Zooming Around The World: 2020 Atlantic-OASE Virtual Conference

Hey All! It’s Demi, we’re all still fired up about our first Virtual Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Conference last Wednesday and Thursday. Zoom allowed us to reach hundreds of attendees from Europe to Australia, Mexico to Canada without a hitch, and without the hassles of travel, masks and distancing.

Jeff Weemhoff, President of Atlantic-OASE kicked off the Conference, welcoming attendees around the globe from Aurora, Ohio. Next, Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water, presented a riveting recap of how OASE started, and where we’re going, speaking from World Headquarters on the other side of the world. When the head of the world’s largest manufacturer of water feature equipment speaks, it’s the real deal and we were very excited to have him join us!

Next up, from Michigan, our recently promoted Training Manager, Jim Chubb, showcased OASE Advanced Filtration systems, and how they dovetail perfectly with Atlantic’s Skimmers and FilterFalls. From a mile high, Kyle Weemhoff and Sean Bell continued the theme of ‘Two Is Better Than One’ with a detailed look at a Denver pond with both an OASE pump-and-filter setup and a traditional Atlantic skimmer/falls combo. We’re calling this the “A-O Water Feature.” It’s the perfect combination of both brands to create the ultimate water feature.

After a short break, newest member to the Marketing Team, Leah La Farciola, flew attendees via camera drone all through the 170,000 square foot facility. The highlight was the SandBox Training Center, something we’ve been working on for a couple of years on paper and has finally come to fruition! The Training Center combines the hands-on training areas you’d expect to find (it ain’t called “SandBox” for nothing) with a beautiful fully landscaped façade and “back yard”, complete with sod lawns, plantings, walks and patios. Not only can we train in the dirt and host on-line events year-round regardless of weather, we now have an indoor backdrop for Marketing’s photos and videos. We’re ALL thrilled. Next Frayne McAtee covered calculations for single and multi-nozzle fountain systems, followed with participants continuing lively discussions of the benefits of the pair-up in Round Table discussions.

The first day of the Conference ended with attendees splitting up into ‘Zoom Rooms’ to network during a virtual Cocktail Hour – mine was the Long Island Ice Tea Room.

Day Two opened with Frayne and yours truly presenting New Products – new filters for smaller water gardens and hardscape features, Product Bundles that add water and light to hardscapes and cool new hand-hammered brass bowls similar to the Copper Bowls but heavier, with an amazing patina. My friend and Category Manager, Maximilian Colditz, was up next with an informative presentation on state-of-the-art Natural Swimming Pools from Germany, a topic of particular interest to many, including me. Frayne followed up with what’s coming to North America for Natural Swimming Pools. Then, we Zoomed back to the States where Regional Manager, Sean Bell, unraveled the knots of Estimating Hardscape Water Features. Jim Chubb batted cleanup with an in-depth inspection of the latest in remote control of filters, pumps and lighting via wifi and applications with the Easy Garden Control system or EGC.

In closing Thursday afternoon, Jeff Weemhoff, presented the President’s Award to renowned sustainability expert, fitness coach and award-winning designer and builder of water features Mike Garcia of Enviroscapes LA for his years of teaching the responsible use of water in the landscape. The Pond Monster, Lloyd Lightsey, presented the Monster Award to Art of the Yard’s Shane Hemphill and Heath Webb for their selfless and constant support of other contractors across the industry. Jeff ended the Conference with the presentation of the APC Contractors of the Year Award to Jason and Tony Lenox and their crew at Ponds Inc. of Illinois for their public promotion of excellence in pond construction and practices. “The Conference went off without a hitch”, commented marketing director, Kendahl Kreps, “but we’re looking forward to seeing everyone in person next year!”

Thank you to everyone who attended or registered and watched the conference on demand this year!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

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.

2020 Virtual Conference – Classes, Camaraderie and Communion

It’s that time once again, although this year has “encouraged” a number of business and lifestyle changes, for all of us, everywhere. 2020, wow! We’ll be meeting virtually, but that hasn’t affected the lineup at all.

We’ll kick off two days of classes, camaraderie and communion with live introductions from President Jeff Weemhoff here in Aurora, Ohio and CEO Thorsten Muck from World Headquarters in Horstel, Germany. As befits the greatest strength of Atlantic-OASE, our theme Two Brands Are Better Than One echoes throughout the event. Day One, classes on Advanced Filtration and the A-O Water Feature offer solutions for perfect water clarity by combining American ecosystem and European pump-in-pond methodology. We’ll have updates on products and the new Training Center (don’t miss that!), a tour of the factory, Round Tables with all your friends here and a Virtual Cocktail Party, a BYOB schmooze and booze.

