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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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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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Swimmers Ear

From Kidshealth.org

Swimmer's ear is quite common in both active swimmers and children, and is easily curable.  As with anything else, knowlege is the key to heading off this painful condition before it develops into something more serious.  This post from Kids Health gives a brief background on the condition as well as some signs and symptoms to look for.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

About Swimmer's Ear

Otitis externa — commonly known as swimmer's ear — is an infection of the ear canal, the passage that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.

The infection commonly occurs in kids who spend a lot of time in the water. Too much moisture in the ear can irritate and break down the skin in the canal, allowing bacteria or fungi to penetrate. For this reason, otitis externa occurs more often in summertime, when swimming is common.

But you don't have to swim to get swimmer's ear. Anything that causes a break in the skin of the ear canal can lead to an infection. Dry skin or eczema, scratching the ear canal, vigorous ear cleaning with cotton-tipped applicators, or inserting foreign objects like bobby pins or paper clips into the ear can all increase the risk of developing otitis externa.

And if someone has a middle ear infection, pus collected in the middle ear can drain into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum and cause otitis externa.

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Playlist For Swimming Workout

From Fitness Republic

Let's face it, swimming workouts can become monotonous.  All of the benefits of working out in the swimming pool aside, the sound of water swishing around you and muffled sounds of the ambient noise can sometimes hinder your focus on the task at hand.  Have no fear, intrepid swimmer:  Presenting a playlist for swimming workouts corresponding to the specific swim stroke that you are using for your exercise.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Swimming can be monotonous at times. Repeating the same routine each day may chip away your passion for this sport. There's no doubt that swimming is one of the best workouts that exercise almost every part of the human body, but having no zeal or enthusiasm for it may result in withdrawal.

What if you can spice it all up? Music comprises of seven notes, these notes form a melody and from melody comes harmony. Similarly, to harmonize your body in water, a workout playlist can be of great help & rejuvenate you.


Our arms and legs play an important part when swimming. Our body, horizontally immersed, serves as a resistance against water. To push forward in water requires strength and energy and what better way to do this than with your trusty companion – swimming music playlists!

Here we present workout playlists we designed in accordance with stroke styles.

Swimming Music Playlist For Backstrokes

Backstrokes are easier to learn and keep shoulders protected from potential shoulder slouches. While you maneuver and sway in the water with your head facing the sky, music to your ears can boost and exhilarate your workout. Try the following songs on for size:

Click here to read the entire post and see the playlists

Highest drowning risk: Kids under 5

A new federal safety report shows toddlers and minority children make up a disproportionate number of drowning victims.

From MSN Money

Swimming pool safety should be every parents' main concern during the summer months.  Swimming pool drownings are leading cause of unintentional deaths in children nationwide.  Young children are especially at greater risk, as this post from MSN money points out.  There are many steps that parents can take to mitigate the risks, and those are outlined in this post.  Here is an excerpt from the post:

Children should not be able to access a pool when adults are not there to supervise them, the CPSC said. The agency suggests pool owners consider the following questions to determine if they have done what they need to do to make their pools as safe as possible:

Is there a fence around the perimeter of your pool or spa?

Are there self-closing and self-latching gates?

Are there door, gate or pool alarms in use?

Does your pool have anti-entrapment drain covers that are compliant with the P&SS Act?

Are all pool and spa covers in working order?

Has the public pool or spa you use been inspected to ensure it is compliant with federal, state and local laws?

Has someone in the family received training in CPR, first aid and emergency response?

Has everyone learned to swim?

The American Red Cross offers Learn to Swim classes at locations across the country. You can find a list of the classes closest to you on its website.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 12:46

Ever wonder how chlorine actually works?

How does chlorine work to clean swimming pools?

From How Stuff Works

Many people think that chlorine is bad for them.  While a very small percent of the population actually has a chorine allergy, very few are actually allergic to the chlorine chemical.  Some of the byproducts of the chlorine sanitizing chemical reaction like Chloramines are the culprit for most eye and skin irritation, skin disorders, and lung issues.  In this post from How Stuff Works, a good basic primer on Chlorine is given, and the way it works to protect your family is explained.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

hlorine is the chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and Jacuzzis free of bacteria that can be hazardous to humans.

Chlorine kills bacteria though a fairly simple chemical reaction. The chlorine solution you pour into the water breaks down into many different chemicals, including hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ion (OCl-). Both kill microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless. The difference between HOCl and OCl- is the speed at which they oxidize. Hypochlorous acid is able to oxidize the organisms in several seconds, while the hypochlorite ion may take up to 30 minutes.

