It was a literally a zoo in Chicago on August 22, 2013. It was the Lincoln Park Zoo actually, where scores of pond industry professionals came together to install, create, and renovate several water features around the zoo. This incredible project was the kick off to the pond industry’s largest annual event, Pondemonium; hosted by Aquascape Inc. (www.aquascapeinc.com)The theme for the Pondemonium 2013 event was “Get Fit For The Fight”, the fight to manage and grow a pond and water garden business successfully.
The kick-off event began with an all-day multi-project “build a pond” day that offered hands-on projects for every level of pond builder. The projects were led by the industry’s best, Aquascapes’ Ed Beaulieu and Brian Helfrich; along with many experienced contractors sharing their professional experience. Pond pros with retail, distributor, and contractor businesses were also able to network and mingle with The Pond Guy himself, Greg Wittstock, and much of the Aquascape staff. Full access to all of the zoos amazing exhibits could be enjoyed throughout the day by attendess. Dinner and drinks, along with some great live Chicago style blues music rounded out the evening for many; but a dedicated group of Certified Aquascape Contractors worked into the darkness to finish up the largest project. Long after the Lincoln Park zoo (www.lpzoo.org) had closed, that dedicated CAC team turned on the pumps to the amazing waterfall display by the lights of an excavator!
The next 3 days of Pondemonium took place in the “Water Garden Capital of the World”, St. Charles, Ill. The Aquascape headquarters, Aqualand, became Pondemonium “central”. Friday and Saturday mornings both offered round table discussions with pond pros on just about any topic concerning a pond business. Topics from fish health, billing and collections using cloud computing, how to create a pond maintenance program, and too many others to list made these round table discussions priceless for a pond pro. The late morning and afternoon sessions offered classes with training on all types of pond equipment and pond construction best practices. Topics on fish, plants, even pond liner were offered. Business classes on social media, selling, building a million dollar business; as well as Aquascape distributor meetings took place. Brian Helfrich’s pond tours showcased some of the Aquascape construction crews stand out projects, and a night of fun playing golf games was hosted as a fundraising event for the Aquascape Foundation (www.facebook.com/pages/Aquascape-Foundation).
Some great keynotes took place during Pondemonium 2013. The Pond Guy’s keynote was inspiring, funny, and INSPIRING AND FUNNY. Wittstock was joined by retired Navy Seal during his keynote. Wittstock interviewed navy seal who shared amazing experiences with attendees. Wittstock weaved together nicely the parallels between the intensity it takes to be a Navy Seal and the intensity it takes to run a successful pond and water garden business; and how important it is to “Get Fit For The Fight”. Ed Beaulieu’s keynote laid out the history and future of the Certified Aquascape Contractor program. Some very positive changes have been made to the CAC program.  Greater options of certification will be introduced, and higher standards of professionalism are rolling out. Contractors and consumers will all benefit from the changes made to the new Certified Aquascape Contractor program. The featured keynote speaker for Pondemonium 2013 was Steve Shinholser from Premier Ponds (www.premierpond.com), one of the most successful pond businesses in the U.S. Steve gave a great keynote which not only featured amazing feats of strength with more than 600 cumulative push ups done on stage during his keynote address, but also some solid easy to apply business advice guaranteed to generate more income and increase. cash flow. Steve shared some great stories and delivered his business building message to the packed aquatorium of pond pros at Aqualand. The “Shinholser Effect” can be applied to just about any pond install/service business and the standing ovation Steve got makes it look likely that it will.
On Saturday The Pond Guy shared the exciting news that a reality TV show called “The Pond Guys” is in the making. The show will feature Greg, Ed, and Brian and their quest to bring the water garden lifestyle to America at large. It is sure to be a hit and will spread the water garden lifestyle and adventures far and wide! Stay tuned for details! Saturday afternoon brought everyone together for the awards with top honors going to Steve Shinholser of Premier Ponds for “Businessman of the Year”, John Adams from Modern Design Aquascaping (www.mdaquascaping.com) for “Artist of the Year”, Fred Pape from Aquascape Inc. for “Sustainability Award of the Year” and Jason Duffey from Earth Works (www.earthworksgardencenter.com) for “CAC of the Year”. Recognition of pond pros from around the world also brought up on stage attendees from Mexico, Bahamas, England, Canada, and even a “German Dude”. The awards ceremony was followed by a group photo, swimming in the pond, Ed’s Beer Garden, a friendly game of poker, and the annual Aquascape Blow Out Bash to close out the event.
“Get Fit For The Fight” Pond Pros! That’s the message and Aquascape brought it home this year at Pondemonium 2013. If you want your pond and water garden business to be in good shape, it has to be “fit”. Pondemonium is a unique forum for business relationships and friendships to be established and strengthened. These relationships are one of the best ways to keep your pond and water garden business fit for the fight of growing and succeeding. Pondemonium 2013 was simply the most important Pondemonium ever, hope you were there!



Hey Jen, thanks much! It was nice to hang out with you a bit as always! See you next time. -Mike


Hey Mark, the pleasure was mine. I am impressed that your passion brought you over seas to this great event. You inspire me and many others I am sure. I look forward to seeing you again. -Mike


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