Day Two will kick off with New Products, always a favorite, then Natural Swimming Pools, THE up-and-coming new water features, with my buddy Max Colditz from Across The Pond, a Continental expert on Natural Swimming Pools, review the latest in WiFi-enabled equipment control and host more Round Tables before Jeff closes the Conference. Along with all of our live classes the two days, we’ll have a section of prerecorded classes to go watch at your own leisure! We’ll go over quoting hardscape projects and chat with special guest Jason Lenox about the challenges of LARGE ponds and boulders, show you how to shoot videos and photos with a drone, learn social media tips for your business and more!

Along the way we’ll be sending you a bunch o’swag, offering exclusive pre-recorded content for you to enjoy anytime and giveaways and streaming our always-anticipated annual Awards Ceremony. Guests from around the world have already registered (Hi David!) – what are you waiting for? See you soon! Demi

Click here to register!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

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.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Mike Garcia

From all the way over on the west coast, join us in recognizing another outstanding Atlantic-OASE Professional contractor! Mike Garcia is a California landscape contractor that offers sustainable and environmentally friendly designs!

Mike Garcia, Enviroscape LA, California

Where are you from: Redondo Beach / Los Angeles

How long you’ve been working in the industry: 40 years

What you love about what you do: Building water features comes from inspiration at the deepest level. Tying these into aquaponic systems gives people the most nutrient dense food on the planet.

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: This is perhaps the hardest question I have ever been asked! I originally learned about OASE about 15 years ago and instantly knew it was way different from anything else in the pond world. I love the new Koi pond filter that is app based and will be installing my personal one this year. I love the Quintet because you can break up the set and place them individually in the garden to create magic. Atlantic pumps are amazing for the American style water gardens. OASE pumps and filters put a pond contractor on another level compared to the average pond contractor who only uses conventional methodologies.

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: One of my favorite projects was the water garden that we built for my next door neighbor about 13 years ago. Atlantic Water Gardens provided the materials  and we did this in conjunction with the California Landscape Contractor Association (CLCA). This pond still looks amazing and the original AWG pump it is still working……AFTER 13 YEARS!!!!!!

Recent projects I’ve worked on: We were recipients of the 2019 California Landscape Contractor Association (CLCA) Best Pond of Los Angeles division at the annual pond contractor competition. We won’t 1st place! 

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: For the past century, our planet has been under assault from pollution, chemical insecticides, herbicides, global climate change and a plethora of other challenges that call into question whether mankind will continue to have a future on our planet. There is hope. We can change the course we are taking, but everyone must be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Ponds are truly a part of the solution because ponds help the natural cycles of life and create a water source for pollinators. Ponds also help reduce high blood pressure and it is encouraging to see ponds becoming a major part of the Aquaponic community.  Aquaponics grow food while recycling the same water over and over, which gives us hope for the future because one of the side effects of global climate change is drought. The case for pond building could fill a book. Ponds are a part of the solution for a better planet. Ponds give us hope!

For more from Mike and his team at Enviroscape LA follow him on Facebook and Instagram! Check out his YouTube channel as well!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Andrew Marchael & Nick Swarts

Join us in recognizing another fantastic Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Spotlight from Kansas City, Missouri!

Andrew Marchael & Nick Swarts, Royal Pond Services, Missouri 

Where are you from: We are both born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and have proudly serviced over 1,200 water gardens in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area!

How long you’ve been working in the industry: We started Royal Pond Services 14 years ago. 

What you love about what you do: Andrew says “I love helping people and this industry allows me to help people enjoy their water features. A lot of our clients have became friends and they know we are a phone call away for any help they need. This is one of the only service industries I know of that your clients truly become life long friends. We have even been offered vacation homes, sporting event tickets, gift cards, etc. just because of the relationships we have built with our clients and that’s a special feeling.”

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: Our favorite Atlantic products are the TT Pump Series and favorite OASE product is the FiltoClear 8000 pressure filter.

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: One fun project we did was converting an old leaky pond to a pondless waterfall using TT6000 pump Atlantic Eco-Blox, Atlantic waterfall diffuser and Atlantic PV1700 pump reservoir!

New projects I’m working on: A summer 2020 project we’re working on is a rebuild of a 40 foot leaking stream on side a back yard hill. We always love being able to take a landscaper mistake and turn it into something the homeowner can enjoy for years to come! We will be using all Atlantic products on this project!

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: There are so many options with water features and I think we should always convey those to the customers. With  Atlantic-OASE together, we have more options than ever when it comes to filtration, lighting etc. We should let our customers know that there is multiple solutions and guide them to one that works and fits their budget. The other tip I would give would be staying on top of communication with your customers. I think that is the key in our industry. I don’t know how many jobs I have taken from other contractors by simply calling a customer back in a timely fashion. A lot of customers are waiting weeks and even months before we are on site, we need to be keeping them updated with our schedule.

