If Tom Saldarelli’s business life over the past decade or so were a waterslide, it would make even the most extreme rides look tame. After joining Paragon Aquatics in 1991 as its president, the company was sold to General Aquatics in 1995.
Then in 1997, the company was sold to the global giant, Essef, which operated PacFab. Just two years later, the whole company was purchased by Pentair, a nearly $3 billion company with a $600 million Pool and Spa Products division, according to the company’s Web site.
“It’s been a very good ride,” says Saldarelli, who through every twist and turn has remained the president of Paragon.
In fact, change has been happening so fast around Saldarelli and company that he’s still catching up with it all. And while he doesn’t quite know the shape of the future for Paragon (at least he’s not ready to talk about it in detail), he knows it’s bright. “We’re very excited about the opportunity and the growth over the next three to five years,” says Saldarelli.
One thing that gets him jazzed is the marketing and product development opportunities now possible between Pentair Pool Products and Paragon — ones they’ve only just begun to explore. Saldarelli sees this combination producing new equipment and technology for pools, waterparks and aquariums.
He’s also enthusiastic about the commitment he feels Pentair will make to the pool and spa marketplace — a real show of confidence from a publicly owned company. In other words, when it comes to new product development for the aquatics industry, Saldarelli is on a very big, very powerful ship that’s just beginning to gather steam.
Just as he sees big things for his company, he also sees them for the industry as a whole.
“The industry is just going to evolve and reach plateau after plateau,” he says. “I’m seeing it happen already. Just getting together and pooling our talents, we’re going to make it better in areas that we can’t even imagine.”