completed, attendees were divided into smaller groups to apply what they had learned and install an actual waterfall feature. At the same time, an advanced waterfall build with hands-on training took place at the Q Center in St. Charles with Certified Aquascape Contractors. Thursday concluded with an inspiring keynote presentation from Jim O’Connor.
Friday and Saturday mornings consisted of keynote presentations from Greg Wittstock, the owner and CEO of Aquascape Inc., and Ed Beaulieu, the vice president of field research. The mornings continued with roundtable discussions led by industry peers, classroom training and inspirational sessions focusing on water features and best business practices. A local pond tour, a fish wet lab and a tour to Lurvey’s Garden Center were conducted in the afternoon. A fundraiser for the Aquascape Foundation was held at Top Golf on Friday evening.
Pondemonium concluded with its annual awards ceremony and “Blow-Out Bash” party. Special award recipients for the year included:
- Businessman of the Year: Joe Phagan of Living Waterscapes, Kernersville, North Carolina
- Certified Aquascape Contractor of the Year: David Blocksom of Pondscapes of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Water Feature Artist of the Year: Alan Decker of Decker’s Landscape and Aquatics, Pattersonville, New York
- Conservationist of the Year: Bernie Kerkvliet of Skyline Ponds, Blue Jay, California
In addition, awards were presented to the Top 20 Contractors and Top 20 Retailers.
Next year’s Pondemonium event is slated for Aug. 23-26, 2017. For more information about the event, visit www.pondemonium.com. For information about Aquascape products and services, visit www.aquascapeinc.com.