For more from Andrew and Nick and the Royal Pond Services team, follow them on Facebook!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Jason & Tony Lenox

Join us in recognizing an Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) pair of brothers for another spotlight section!

Jason Lenox and Tony Lenox, Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Illinois 

Where are you from: Jason was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and is now residing in Dundee, Illinois. Tony was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is now residing in South Elgin, Illinois. Ponds Inc. of Illinois is based in Gilberts, Illinois currently.

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I’ve been working in the landscaping industry for 30 years. We’re proud to be two time POND Trade Magazine Water Artisans of the Year Award Winners. 

What you love about what you do: My Brother and I love helping others while helping ourselves through our artistry and passion of creating truly enjoyable outdoor spaces that soothe your soul allowing smiles to flow like the waterfalls we create!

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: There are so many incredible products to choose from especially with the Atlantic Water Gardens products combined with the OASE North America products! 

I guess I would have to say must have favorite or a useful product for maintaining and servicing water features is: PondVac 5 it’s a very useful tool for us!

For creating incredible elements to any water feature design: the FastFalls Series is also impressive!

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: Key West, Florida was definitely a beautiful place for my Brother and I to build an incredible all Atlantic-OASE product water feature! What’s even more exciting about it is that we were able to build together with the #CrazyHappyIrishPondBuilder known as Gerard Touhey of WaterFeaturesbyGerard.com! How can building a large scale PondFree water feature in paradise with our great friend Gerard Touhey not be a favorite project? Even Lloyd Lightsey, ThePondMonster.com from Florida came down to participate in our shenanigans!

Gerard Touhey, Water Features by Gerard

New projects I’m working on: Ponds Inc. is currently designing a large water wall waterfalls feature in downtown Chicago working with David Montoya of StoneMakers.net utilizing incredible artificial rock work combined with Atlantic-OASE products to create a truly magnificent outdoor dining space at a well known Chicago restaurant! Stay tuned! 

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: Number one, the most important advice I can offer is to get your company’s website listed with the Team at www.p-o-n-d.services so you’re found on page one of search engines like Google! Encourage your distributors, retailers, landscapers and manufacturers to get connected also! The more our industry gets connected, the more beneficial it is to us all!

My next best advice is to learn and soak up as much as you can from other pond contractors throughout our industry. We all can always learn from each other through networking! This includes attending industry events and landscape shows. Get to know others who you can help which in turn helps you all to succeed in this industry that we all love!

Lastly, help each other out by participating in social media by sharing, watching, liking, subscribing and commenting on each others content from Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Houzz, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Twitter and Snap Chat! Give Google reviews, Facebook reviews and reviews on Houzz etc! Help each other succeed and others will help you succeed!

See more of the Lenox brothers on all of their social media! Facebook Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Twitter @PondsInc4you, Houzz Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Pinterest Ponds Inc. of Illinois and Hometalk Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Jason Lenox.


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

10 Water Features You’ll Fall in Love with This Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate the holiday of love than by showing our love for water features! See some of our favorites that we’d love to have in our backyards!

1. This pool and spa combo that would go on anyone’s dream house Pinterest board

Whitaker Waterscapes LLC (Franklinville, NC)

2. A calming koi fish pond that sits right outside your front porch

The Pond Monster (Winter Haven, FL)

3. A Pond-free waterfall that gives you the beauty of a waterfall without a pond taking up extra space in your yard

TLC Landscaping INC. (Solon, OH)

4. Gorgeous glowing copper bowls to give your backyard a cool nighttime entertaining space

Atlantic-OASE (Aurora, OH)

5. This modern spillway and patio setup that gives you the excuse to spend every Sunday afternoon outside

Green Ace Landscaping Inc. (Oakville, Ontario)

6. Custom waterfalls that will make all of your neighbors jealous

LCM Landscaping & Design (Peyton, CO)

7. A complete backyard oasis that you could spend all day exploring

Water Features by Gerard (Easton, PA)

8. A stunning waterfall blending into the landscape of your backyard

Premium Aquascapes (Bergenfield, New Jersey)

9. An architectural pond and patio masterpiece that has every art enthusiast drooling

Art of the Yard (Littleton, CO)

10. This beautiful natural looking waterfall that looks like you’re stepping right into the forest

Bulone Brothers Landscaping (Twinsburg, OH)

Want to see more amazing water features you’ll fall in love with instantly? Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration for your next backyard addition!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Lloyd Lightsey

Join us in recognizing another “Monstrously” incredible Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) spotlight, Lloyd “The Pond Monster” Lightsey.

Lloyd Lightsey – The Pond Monster, Florida

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I have been in the industry for 46 years, I started when I was 13. There is a great article in POND Trade magazine on how Slocum Water Gardens birthed the monster. (You can read it here.)

