Parker County Today April 2016 - Page 10

PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY APRIL 2016 8 “Our goal is to train employees who will be able to step into our shoes when we’re too old to do this. We’ve planned this for continuity, for the employees, for our customers. We feel like someday, when it’s our time to retire, we will sell the company to employees that we’ve been mentoring along over the last years.” Smith and Clark are preparing to celebrate Pulliam Pools’ 100 years in business.  “It’s a real landmark,” Smith said. “It’s something to celebrate. To accomplish this in a construction industry is almost unheard of. Typical economic ups and downs impact the building industry in ways that not many survive. Bad weather, labor shortages, unregulated builders who have no scruples and unforeseen economic turnarounds challenge the best of all companies. Add in wars, recessions, union growth, gender roles in society, and other historical events over one hundred years, and the challenges multiplied.” Pulliam not only survived, but thrived and became a nationally recognized name in the industry.  “Pulliam is rated in the top 100 in the nation,” Smith said. 
The company began as a concrete company, founded by brothers Theodore Creswell Pulliam and Frank ‘Pop’ Pulliam in 1914.  “In those days, there was no such thing as a dedicated swimming pool contractor, so if you wanted a pool you called a cement contractor,” Smith said. “They started building cement cattle dipping vats and it evolved from there.” Both were so successful at constructing the waterproof vats that they were asked to design and build the first pool in Coryell County in 1916. The two brothers separated the businesses. “Theodore began building pools under the name of Pulliam Pools,” Smith said. “Frank continued in the concrete business.” Theodore built the Gatesville Public Park pool in 1925. Pulliam’s rich history began there. “Many of us have watched old westerns and marvel at the lack of technology back then,” Smith said. “To put things in perspective, there 1960 Pool Talk Magazine were no modern concrete trucks that you see today.” Phones, fax machines and the Internet were not available. You could not Google information. Pulliam had to rely on their own devices to create projects. They had to mix concrete on site using hand cranks drawn by horse and buggy. There were no modern hydraulics and chemicals were non-existent, so the pools had to be drained weekly in the hot Texas sun to have good sanitation. Filters consisted of concrete blocks built into a square container where layers of sand and rock were stacked. Water from the pool was pumped over the mixture and directed back into the vessel. Pool chemicals changed the way water was treated. Before the advent of sprayed-on gunite, pools had poured concrete walls, and poured floors which would lead to cracking and leaking along the joints. The most expensive way was to over-excavate the pool and have form boards where concrete was poured.  “Second-generation-owner Doren Pulliam took over the company in 1934,” Smith said. “He developed many ‘firsts’ himself. He built a new location at 2221 8th Street in Fort Worth. Doren was an innovator and he developed many of the engineering and structural design standards which are still in use today.”  Doren recognized the importance of customer service. “He operated