Question: What is 600 miles long and takes 72 hours and a touch of fine bourbon to complete?

     Answer: The 2014 Premium Ponds New Jersey Tour de Force!



That’s right, the Aquascape Businessman of the Year Steve Shinholser, and Mike Kurylo from Premier Ponds ( ) based in Burtonsville, MD made a winter road journey to the north to meet with various pond and water garden professionals in the New Jersey area in January 2014, extreme weather be damned! Steve and Mike, along with Andrew Lingman are at the core of one of America’s most successful pond and water garden companies, Premier Ponds. Making time to meet with other top pond and water garden business owners to discuss and share business practices and principles is how Premier Ponds stays at the top.shinholser effect

     During the 72 hour tour Steve and Mike met with a complete cross section of the pond industry by spending time with pond and water garden distributors, retailers, designers, installers, and service providers. While sharing their proven business building practices and listening to how other pond pros are doing it, Steve and Mike met with Tom Smith, from Garden State Koi, a pond and water garden supply distributor, retailer, and service provider. Garden State Koi ( ) is recognized as a prominent company within the industry and has an interesting perspective on the business of ponds given their broad array of pond and water garden related offerings. The full line Garden State Koi retail center is located Warwick, NY.

     The guys from Premier Ponds also went to check out the “Rock Stars on Rt.10” in Denville, NJ. Atlantis Watergardens ( ), aka the “Rock Stars”, headed up by Jaak Harju is opening a pond and water garden retail and design center. Steve and Mike got a sneak peak into the facility which features a variety of outdoor water feature projects as well as some pretty amazing interior water feature displays with a mind blowing turtle pond display. Pond supplies, fish, and plants will be among the offering at this new location.

     The pond tour also connected Steve and Mike with BJ Linger of BJL Aquascapes. BJ is an award winning water feature designer and installer based in Colts Neck, NJ. BJ’s designs have influenced pond builders far and wide. You can now visit his newly launched website ( ) to check some of his portfolio of water feature and pond designs for yourself!

     Last on the tour was a visit with Mike Gannon of Full Service Aquatics based in Summit, NJ ( ). Full Service Aquatics is a pond and water garden design and install company also providing every type of service for ponds, water gardens, and water features. Steve and Mike took a tour of the Full Service Aquatics facilities, outdoor water feature showroom, and a quick visit to a large scale pond project featuring a massive wetland filtration system; with lots of discussion on best management practices for a successful pond and water garden company.

     In the short and intensive New Jersey tour Steve and Mike from Premier Ponds not only shared their business wisdom; but more importantly gathered information, and that is what it takes to stay at the top of the pond and water garden business. Sometimes you need to get out on the road and learn in order to be the best. But learning is not everything, Steve Shinholser teaches too. Taking all that acquired knowledge and distilling it into easily understood and applied business principles is what Steve does. Steve’s constantly honed business skills and his sharing of these skills have come to be known as the “Shinholser Effect” among pond and water garden professionals.

     600 miles, 72 hours, meeting with 4 different pond companies, sharing, learning, and a bit of fine bourbon is not work when you love what you do. The pond industry is fortunate to have professionals willing to help each other out, and help the industry grow as a whole out. To be the best you have to go out and get it, you have to do it, you can’t wait for it to fall in your lap, take a lesson from the guys at Premier Ponds and seize the day! Can’t wait for the Premier Ponds tour de force in 2015!!

Where will they be next?

     If you want to experience the “Shinholser Effect”, Steve may be coming to an area near you! Steve Shinholser and Mike Kurylo will be at the Pondeminium event in York, PA on February 5, 6 and 7, 2014. Steve will be presenting to pond pros attending the event. Pondeminium was once a local event, hosted by Splash Supply Company ( ), that has now grown to draw pond pros from all over the country ( ). You can also catch Steve presenting at the Water Garden Expo 2014 event in Shawnee, OK on February 27 and 28, along with some other great pond pros. Steve’s extended tour takes him to Los Cabos, Mexico where he will be speaking with the American Leadership Academy ( ) inspiring young men looking for professional development in early March. Another presentation from Steve will be March 17 and 18 at Aquascape Inc.’s first Chicagomonium event for pond professionals.


All copy rights to this material is soley owned by Mike Gannon.


Jennifer Z

Another great recap of a water gardening event. Thanks for taking time to write about the experience … will be sharing this on social media sites!

Mark MJ Wilson

Great Blog Mike!

I am looking forward to returning to Chicagomonium to learn more. When I came over to the US to meet with you guys in 2013 it openned my eyes. Yesterday “at last” 8 pond contractors companys in the UK got together for a couple of hours. Which was great, the first time of its kind with the help of the OATA UK. Their are a few aquatic show here but mostly aimed at retail stores.

The Pond Doctor

Last year at this time our pond company was not too enamored with Aquascape. A distributer that we have bought pond supplies from; invited us to an event with Greg Whittstock, Steve Shinholser, and Mike Gannon. Those three opened our eyes about the benefits of becoming a CAC. We went to Pondemonium 2013 and were awed by the knowledge and talent available to help grow your business. One year later and we are now Certified Aquascape Contractors. Our revenue is up and we can specifically thank
Mike and Steve for their business advise. We are proud to be associated with this group of fellow contractors.

Mike Gannon

Hey Mark, thanks very much for your very kind words. It is an awesome thing to hear that I was able to help improve your business in any way! We work in a great industry and are pretty lucky to be a part of a network that is willing to help eachother out. I know I still need plenty of help with my business because it is nowhere near what is COULD be! I look forward to the future and keeping in touch w you and Curtis! Keep on doing it!! -Mike


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