What you love about what you do: Everyone loves a water feature and are always drawn to it. As your eyes catch the glimmer of the Water from a distance, it lures you to it. Also the sound of the water flowing always seems to mesmerize you and bring a calming to the soul. Case in point, if viewing pictures from a vacation there is always usually a fountain or a waterfall in the back drop.

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: From Atlantic it is the PS15000 Skimmer and from OASE it is any of the Filtoclear series.

How long have you been an APC: 5 years

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: The “Living” the Pond Life build during the Water Garden Expo located at The Pond Shop in Shawnee OK, which was headed up by myself and the most awesome Demi Fortuna. This build maybe one that will never be duplicated as 5 different manufacturers came together and worked side-by-side to complete this build that is dedicated to those who have and have not lost their battle with cancer. I will be for ever humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this as it made me love and respect every person and manufacture that was there. With a lot of appreciation for Atlantic Water Gardens for supplying the materials and of course to Pondliner Unit liner for allowing us to do it. My main goal for this build was to put an eternal flame at the top of this build for all those to be remembered. That was and always will be a very emotional build for me, as my dedication to this build was to my wife who won her battle with cancer and still stands by my side in this industry.

New projects I’m working on: I have a project coming up to which we will be installing a new filtration system at one of the attractions here in Florida that features a white alligator.

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: I feel very blessed with being in this industry with those who I have met and look forward to meeting. I do love what I do as we make friends one pond at a time. As for any advice I would have for anyone in the industry or about to get into the industry, I highly recommend PONDS services. When I was contacted by my good friend BJ Linger to help build my web page and to start putting me at the top of the Google list, my business has absolutely taken off phenomenally it is the best market in advertising that I have ever seen.

See more of Lloyd, The Pond Monster, on his Facebook page, Thepondmonster or visit his website www.thepondmonster.com.


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Alan Koontz

The next Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight for December 2019 is APC Alan Koontz and his wife Sherry Koontz.

Alan & Sherry Koontz – Carolina Pondscapes, Inc., North Carolina

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I personally have been in the industry since 1999, but wife Sherry has been in it for about 25 years.

What you love about what you do: A good pond builder is an “Artist”.  Taking a Blank Canvas in the landscape and being able to create a “Work of Art”!  

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: As a whole, I like all the products and enjoy installing the Colorfalls. These give the customers a multitude of options for seasonal lighting

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: Our latest Koi Viewing Window, in Greensboro, is one of my favorite projects.

New projects I’m working on: We are working on plans now for a large swim pond in another city. This will include bog filtration, large weathered boulders (diving size) and a multitude of different techniques implemented into the feature.  

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: Work Together. Don’t put down anyone else’s work. Be willing to help each other and learn from everyone. As one of the older pond builders / companies in this industry, I have acquired a lot of knowledge and gained valuable experience, but I learn new techniques, new challenges and still ask questions on different construction projects. Certification is great, but don’t use that as a reason to put down other contractors that have not gone through the certification process since there are many pond builders out there that are much more experienced and do better work that many certified ones. Always challenge yourself to become better from the last project you completed. Never settle for “It looks good,” always strive for “It Looks Great!” 

See more from Alan, Sherry and Carolina Pondscapes, Inc. on their social media pages. Facebook – Carolina Pondscapes and Instagram – @carolinapondscapes


Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Shane Hemphill

Join us in recognizing our hardworking Professional Contractors (APC’s) in our new Spotlight interview segment.

Shane Hemphill – Art of the Yard, Colorado

How long you’ve been working in the industry: This is my 26th year in the water feature industry. I started at the Big Tool Box, running the pond department when I was 14 years old.

What you love about what you do: I have had a fascination with water features since I was a young boy. This is the first feature I completed with my father at around 3 years old in 1982. This feature was built out of concrete with a 5 gallon bucket in the bottom that worked as the filter with filter media and housed the pump system.

Water features have been a part of my life ever since. What got me into the water features was my love for koi and pond plants. Thompson’s Aquatic Gardens really brought me into the world of koi, which got me hooked into this industry. I look forward to the merger with Atlantic and OASE to help us take our water feature to new levels.

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: My favorite Atlantic-Oase products are the full line of Atlantic pumps, they are the heartbeat of all our projects.

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: One of my favorite projects from this past year was a very custom water feature project we did in Falcon Hills. 80% of the features we install are natural looking features, but this feature was very contemporary and extremely challenging

Another one of our favorite projects from this season is a pondless feature powered by 3 A31 pumps 78 Ecoblox, , 3 SP3800 fast falls and 3 PV2300 pump vaults with extensions.

New projects I’m working on: We are starting a great pondless project in Franktown! We just broke ground and it will have 16 Ecoblox, PV1800 and a TT9000 pump! Check back in on our social media later for the finished project.

See more from Shane and Art of the Yard on his social media pages. Facebook – Art of the Yard, Instagram – @artoftheyard, and YouTube – Custom Water Features Colorado


Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.