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James Atlas

James Atlas

James Atlas, an 18-year veteran of the swimming pool industry, is the owner and co-principal of Platinum Poolcare Ltd., a residential swimming pool construction, renovation and maintenance company with service to several commercial aquatic properties including the Bulls, Bears and White Sox training facilities.

Platinum Poolcare Owner James Atlas came to the pool industry after three years of options trading after college, cashing in his chips to work with father Ronald Atlas, owner of Paragon Pools, a commercial pool construction and design company. An entrepreneur at heart, Atlas quickly started up an off–shoot company, Fountain Technologies, through which he designed and constructed water features for luxury residential and commercial properties.

When his brother took over that company, Atlas founded Pool Watch, a management company servicing recreational pools with lifeguard staffing, facility openings, closings and general maintenance. He sold Fountain Technologies and Pool Watch in 1994 and 1995.

Looking to broaden his skill set in the pool servicing industry, Atlas went back to his family pool business, working as a project estimator for multi-million-dollar waterparks, competition pools, high-rise pools, and other large-scale projects.

After a few years, Atlas began receiving consistent inquiries from residential property owners interested in pool construction and servicing. With his father’s blessing, Atlas took the reigns on those new accounts and formed a new company called Platinum Aquatech.

Again looking to go off on his own, Atlas teamed up with Terry Smith, owner of Poolcare Aquatech, another partner company with Ronald Atlas which focused on the service and maintenance. The two companies merged, with Terry and James owning a fifty-fifty share in 2007, effectively becoming Platinum Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.

Company Background

Platinum Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd., founded in 2007, and resulting from a merger of Platinum Aquatech, Ltd. (luxury swimming pool construction) and Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.(service, repairs, renovations of swimming pools and spas), specializes in all aspects of pool design, construction and renovation with added focus on specialty aquatic features such as waterfalls, lazy rivers, rock water applications, statuary and other luxury waterscape amenities. The company also provides installation and maintenance services for its customers.

Platinum Poolcare has raised the standards of excellence in residential and commercial pools, spa and waterscape design and construction. We have a combined half-century of experience in building, servicing, maintaining, and renovating award-winning and nationally-recognized gunite pools throughout the greater Chicago area and other Midwest states.

Based in Wheeling, Ill., the company’s headquarters spans 10,000 square-feet of warehouse and office space with 46 trucks, 130 employees during peak season, and one of the industry’s largest onsite replacement parts inventory for quick fixes.

Platinum Poolcare has repeatedly graced the cover of various industry magazines, and has earned hundreds of awards for its designs. The company belongs to the prestigious, invitation-only Aquatech Society for professional pool builders.

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Tuesday, 02 September 2014 10:02

Learning to Swim Can Be a Life Changing Skill

Step Into Swim Aims to Change People's Lives Through Learning to Swim

From Step into Swim

This informative website outlines some major issues that are plaguing the United States today.  The obesity scourge has been well documented, with one in every three men and nearly 40% of women in the U.S. reporting zero leisure time exercise or activity?  Additionally, says this post, nearly 10,000 drownings or near drowning injuries are sustained every year in this country.  Step into Swim is an organization aiming to solve these pressing issues through giving people the tools they need to learn how to swim.  Swimming is not only fun, it is an extremely low-impact, benefical leisure time activity that will give people the life skills they need to stay fit, and to stay safe.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Who We Are

The Step Into Swim™ Campaign is a 10-year initiative to create 1 million more swimmers. Organized by non-profit, 501(C)(3) National Swimming Pool Foundation®, the campaign raises funds that are directly given to leading learn-to-swim organizations. The Foundation has matched dollar for dollar every donation given in 2012. Supporters of the campaign believe that investing in the next generation of swimmers – for fun, for fitness, for family safety – and teaching people of all ages and ethnicities, is a necessary investment and will improve the health and future of our nation.

