When our Social Media Director, Caitlyn, asked me to jot down something on a favorite product, I realized it might not be as simple a task as it sounds. There are so many Atlantic products that I personally find literally extraordinary, as in “beyond the ordinary.” I’m not alone. Contractors, especially those with little experience with our line, usually notice that our FastFalls, FilterFalls, Skimmers and Basins are all built a little differently than everyone else’s.
Thinking back, I remembered the first time I saw an AWG product that was definitely out of the ordinary. It was at the Winter Workshop for Pond Professionals in Lawrence, Kansas, presented by Water’s Edge, a deceptively small water garden specialty distributor that punches waaaay above its weight. Deb Spencer and Susan Davis have quietly promoted the highest ideals, standards and education in water gardening for decades. The Workshop presented the latest trends in water features to contractors from all over the country. Brandon Dwyer, the new product development guy at AWG, was doing the Pond-free presentation. I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me for info about my (competing) product line to include in his presentation. We started jazzing about a couple of his current projects. He waxed deservedly enthusiastic about his revolutionary new check valve and asks if I’d like to take a look at what he called a three-way diverter.
A little background, I had just built a small fountain requiring multiple water returns for a customer. The valved manifold I constructed separated the flow from the 1½” outlet on the pump to three ¾” spouts. It cost me $40 in fittings: two tees, two elbows, three close nipples, three reducing bushings, three valves and three barbed adapters. It took me 45 minutes to cut and glue, ended up 14” wide, was impossible to hide and looked like hell.
So, this thin, well-spoken bespectacled young man reaches into the bag on his shoulder, pulls out this polished piece of black plastic with two red handles and asks my opinion. My first thought is, I’ve met Skinny Santa Claus, and I musta been good, because this is a gift of genius. He’s stuffed an 1½” threaded inlet, three valves and three ¾” barbed outlets into a single fitting the size of my fist. I would be lying if I said I was impressed; I flat flipped out. This Brandon was not only thinking up terrific new products for contractors, he was actually building them!
Years before I landed at Atlantic, I knew I wanted to work with the skinny dude.
By the way, those FastFalls, FilterFalls, Skimmers and Basins that are all built a little differently from everyone else’s? Right outta the same bag.
About the Author:
Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.