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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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Design Ideas for Your New Spa

From Pulliam Pools

One of the most overlooked parts of an inground swimming pool design is the hot tub.  Sure, swimming pool designers will raise the hot tub (or spa, as it is commonly called within the industry), or separate it, or even change the shape sometimes.  Advanced watershapers will even design complicated edge treatments like a perimeter or slot overflow or vanishing edges to the hot tub.  This post from Pulliam Pools in Texas gives some additional out-of-the box thinking for hot tub designs, and hopefully will inspire some additional twists on this essential luxury item. 

Here is an excerpt from the post:

...some design ideas you may wish to consider include:

Deck-Set Fiberglass

One of the most affordable spa options, the fiberglass spa is design-versatile and can be installed above ground, in the ground, or partially in the ground. Unlike gunite spas, fiberglass spas are smooth and easy to clean. They can be installed in specially constructed pits with wood decking around them for a dazzling aesthetic appeal that will look great with or without a pool.

In-Ground Gunite

When a homeowner sets out to construct a spa at the same time as an in-ground pool, gunite is generally the spa surface material that he or she opts for. A popular in-ground gunite spa design consists of a connecting pool and spa, separated only by a narrow wall so that swimmers can move between the two without having to get out of the water and walk around. Elevated gunite spas that spill over into pools and give the pool-spa combo a two-level feel are another great design to consider.


A spool is a single backyard feature that functions as both a pool and a spa. Typically smaller than the average pool, spools are equipped with seating and jets that enable those using them to have a full spa experience. Due to their relatively small size, spools can heat up quickly, making the transformation from pool to spa almost on-demand.

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Myth Busted! Poll Finds Most Parents Believe Pool Urine Detecting Dye Myth Is True

From The Paramus Post

Like anything else that is extremely popular, swimming pools and their enthusiastic usage by the public has some urban tales and myths associated with it.  Almost everyone who grew up swimming in a pool has heard the canard that there is a chemical that can be added to a swimming pool that can turn red, blue, or green when a child pees in it.  This would presumably cause great embarrassment for the child, and ultimately act as a deterrent to the kids peeing in the pool.  Well, like many other tall tales and urban legends, this is untrue.  This post from Paramus Post explains why, and also gives some other popular myths and legends surrounding swimming pools, and the real truth behind them.  The explanations might surprise you!

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Myth – Chlorine turns hair green.

Truth – The survey by the Water Quality and Health Council discovered that nearly half of respondents believe that chorine is responsible for turning hair green. In fact, the presence of copper in swimming pool water is to blame. Copper may be introduced to pool water in several ways, including metal plumbing or algaecide.

Myth – Swimmer "red eye" is caused by too much chlorine in the pool.

Truth – 87 percent of respondents to the Water Quality and Health Council survey believed that chlorine in pools makes swimmers' eyes red and irritated. In reality, when nitrogen, found in urine and sweat, is combined with chlorine, irritants called chloramines are formed. It is these chloramines, not the chlorine itself, that irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory system. In this case, more chlorine may actually need to be added to pool water in order to reduce the formation of chloramines.

Myth – When it comes to pool water, clarity means cleanliness.

Truth – Even when swimming pool water is clear, microorganisms too small to be seen with the naked eye can be present. While chlorine destroys bacteria that could put swimmers at risk for disease, it takes time to work. Most germs are killed within seconds in a properly treated pool, but some (such as Cryptosporidium) can survive for days and require more aggressive treatment.

Myth – The strong odor of chemicals indicates a clean, well-treated pool.

Truth – A faint smell is expected, but a strong scent of chemicals could mean trouble. When irritating chloramines are formed by the mixture of chlorine and pool contaminants, such as urine, body oils and other substances brought into the pool by swimmers, a strong smell is released. A healthy pool is one with little to no odor.

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Creating an Escape at Home: Splash Pads

From Apartment Therapy

If your backyard space doesn't allow for a swimming pool, and you are tired of the "Slip n' slide" or garden hose to cool off your kids in the hot summer months, consider the splash pad.  The splash pad consists of a relatively flat area with some type of water feature and recirculation system, and can be cheaper, more efficient, and believe it or not, beautiful.  This post from Apartment Therapy gives some great ideas and even a DIY kit for building one's own Splash Pad in the backyard.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Actually, splash pads can be beautiful and make efficient use of space and resources. Marcos and Amanda's gorgeous splash pad (first photo) was completely DIY. If you have DIY ambitions but need some help on the technical end then you can look into DIY kits. If you're already looking at professional hardscaping then your contractor should be able to integrate splash pad function and design with your plan, creating a multipurpose space that works for your family long-term.