Perimeter-Overflow Swimming Pools

From Luxury Pools

The art of luxury swimming pool design has catapulted forward over the past decade.  What was once a forum for cookie-cutter kidney shaped swimming holes with the same turquiose colored perimeted tile on every project is now a stunning architectural and hydraulic showcase of ingenuity and talent.  Some of the world's most creative and innovative swimming pool and waterscape designers are showcased in this post from Luxury Pools, presenting their technically amazing and asethetically stunning perimeter overflow swimming pool and hot tub designs.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

You may have passed a reflecting pool and seen this amazing effect: the water's surface looks like a flat sheet of glass or appears to be perfectly contained without walls.

This effect is created by a perimeter overflow, a style used in many modern swimming pool designs in which the water overflows its edges and flows into a hidden slot or catch basin where it is then recycled back into the pool. This function is similar to an infinity-edge pool, but with a perimeter overflow, the water overflows on all four sides.

There are two main types of perimeter-overflow pools and spas: deck-level and raised. Deck-level perimeter-overflow pools are a popular style for contemporary homes. Many deck-level pools feature raised perimeter-overflow spas, which have a unique cube-like look.

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Designing a Green Backyard

Adding energy efficiency to your aquatic oasis

From Pools, Spas & Patios

Who doesn't want to be more friendly to the planet, and save money while doing it?  A swimming pool can be an energy hog, but there are things that can be done to make a swimming pool more energy efficient.  Whether designing a brand new pool, or making changes to an existing inground pool, this post from Pools, Spas & Patios gives some great tips on how to save money, and reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

The green revolution is front and centre in the swimming pool industry. Whether you have an existing pool, spa or water feature, or are starting on a brand new project, there are many ways you can be more energy and environmentally conscious (and save a few dollars along the way).

Small changes, big differences in energy efficiency

There are a number of relatively easy changes that can be made to any existing pool to make it more energy efficient and eco-friendly. For example, a pool cover (solar or automated) can reduce evaporation and heating costs, while a pool timer can adjust heating to cater to peak and low-use periods. Cartridge filters and auto fills can also make a difference, as can a two-speed or variable-drive pump.

When embarking on a major renovation or new project, several additional options can be incorporated to create a more energy-efficient environment (depending on your budget, of course). In addition to the options above, you should consider:

project automation;

proper site, pool and hydraulic design;


heating and chilling options (e.g. solar or geothermal systems);

plumbing (big pipes, small pumps);

light-emitting diode (LED) lighting;

underground equipment bunkers; and

proper project management.

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How to Identify and Remove Pool Stains

From Swim University

Pool stains, whether they appear on a Plaster Finish (for Concrete Pools), Vinyl Liner, or Fiberglass, can be a nuisance.  Most people don't realize that they can virtually always identify the type and potentially the cause of the stain by the color of it.  This informational post from Matt Giovanisci of Swim University gives you a guide to diagnosing the type of stain by the color, tells you how to deal with the treatment of the stain, and gives you some ways to prevent stains from occurring in the first place.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Stains are one of the most irritating detriments to their investment that a pool owner can endure. To address this problem, the source of the stain must be identified, and the appropriate solution introduced as soon as possible.

Pool stains generally fall into two categories:

Metal or rust-based: Metals can accidentally be introduced into pools from well water or corrosion from copper pipes.

Organic: Leaves, berries, and other organic debris can also leave stains if allowed to settle on pool surfaces.

The best way to distinguish metal from organic stains is by color. Different color combinations provide good indicators of exactly what substance is causing a given stain:

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The Swimsuit Style Guide for Women Infographic

From Swim University

Well, it is the end of the summer, which means it is the time of the year in which swimsuits and the fashion industry are looking ahead to fall.  This means that it is the perfect time to pick up a swimsuit or bathing suit bargain!  Most women struggle with what particular type of suit to choose to best accentuate their body type, which is why this post from Matt Giovanisci from Swim University is so timely.  With this guide to choosing the perfect swimsuit, in which Matt collaborated with Susan Bodack, the Director of Social Media Marketing at InStyleSwimwear.com, you'll be armed with all of the information that you need to stock up with the most flattering suits for your vacation, as well as next summer at the pool!

