• Credit: Courtesy The Thomas Family

Longtime industry veteran David Jackman “Jack” Thomas passed away May 12 after a battle with heart-related problems. He was 69.

Thomas launched his lifelong aquatics career as a lifeguard at the New Jersey shore in high school and college, where he studied biology and chemistry. In the mid-1970s, he started Brandywine Hot Tub Co., a custom residential spa business in the Philadelphia area. His time as a hot tub dealer — constructing the spas on site, unlike today’s portable spas — along with his background teaching biology and chemistry in the Philadelphia School District, led to his interest in chemical sales. He started with Purex Chemical Co. as a sales manager, and continued his career with Hydrotech, BioLab, ChlorKing and, most recently, AllChem Performance Products, where he had been for 10 years.

“Jack treated me like a son since I met him in 1991 at BioLab, and we’ve worked together since,” said Brian Bokowy, business manager at Gainesville, Fla.-based AllChem Performance Products.

Thomas was at BioLab in the early 1990s, when the company started its commercial line. He was the national sales manager for that division, beginning a career focused on commercial pool market customers. Those bromine and ozone products serviced large commercial aquatics facilities, including the one used for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

“One of the things that always stood out, even though he was a sales professional, [was that] he was always such an advocate for the customer,” Bokowy said. “He truly always had the customer’s best interest at heart. He always wanted to make things work. … It’s why he is so loved by all his customers across the country.”