Ahh, my first Atlantic Professional Conference! I would call this one short, but sweet. It started on a Wednesday, and unfortunately, I missed the business coaching with Yolanda Ortiz of Corazon Business Coaching. The buzz among Atlantic contractors was that her team-building exercise on how to effectively communicate and how to plan for long-term goals was highly informative.
Sorry to have missed all that great information! The hospitality room was open early, and what better place to sit and relax and watch a room full of contractors not only enjoy themselves, but also have conversations about pond-building experiences, problems, successes, and funny stories. It’s great to bond with like-minded people, and we all know there are so many fascinating people in the pond-building industry. The day was topped off with a delicious dinner at the Pine Lake Trout Club.
On Thursday, we got down to business. We started off with a presentation about Atlantic’s product systems, and specifically how fountain, formal spillway, pond-free, water garden and lighting products combine and interchange within each system to create numerous options and greatly simplify installs. Next up was a rollout of Atlantic’s new products, and they’ve sure been busy. There will be new additions to the fountain and formal spillway systems, along with a total lighting redesign for next season. A class on adding dollars to the coffers with maintenance rounded out the morning.
In the afternoon, we bused over to the Atlantic headquarters, where we rotated through hands-on classes on plumbing design, pump tear-down, concealment of equipment, lighting in the hardscape, pond maintenance and construction tips.
We closed out the conference with a night out at the Cleveland Aquarium, which was closed to the public for the night. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served as attendees mingled, enjoying the private viewing of the facility. Before dinner was served, the Atlantic “Contractor of the Year” was announced. This year’s recipients, Shane Hemphill and Heath Webb of Art of the Yard, received the award from the two previous winners, Gerard Touhey of Water Features by Gerard and Rex McCaskill of Pond Professors.
Colorado-based Art of the Yard was recognized for going above and beyond in professionalism and artistry. Back at the hospitality room, we wound down with late-night discussions and good-byes. Until next year!