Here is an except from the post:

At Swim University and InStyleSwimwear.com, we believe that no two women are shaped exactly alike. Regardless of your shape or size, all women are beautiful! These notions are good to remember but also easy to forget while you're shopping for a swimsuit. We hear it far too often–"I hate swimsuit shopping." But it doesn't have to be a frustrating or an unpleasant process! Once you know what styles work best for your general body type, you'll find your perfect swimsuit in no time flat.

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The top 10 luxury bikinis to be seen in this Summer

From A Luxury Travel Blog

This article is a bit of a throwback to the begnning of the summer. Ahh, remember the beginning of Summer?  Well, the good news is that the hottest swimsuit trends that are outlined in this post are most likely on sale now, as next year's designs are already in the works.   Not only does this post give a great description and pictures of the hottest trends from this past year from Beach Bourn, Coco Bay, and Heidi Klein, it also gives you the price, and a handy link on how to purchase right online.  Go ahead and check out these styles from the past year, and see if you can hunt out some season-ending bargains!

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Summer is finally upon us and so what better time to do a round-up on the top 10 luxury bikinis to be seen in this Summer. Whether you're heading for the beach, lounging by the pool, or just want to look good on your own private yacht, you are sure to find something here to suit... please tell us your favourites by adding a comment at the end!

Brights collection from heidi klein

Welcome the Summer with heidi klein's fresh and bold bikini collection which entails the classic heidi klein shape and signature silhouettes. These are designed with hidden support, secret padding and under wiring to ensure the perfect fit and sit together with their sensual new prints and textures, including exotic oranges and ocean blues giving off a year long summer vibe.

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Six Steps Toward Owning a Hot Tub

Buying a hot tub is an exciting prospect, but don't forget to follow these six steps as you begin the purchasing process

From Pool and Hot Tub APSP

Buying a hot tub can be as simple as going to your local pool and spa store, or even your local Lowe's or Costco, and picking out a tub, having it delivered, and starting to soak.  There are many factors to consider, however, that will not only maximize your enjoyment of the tub, it will make your purchasing decision more efficient and prudent.  This post from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals gives you six steps to making the process of selecting and purchasing a hot tub more enjoyable.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

1. Ask how your hot tub will give you what you'd most enjoy.

What do you need and why? From an intimate environment to a relaxing oasis, focus on your desires and envision how they can be fulfilled by owning a hot tub. What is the primary use? Relaxation? Relaxation after exercise or sport? Hot water therapy for body and joint relief? Entertainment? Also, how many people will use the hot tub? Consult an APSP member professional to discover what's available to meet your needs.

2. Ask how you can customize your hot tub selection.

What size and shape would be best? Will you entertain or keep it personal? Your APSP member professional can help you explore the many opportunities for buying, installing, and creating the most enticing setting for your hot tub.

3. Think about equipment.

How many jets will you need or want? Will you want lighting, sound systems, wireless remote control – even aromatherapy? Would you appreciate an automatic cover or cover lift? Automated or alternative sanitizing systems? How about a lounger in the hot tub?

4. Where will your hot tub be placed?

From balcony to basement, deck to patio, there's a hot tub for almost any setting. What hot tub features will enhance your hot tub environment? Will you create an indoor oasis or an outdoor room? Will you need landscaping or fencing to complete the picture?

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How to Give Yourself a Hot Tub Pedicure

From Hot Tub Cover Pros

The health benefits related to soaking in a Hot Tub of super-heated water have been well expounded upon.  Newer topics such as Hot Tub workouts and Hot Tub Yoga have made health-conscious people aware of the ancilarry benefits that Hot Tubs can provide.  This post from Hot Tub Cover Pros gives a thorough lesson in this very topic--How a hot tub can facilitate a salon-quality pedicure for both men and women.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Every woman – and many a man – loves a pedicure, but they are expensive and time-consuming, so most don't get as many as they'd like. If you own a hot tub, however, you have a great chance to up the amount of foot-pampering in your life by doing it yourself. Although it may at first sound daunting, your hot tub is the perfect accessory to at-home spa treatments.watermelon-pedicure

First, prep everything you're going to need ahead of time: a few towels; nail trimmers; a nail file; cuticle scissors; a pumice stone; a moisturizing lotion; a bowl of cool water; and a bottle of nail polish (if you want to paint your nails; otherwise leaving them plain is fine). Set the temperature ahead of time so the hot tub will be ready when you are, and set all your supplies up on a tray or table next to your tub. Be sure to move hot tub covers out of the way so that you don't trip or spill anything on them.

