information from the PHTA, the Plaster Council Tech Manual for references. No one wants to have their work called out but if you are going to take on plastering, building, or taking care of a pool you have to understand that at some point in your career you are going to make a mistake. Step up and own it.
SIN: Based on the inspections you’ve done, what advice can you offer pool builders or service techs?
Westfall: My recommendation to everyone in the pool industry: you must keep records. Document everything you do. Everyone has a cell phone. If you are a plasterer – take a picture of the pool before you fill it. If you are a start-up person, take a picture of it when you walk into the backyard. It proves your point. If you end up in arbitration, small claims, or civil courts, what you say doesn’t matter – its hearsay. Bob Lowry has a good saying: science doesn’t care what you think. You have to document it. It’s the only way to protect yourself. People say they don’t have time, and then they have to make time to spend it with me. It only takes a few minutes each day. The forms are out there – Google it. If you can hand me documentation that proves you did everything you were supposed to, how can I argue with that?
SIN: Looking forward, what do you think are the NPC’s important goals?
Westfall: The NPC has been working on an apprenticeship program and I’m excited about getting that fired back up. Us older people have been at it for years and we need to pass on what we know. The first thing is to teach kids that you don’t have to go to college to be successful. There’s nothing wrong with going to college – don’t get me wrong, but it is not necessary to make a good living. You can do very well in a trade type of job. A lot of people really do love working with their hands.
And if you love what you are doing at work, it’s not work. So, hopefully the apprenticeship program is going to take off.
My hopes are high.
The NPC created the position of Director of Technical Services in 2015 when Greg Garrett accepted the post. Garrett began his career as a pool builder in 1969, was a founding member of the NPC, volunteered countless hours to pool associations and committees, and educated pool professionals across the country on a variety of topics related to plastering before his sudden death in 2019. It is with humility and honor that Westfall carries the mantle.
Greg Garrett, 1955 – 2019