Private splash pads have been growing in popularity for a number of reasons; they are a great small space solution for major outdoor fun (they can be as small as 100 sf), and are cheaper, safer, and far more water efficient than maintaining a private pool. We frequent a public splash pad, but got major splash pad envy when we saw these:

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Summer Water Safety

7 Safe swimming tips for kids

From Daily Delights

Summer is half over, and you have probably already been to your local municipal pool, water park, or backyard inground swimming pool already.  Unfortunately, in all of the splashing fun, the most important thing to remember as parents sometimes gets forgotten: Safety around a swimming pool.  In this post from Daily Delights, 7 Safe and easy tips for swimming pool safety are presented as a reminder to protect your children from the ever-present drowning hazards around any body of water.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

It's summertime and there's no better way to beat the heat than a day at the beach or local pool. By learning some important safe swimming tips, you can keep the whole family safe, while still having a great time.

Follow the rules

Always obey all rules when swimming in both lakes and pools. Water safety rules are there to protect you and your children. If you model good behavior, your children will learn to respect the rules as well. Here are a few swimming no-no's:

Never dive into shallow water.

Never run near the edge of a pool.

Never swim in a pool that does not have a lifeguard.

Never swim alone.

Never swim in places that are not meant for swimming.

Never leave children unattended near any body of water.

Prevent drowning

It's hard to imagine if you haven't witnessed drowning up close, but drowning is actually a very quiet and shockingly undramatic experience. People who are drowning are not physically or psychologically able to call for help. This is why drowning is the number two cause of accidental death in children under the age of 15 -- and half of the children who drown are within 25 yards of a parent or another adult.

You can learn more about how to recognize and rescue a drowning person in a swimming safety class. And of course, make sure to stay close to your children and pay close attention to them at all times when they are playing in or near the water.

Learn CPR

In case of emergency, it's always good to be prepared. Classes in CPR and life-saving rescue techniques are available for swimmers of every level. Check with the American Red Cross for a class near you.

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30 Beautiful Backyard Ponds And Water Garden Ideas

From Architecture Art Designs

The lagoon-style swimming pool with its natural curves and style made to blend in with nature has been gaining popularity for many years.  Using boulders and more rustic elements gives the feel of a natural lagoon or water garden in place of a traditional rectangle swimming pool, and provides a haven for relaxation in one's own yard.  This post from Architecture Art Designs gives 30 amazing designs for the lagoon style or backyard pond style freeform swimming pool.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Giving life to your backyard can be achieved by doing a lot of things such as planting a lot of trees and plants and arranging it to look as natural as possible.

But there's one thing that will most definitely give life to your backyard both in terms of looks and sound. And that, of course, is a pond or a nice fountain.

The water from the fountain or pond will bring your backyard or garden to life by adding a really natural and fresh look to it, as well as the sound that it will produce from the water falling down the rocks from your fountain.

For that reason, we have made this collection of 30 beautiful backyard ponds and water garden ideas with which we hope to supply you with a lot of creative ideas and hopefully spark a little wish in your mind to create something similar in your own backyard.

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Choreographing the Water: Show Control Systems

From Aqua

Many people have stood and marveled at the Belaggio automated dancing waters show.  The nozzles throwing amazing bursts of colored water into the air in perfect synchronization with the music never fails to draw "oohs" and "aahs" from the dazzled crowd.  Accomplishing these automated shows take a variety of sophisticated intelligent control systems, which previously were only available to the deepest of pockets, i.e. someone like a Las Vegas Casino.  As this article from Aqua explains, however, innovations in control system technology is now available to have complicated water shows in one's own outdoor living space, and around their own inground swimming pool and hot tub.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

As backyard and commercial water features have grown more sophisticated, so have their coordination and control. This article explores the technology of "show" controls, from basic to complex, which attempt to choreograph water movement with music and lights.

For most pools and spas and water features, simple, mainstream-market controls are sufficient to meet customer needs and desires. But with the ever increasing demand for automation, remote control (think Smartphone), and more sophisticated and controllable LED lighting and effects, a proper show control system can meet a lot of client desires (at a cost appropriate for the project budget)!

The Essentials – Switches, Timers and Relays

Even the simplest single pump fountain needs to be powered up. Of course this can be done manually with the flip of a circuit breaker or light switch, but the core of what can be considered automated show control incorporates one or more timer. Almost everyone is familiar with timers, from those rotary things you stick plastic pins into to neat digital displays with battery backup, so this probably does not need explaining.

The next step up in timer automation is with the use of relays...a timer activates a relay, which in turn, powers a device or subsystem. This too is pretty self-explanatory and traditional.


PLC stands for Programmable Logic Controller. PLCs are vintage technology, having their roots in industrial automation. Today's PLCs have evolved programming interfaces that are user-friendlier than the days of eye-straining Ladder Logic flowcharts, but they are best handled by those with everyday experience programming them. For a small-scale project, incorporating a PLC and hiring a PLC programmer may not make sense to the overall budget. From a creative content producer's (show programmer) perspective, PLCs are so 20th Century and best relegated to low level controls for medium to large installation sanitation/filtration control and monitoring.

