“I told him that the pool service industry wasn’t getting much publicity from the trade journals,” Lowry said.
He’d been told by pool magazine editors that the publications don’t like to cater to the service side of the industry because it doesn’t generate enough advertising income.
“We’ve got a spa magazine, a retailer magazine, a dealer magazine, but nobody taking care of service techs,” Lowry said.
So, they decided to start Service Industry News, a newspaper that would focus entirely on issues related to pool service professionals.
After several years, however, Lowry knew that it wasn’t the kind of work he was trained to do.
“I was spending a lot more time being a writer than I wanted to be. I wasn’t spending time on being a chemist, which is what I loved to be. It was like turning in a term paper every two weeks, and I just didn’t want to be a journalist,” Lowry said.
Lowry wanted to sell the newspaper, and Dickman wanted to keep it, so Dickman bought him out.
After leaving the paper, Lowry worked briefly for Del Industries, manufacturers of ozone pool and spa equipment, but when senior management changed, Lowry decided to quit. However, Lowry said that one of his duties for Del was acting as a pool industry consultant, helping Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies with some of their technical issues, since they didn’t have a chemist in 1990.
That experience launched his next career path as he took a position as Technical Director with Leslie’s for the next five years.
“I was in charge of reformulating or developing new products, and in charge of their safety program, and in charge of their EPA registration for all of their pesticides, and I was also in charge of working with their training manager to train all of their employees about water chemistry,” Lowry said.
He also created a water chemistry technical notebook for Leslie’s store managers and a rewrote their pool owners’ manual.
After the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, Lowry decided to leave California, finding his new home in the Northeast mountains of Jasper, Georgia. There, he worked CPO instructor and as a consultant, with Leslie’s continuing to be one of his clients. Along the way, he continued his the work of his true passion as a chemist, and formulated new products for Natural Chemistry, Leslie’s and other chemical companies within the industry.
“The cool advantage I had as a formulations chemist at Leslie’s was that when I made a formula, because Leslie’s had direct interaction with consumers, we could see whether the sales were going up for a given product, and that would indicate whether a product was being accepted and working,” Lowry said. “For instance, the clarifier that they had when I came to work there – I didn’t think it was very good, so I reformulated it and about nine months later we checked on the sales of the clarifier, and they were up like 300% and that indicated we were making a better product.”
Lowry says the last product he formulated was liquid conditioner, or liquid cyanuric acid, and sold the marketing rights to Natural Chemistry, which was recently bought by Biolab, and one of the reasons Biolab wanted to acquire Natural Chemistry.
Altogether, Lowry says he has developed or formulated 111 chemical products for the pool industry.
He’s also written a lot of books for the pool and spa industry.
In 2004, IPSSA asked Lowry to write a training manual, so Lowry published IPSSA’s first Basic Training Manual in 2006, which was revised in 2016. In 2008, he published part 2 of the Manual, which focusses on equipment and 2009, Lowry published IPSSA’s Intermediate Training Manual. These books have also been translated into Spanish. In the meantime, he was also invited to re-write Leslie’s Swimming Pool and Spa Owner’s Manual.
In 2009, he met Silvia, the woman who would become his wife, and moved to Lima, Peru, where he lives today.
Since then, he has continued his work as a consultant at Lowry Consulting Group, LLC, and started the Pool Chemistry Training Institute with the late Greg Garrett in 2019. According to Lowry, it’s a pool care methodology similar to that recommended by the online forum, Troublefreepool. Using two texts, “Pool Chemistry for Service Pros” and the more comprehensive 228page “Pool Chemistry for Residential Pools” students can attend a one-day certification course that features the most up-to-date best-practices on water chemistry.
Since its inception, the institute has certified over 600 pool professionals with the help of 8 total instructors across the country. And when the pandemic began, the institute moved to a virtual format, and has held 10 classes in the last year.
“It gives me a warm feeling that people are seeking out this education. Since I got into this industry, I have tried to find scientific fact-based information and take that complex chemistry and reduce it to something that service techs and store personnel can understand,” Lowry said.