Watershaper Grant Smith passed away in his sleep on November 15th, leaving behind a legacy of honor, artistry, and leadership. Through his company, Aqua Link Pools & Spas, Grant was a frequent collaborator among the WU community and the watershaping industry at large.
The Watershaping community learned of his passing while in the midst of an exciting run of activity at the International Pool|Spa|Deck Expo in Dallas, Tex. It was devastating news that deeply saddened his many friends and colleagues.
That evening, Watershape University founders, Dave Peterson and Bill Drakeley paid tribute to Grant at WU’s first-ever “tailgate party”. Peterson said: “He raised the bar and was a close friend. He and his family will always be in our hearts. We know he want us to keep going.”
To those who knew him, Grant was a father, husband, mentor, builder, boss, marine, and friend of the highest caliber, and we will miss him dearly. He was also a contributor to the pages of this publications. He touched many.
To support Grant’s family in this difficult time, please consider donating to his memorial fund linked here.
Grant can be best described through his own words in this post on lessons in leadership that Grant penned for Veteran’s Day.
Since it’s Veterans Day today, I thought I would talk about leadership since it is lacking in today’s society and share some of the leadership values that I was taught and learned in the Marine Corps. Some of these traits are taught in leadership classes and in corporate settings but how many people truly practice them on a daily basis? If your one of them then your ahead of the game on employee retention and keeping your company going during trying times. Lead from the front: This is a simple one. Be up first, be the last to end the day and be on the job site to deal with the client so your employees don’t have to. It’s not their responsibility to deal with issues that come up on the job site with other employees, vendors or your client.
Make sure that you can can do everything you ask of your employees. Be willing to grab a shovel, hold a pumper hose, unload a truck. As a leader you must show and be willing to do every task on the job site no matter how nasty or menial it is. Do not ask others to do what you are not willing to do yourself. Lead by example: Don’t show up dressed worse than your employees. Be properly groomed, clean clothes and work boots so your ready to walk the job site. Be dressed for the job. If you have uniforms all the better. You can differentiate yourself by wearing a different item of clothing that has the company logo on it but if everyone dresses the same it fosters more of a team attitude. Don’t show up on the job with Gucci loafers either. It just will make you look like a tool.  Never take anything from them: Do not make bets on sports games where they could owe you money or accept anything personal that may belong to them. Do not put yourself in a position where they feel like they owe you anything. Your the leader your have to hold yourself to a higher standard.  Leaders eat last: This to me is the most important one. Make sure you have all your employees needs taken care of before your own. Whether it’s money, time off or the proper tools. For example. If it’s a long day placing shotcrete or pouring a deck do not run down to grab something to eat and eat it in front of them while they are still working. You should be eating last!
Make sure your junior guy eats first and then work your way up the chain of command until everyone is taken care of and then you can finally partake if there is anything left over. This simple act alone will foster more goodwill than you realize.
These are just a few examples of leadership. I can proudly say I have employees that have been with me for 13 plus years. In today’s labor market showing and leading by example will keep your employees with you thru thick and thin.