The levels of HOCl and OCl- vary with the pool's pH level. If the pH is too high, not enough HOCl is present and pool cleaning can take much longer than normal. Ideally, the level of pH in the pool should be between 7 and 8; 7.4 is ideal -- this is the pH of human tears. Once the HOCl and OCl- are done cleaning the pool, they either combine with another chemical, such as ammonia, or are broken down into single atoms. Both of these processes render the chlorine harmless. Sunlight speeds these processes up. You have to keep adding chlorine to the pool as it breaks down.

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How To Choose The Right Swimming Pool For Your Home

From Bill Gassett

So you've decided to take the plunge and install a swimming pool in your home.  What kind of pool should you consider?  What options are avaialable?  Is this Salt Water Chlorination thing for real?  Will I be able to recoup the costs of the pool when I sell my home?  These are the important questions that are addressed in this post from Bill Gasset, and can be a great first step towards designing your very own outdoor paradise.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Choosing a Swimming Pool

Installing a Massachusetts Swimming PoolBefore you take the plunge and invest in a swimming pool, you should review your options, initial and future maintenance costs and impact on your home's value. The type and investment you put into a pool can have a dramatic effect on your real estate investment either positively or negatively.

The Swimming Pool Options

Above ground swimming pools can sometimes be installed in one day by a qualified contractor. Though they require no subsurface digging, it's crucial to have the foundation perfectly leveled, and hiring a reputable and insured contractor to do the work is highly recommended. Vinyl pool liners are a common material for pools above ground. Since they aren't considered permanent fixtures, your city may not require a building permit, but check with your local town hall first.

In-ground swimming pools require a building permit and services of a pool contractor. Most installations are scheduled several weeks out so you'll need to file your permit, and research qualified pool contractors well ahead of time. In-ground pools are typically surrounded by a tile, brick or concrete patio area, but this is placed after the pool is already installed and usable. If your budget is tight, you could hold off on the patio for as long as necessary. Keep in mind that the soils in your area can play a significant role in the cost of excavation. If your lot is filled with ledge and rock then the cost of adding that pool you always wanted is going to be greater.

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5 Truly Epic Swimming Pools (PHOTOS)

From Huffington Post

Taking a feature or a design from a vacation spot and incorporating that into your own outdoor living design is a very popular activity.  Custom or Luxury pools are the designer's and owner's means of bringing the relaxation and recreation that they experienced in a faraway exotic locale and transplating that into their own backyard.  What better design inspiriation can there be than these 5 exotic villa pools from around the world?  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

As you think about booking your spring vacation this year, what better way to truly unwind and relax then by basking in your own pool as you listen to the gentle lapping of waves?

The travel experts at FlipKey have rounded up the top 5 most stunning pools at villas located around the world. From infinity pools with breathtaking views to pools right by the ocean, this amenity is the perfect way to complete your dream vacation.

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Friday, 08 August 2014 09:51

How to cool off in your own backyard

8 Awesome Water Games for Backyard Fun on Hot Days

From The Stir

The dog days of summer can mean oppressive heat for weeks if not more.  The kids aren't yet back in school, and their natural instinct is to want to play outside.  You want to encourage this, as sitting in the air conditioning playing video games isn't your idea of healthy recreation!  This post from The Stir presents a solution to you.  Water Games that anyone can set up and play with their kids in any backyard.  

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Call me an overgrown kid, but it doesn't seem to matter how old I get. When the temperature starts to rise, I love nothing more than going out in the backyard to play a summer game with a kid where we both end up soaking wet. The wetter, the better, actually.

With schools letting out around the country, and the mercury on the rise, it's time to dive in ... and get wet!

1. Dry, Dry, Wet. Think Duck, Duck, Goose, only "It" walks around the circle with a soaking wet sponge in hand. Each time he taps a kid on the shoulder, he says "dry" (instead of duck) until he settles on his target. "It" squeezes that sponge over his target's head and yells "wet." The rest of the game follows the Duck, Duck, Goose rules.

2. Sponge Water Bomb Toss. I keep seeing tutorials for "bombs" you make from (surprise, surprise) cut up sponges and string. Dunk 'em in water, and the sponges naturally drink it all in. Make enough of them, and you've got perfect "snowballs" for a summer snowball fight!

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