Start by soaking your feet for at least 15 minutes. Obviously this doesn't mean you can't soak the rest of your body, so hop on in and enjoy yourself. When you've sat for the required time, or longer, step back out and towel off. Wrap up in a robe to keep warm while you attend to the next step.

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New sunscreen labels offer clearer sunburn, skin cancer information

From Harvard Health Publications

While most people instinctively grab the highest SPF factor that they can buy, most really don't know the difference between a 6 SPF and a 50 SPF.  Does the higher number necessarily provide more protection?  What about the difference in Ultra Violet rays?  Does a higher number protect from UVA as well as UVB?  How does waterproof sunscreen affect the protection?  Well, fear not, intrepid sun seeker.  New labeling from the FDA aims to clarify this somewhat confusing situation, as outlined in this post from Harvard Medical School.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

With the unofficial start of summer just a few days away, many people will soon be stocking up on sunscreen. The products they'll be seeing in stores look different than they have in the past. That's because new rules for sunscreen labels are now in effect. The changes are good ones for consumers.

The new rules, mandated by the FDA, are making sunscreen more informative with less misleading information. For example, the term "sunblock" is banned because none of these products can block all of the sun's ultraviolet rays. "Waterproof" is also banned, replaced by "water-resistant"—which must be accompanied by a set time for reapplication. Another big change has to do with SPF, or sun protection factor.

When sunlight hits your skin, it is being exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn, while UVA can prematurely age and wrinkle skin. Both contribute to skin cancer. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.

The best protection comes from a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection, meaning it filters out much of the UVA and UVB. Under the new FDA rules, if a label says "broad spectrum," the product must pass tests proving that it truly protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

SPF is a measurement of how much longer it takes for your skin to turn red from the sun after applying the sunscreen. Say your skin turns red after 10 minutes in the sun. Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would prevent your skin from turning red for 150 minutes under the same conditions. You'd think that an SPF of 30 would work twice as well as an SPF of 15. But that's not necessarily the case. While SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of all incoming UVB rays, SPF 30 filters out 97% and SPF 50 boosts that to 98%.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014 09:44

It's Always A Good Time For Water Safety

Water Safety

From Kids Health

Most drownings occur in home swimming pools.  Nearly 1,000 kids die each year from drowning, making it the second leading cause of accidental death of kids in America.  The sad part about this statistic is that the overwhelming majority of these accidents are preventable.  This post from Kids Health gives some great information about how to be vigilant about water safety while in the swimming pool, waterpark, pond, lake, or beach.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

At Home and at the Pool

Water safety precautions start in the home.

The bathroom is full of dangers for youngsters. Never leave a young child unattended in the bathroom, especially while bathing — even if the child appears to be well propped in a safety tub or bath ring. Put away all hair dryers and other electrical appliances to avoid the risk of electrocution.

Hot water can also be dangerous, particularly for kids younger than 5, who have thinner skin than older kids and adults, which means they burn more easily. Just 3 seconds of exposure to hot tap water that's 140°F (60°C) can give a child a third-degree burn.

You can reduce the risk of scalding by turning the water heater thermostat in your home down to 120°F (49°C) and by always testing the water with your wrist or elbow before placing your child in the bath.

Outside the home, being aware can help prevent accidents. Find out where the water hazards in your neighborhood are. Who has a pool or water spa? Where are the retaining ponds or creeks that may attract kids? Tell neighbors who have pools that you have a young child and ask them to keep their gates locked.

Having a Pool at Home

Having a pool, pond, spa, or hot tub on your property is a tremendous responsibility when it comes to safety.

Hot tubs may feel great to adults, but kids can become dangerously overheated in them and can even drown — so it's best not to let them use them at all. Having a fence (one that goes directly around the pool or spa) between the water and your house is the best safety investment you can make and will help prevent pool-related drownings.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fences should meet these standards:

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