WaterShapes

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The Path to Better Times

By Jim McCloskey

WaterShapesWorldBlogI know for a fact that there are better times ahead for professionals who design and build with water. How? Well, it has nothing to do with psychic powers or a crystal ball. Rather, I know because my own experiences both as a child and an adult tell me this: Being in and around water is fundamental to human beings’ health and happiness.

I’ve always enjoyed spending time around water. I grew up about a mile from the Pacific; learned to swim and played regularly at a local municipal pool; sat by the tiny formal pool in the courtyard of my family’s house, watching the water spit from the mouth of its concrete frog; and sat in amazement observing the tadpoles and goldfish dart around in my next-door neighbor’s pond.

I’d say I was destined to care about watershapes.

So far this summer, I’ve already had a number of pleasurable experiences that involve water, including a day spent watching a friend’s child play in a fill-and-draw lagoon at Redondo Beach; another day walking along a creek bed in our local mountains; still another taking a driving tour of public fountains; and more than a few late afternoons floating in my own backyard pool.

None of these were professional activities — not even the impromptu fountain tour. In all cases, the plain fact was that by dint of wind, weather and opportunity, I found myself drawn to the water in ways that proved relaxing and irresistible.

Of course, I’ve set up my adult life to ensure that I’m near water, so it might be said that these encounters are as inevitable as they are irresistible. But I’ve always known there’s more to it than access or mere convenience: I feel better, more positive, more alive when I’m in or on or near water – and I’m definitely not alone. And that is why I’m convinced the future bodes well for our industry: The love of water is a natural.

This does not mean that there will be a meteoric rise in pool, pond or fountain sales in the near future. Economic recovery will come slowly, basically because the housing market is still steeped in uncertainty and the credit market is tight as a drum for all but the best-off consumers. As a result, demand is rebuilding only slowly — although quite possibly with unusual strength.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the clients you engage now and in the future will not be the same ones you encountered in the middle years of the last decade: They will have been thinking about what they want as never before; will be better informed about technologies and possibilities than they ever were; and will have heightened expectations about everything having to do with the design and construction processes.

It all adds up to a wonderful opportunity — but success won’t happen by itself. The watershapers who’ll prosper the most in the future are the ones who are the most thoughtful, insightful and innovative, the ones who’ve increased their professional expertise and become better at what they do. This, in essence, is why we at WaterShapes have always sought to make a contribution to the professionalism and business savvy of our readers — and will continue to do so in the future.

Needless to say, future success will depend to a large extent on good, old-fashioned hard work — but given human beings’ deep-seated affinity for water, there’s real value in putting in the effort.

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