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3 Ways to Add Privacy to Your Outdoor Space

From ShadeFX

Creating privacy can be a tricky challenge, whether you have an urban "fishbowl" or a sprawling estate.  The challenge of creating traffic patterns, rhythm, and a design that make an efficient use of the space intellgently takes the eye of a trained designer.  When not properlly considered, these spaces can turn into a problem for the homeowner, and can defeat the purpose of the outdoor space, which is to relax!  This post from ShadeFX gives three great ways to create privacy, while also providing some other ancillary benefits as well.  Using structures, plantings, and other landscape features can seamlessly outfit an outdoor living space properly, and create the best experience for your outdoor rooms.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Whether you live in suburbia or an urban environment, space and privacy are at a premium, especially when it comes to your outdoor space. As you begin to explore options in creating a getaway in your backyard or on your patio, you can leverage some creative ideas that give you the ambiance and beauty you need while optimizing your privacy in a public or semi-public setting.

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Backyard Kitchen Designs Are An Extension Of Your Home

From Dream Retreats Landscape Design and Construction

The "staycation" is a quintessential American phenomenon, and has been gaining popularity for decades.  The American homeowner wants to invest in their home, and bring the vacation to their own backyard.  What better way to enjoy one's own outdoor living space than to outfit the space with a phenomenal outdoor kitchen?  Whether entertaining guests, throwing parties, or just barbequing for the kids in the neighborhood, an outdoor kitchen makes the most efficient use of space, and is the ultimate conveniece.  This post from Dream Retreats gives some great ideas for outdoor kitchen designs.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Along with many others in the landscape architecture and construction industry, we have designed and built many outdoor living spaces which become extensions to the home. An outdoor kitchen is an extension of the home which is constantly growing in demand and design. Depending on our client's vision, we have designed and built simple outdoor BBQ's to complete backyard kitchens which include refrigerators, prepping stations, and bar/seating areas. Our landscape architecture and design team strive for each client to have their backyard be a place of retreat and peace of mind.

We are hearing over and over again from our clients that they want to spend more time at home and make their home as nice as possible. Many of our clients are looking for ways to extend their ability to stay outdoors along with preparing their meals. Extending patios, outdoor fireplaces or firepits, water features and putting greens are ways they are accomplishing this. Essentially the backyard becomes a social gathering place for family and friends.

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Marvelous Fireplace Designs by Elena Colombo

From StylishEve

There is nothing quite like fire to attract the eye.  How many great memories have been formed around the bonfire, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores?  Fire has a way of becoming a focal point, and a place where people tend to gather, especially when temperatures drop slightly below the norm on a summer's eve.  Consider adding a fireplace or firepit to your outdoor living design to attract the eye, as well as a crowd.  In this post from StylishEve, some of the most forward-thinking designs on fireplaces are showcased to help inspire your own outdoor living design.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Fire places might not be seen in all houses, but when you find them, they really make a huge decorative and unique style in the room they are added to. Fire places give you amazing warmth, and when they have a chic design, the whole room becomes amazing. This is a collection of marvelous fire place designs offered by Elena Colombo. These fire places are really innovative and have unique designs that will turn any place into a really decorated area. A lot of ideas are available; some of them are modern, while others are simply made of raw materials like wood for a totally natural style that can be perfect when this fire place is added outdoors. If you will add your fireplace outdoors, then try to get one that's totally made of natural materials to complement the feeling of nature, like this design using wooden sticks and stones; this one is very natural and feels like the traditional, known old style of fire places. Metal is also used to make amazing fireplaces with different designs. The designs are really a lot come in different sizes to choose what suits you and the ambiance of the place in which the fireplace will be added.

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4 Pool Exercises for the Perfect Summer Body

From Solar Pool Technologies Blog

You've heard that working out in your inground swimming pool is good for you.  You know that the buyoancy helps your joints and muscles, that the water cools you and allows you to work harder, and that you get the best total body workout possible.  What you don't know is how to get started working out in the water, beyond swimming laps.  Enter this post from Solar Pool Technologies.  This post gives you 4 easy and fun exercises that you can do right in your own inground swimming pool that will propel you on your way to swimming pool fitness!

Here is an excerpt from the post:

The summer heat can discourage outdoor workouts like running and biking, so jump in the pool and get moving! The pool is a great space to stay cool, and the water resistance will engage more muscles in a larger range to help you burn more calories in less time.

Here are some tips on pool exercises to give you that beautiful summer body. For a full water workout plan, including target areas and timed exercises, read Fitness Magazine's Slim Down in a Splash: Pool Workout.

1. Treading Water

Seems simple enough, but don't be fooled. Treading water will burn about 11 calories per minute. Tread for fifteen minutes and burn 165 calories.

2. With a Beach Ball

Working with a beach ball creates extra resistance to tone your muscles. To work your arms, float face down in the pool and use your hands to push the ball underwater. Return the ball to the surface of the pool, moving slowing with full control.

To work your legs, sit up in the pool and hold the ball between your feet. Starting from the surface, press your legs down until you are in a standing position. Return the ball to the surface of the pool, moving slowly with full control.

To work your core, hug the ball to your body with legs extended behind you. Roll 360 degrees, keeping your legs fully extended. Some people call this the Otter Roll.

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