Our Work is Your Play: AMERICAN POOL

by Lindy Regan

It started out like every other bone-chilling day in the endless winter of 2014. The sky was gray and spewing something cold and damp, sideways. The temperature hovered somewhere between ‘not again’ and ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’  Our feet were always wet, our backs were always hunched, and all any of us could imagine was more of the same.  Then Benjamin Basch of American Pool spoke these words: “I promise it will be summer.”  And we believed him.

If anyone knows summer, it is Ben Basch, who has made it his life’s work to make others’ time in the sun both safe and fun. Now a company president, Ben began his career with American Pool as a 17-year-old lifeguard in Baltimore where he spent “all day every day” of his childhood summers. He swam competitively and guarded there all through college. After a couple of false starts in the unstable job market of his graduation year, Ben approached American Pool to see if they might put him to work full time.

“I was hired as a construction worker,” he recalls, “then I switched back into supervising the lifeguards; next I became a regional manager down there. About 16 years ago when the company was looking at expansion I got the opportunity to open my own location here.” Of his move from lifeguard’s chair to president’s seat, Ben says with a smile, “When I go back to my class reunions I’m the only one who still has his first job from high school. I have a lot of passion for it. It’s really in me. It’s challenging and it is never boring. Maybe it’s the effect of long-term chlorine exposure, but in all these years I haven’t been bored once.”

American Pool is the largest commercial swimming pool management, maintenance, and construction company in the United States, with 23 subsidiaries serving more than 10,000 pools for swim and beach clubs, country clubs, apartments, condominiums, homeowner associations, fitness clubs, active adult communities, and hospitality facilities in 14 East Coast states, Washington, DC, and Ontario, Canada. From its headquarters in Raritan Center, Ben’s company staffs, maintains, repairs, renovates and constructs pools for commercial customers throughout Central New Jersey. “The management and the renovation and repair are our core business,” Ben explains, “and those are very complementary.”

The pool management division centers on providing customers with reliable, well-trained, certified lifeguards.  Steve Farley runs the lifeguard recruiting and training programs here. “We can take on any

pool,” says Ben, “whether it’s a ten-guard facility or a one-guard facility. We offer Red Cross training for lifeguards at pools throughout the region, and at a significant discount if they’re going to make the commitment to come work for us.”

Providing its clients with the option of year-round maintenance and renovation sets American Pool apart from many other pool management firms. “That’s a huge differentiator for us,” explains Ben. “Without a maintenance plan, things will break down. Pool time will be lost. The aesthetic will suffer. Above all, safety will be compromised. We strive to give our customers maximum value for what they’re paying us, but in order to deliver on our safety promise certain corners simply cannot be cut. Clients who are forward-thinking, who want to maintain their properties at a luxury level are great partners for us, and those are the clients I feel get the most value out of our service. They get the work done on a good schedule and their pools always look great.”

Among those clients are several shore area beach clubs that had been leveled by Hurricane Sandy. American Pools accomplished the repairs, renovation, rebuilding, and new construction projects that allowed them to return to operation last year in time for the season.

All this talk of summer recreation prompts us to wonder if Ben can leave his job at the office, so to speak, when he takes his young family on vacation. Sitting at his desk beneath a vintage souvenir pennant from Florida’s Weeki Wachee Spring of the Live Mermaids, he admits, “I try not to complain; I try to stop myself at straightening the chairs around the pool when I’m on vacation. But I can tell from the parking lot if I’m going to let my kids go in a pool or not. Is it blue? Are the lifeguards where they’re supposed to be? That’s what I’m looking at.” In closing, the man who has restored our faith in carefree days to come leaves us with a few more words to live by: “If ever you can’t see the bottom of a pool, if it doesn’t look crystal clear, don’t go in. Don’t go in! DON’T GO IN!”

Business Name:
American Pool
President, Central New Jersey:
Benjamin Basch
Lifeguard Recruiting & Training Director:
Steve Farley
Business Type:
Commercial Swimming Pool Management, Maintenance & Construction; Life Guard Training & Employment
Between Route 80 and Route 33 in Central New Jersey
Customer Base: Swim & Country Clubs; Multi-Family Residential Complexes; Hospitality Facilities; Commercial &
Multi-Unit Residential Property Developers
Years in Business:
Years at Raritan Center:
Number of Employees:
13 full time; 600 seasonal
85 Campus Drive, Edison, NJ 08837
Distinguishing Characteristics: “We’re professional, we’re experienced, and we care.”
Interview Date: February 2014
Picture By: Insight Photography