Tom Saldarelli, president of Paragon Aquatics, has left the LaGrangeville, N.Y., company after nearly two decades, in part because of the recent downturn in the economy.

Saldarelli said he worked closely with parent firm Pentair Water Pool and Spa of Sanford, N.C., to define a plan of growth that would reduce overhead.

?As a result of those conversations, I decided it was the right time for me to leave,? Saldarelli said. He is confident the management he put in place will continue the company?s success. One of his most difficult tasks was leaving behind the people with whom he had grown close since joining Paragon, he said.

Though he?s saying goodbye to the company that established him within the industry, Saldarelli has no plans to slow down.

?Retirement is not in my vocabulary,? he noted. Within weeks of announcing his resignation, he began work as the new CEO of RehaMed International, specializing in adaptive products for the disabled, including specialty pool lifts.

With his new job located in Homestead, Fla., he will continue the rigorous travel schedule and work ethic that has paid off for him during his aquatics career. Currently, he maintains a home office outside of Manhattan.

Before his tenure at Paragon, Saldarelli worked in a variety of industries, seeing success in the high-speed packaging business and corporate engineering. In 1989, he joined Paragon?s holding company, KDI, also in LaGrangeville. There, he was a key player in many major acquisitions, including industry giant Pentair and Stark Filtration. During this time, he also ran a successful West Coast pool cover company, commuting weekly across the country.

?Once the industry heard [that I was leaving Paragon], I received such wonderful feedback and calls ... with different opportunities,? Saldarelli said. ?That was very gratifying.?