Dave Pruette is not one of those pool professionals who grew up in the industry and watched his parents successfully run a pool company.
In fact, that saying “right place at the right time” could be the answer Dave gives when asked why he got into the industry or how he got his start. It was almost by accident, really.
Dave, a general electrician at this point in his life, was registering his newly-built business with the Duval County courthouse in 1994 when, randomly, he was offered another job that he didn’t want any part of at first.
“One of the guys on the county board pulled me aside,” said Dave. “His daytime job was as a pool contractor and he wanted me to wire pools that he built.”
Dave originally told him no and went on with his day. The next day Dave’s phone rang.
“It was that same guy, the board member who was a pool contractor,” said Dave. “He wasn’t going to take no for an answer.”
Dave agreed to do a job for him and that was the beginning of a career that Dave never, not even once, envisioned.
For four years Dave would work as an electrician in the pool industry while still doing general electric work for residential, commercial and industrial projects. In 1999, Dave decided he would stray away from the general electric work and specialize just in pools.
“I wiped my electrical business clean and only worked on pools,” said Dave. “I got out in the truck with one helper and that first year I wired 300 pools.”
Dave’s new career was off and running. He was doing anything electric that had to do with a pool, from wiring a freshly-built pool to maintaining older ones.
“I absolutely never guessed I’d be working in the pool industry,” said Dave.
A random encounter with a stranger would change Dave’s career path overnight. When asked if he could imagine doing anything else as a career, he laughed and paused to reflect for a second.
“I’ve been doing pools for twenty years now,” said Dave. “I can’t even begin to imagine what I’d be doing now.”
Dave’s business, Pruette Electric, has served Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. John ’s County since that random encounter at the Duval courthouse in 1994.
As the pool industry continues to boom, Dave believes that anyone who wants to enter as the electrical specialist of the industry should get their feet wet in all aspects of electrical work.
“I bounced around a bit doing a bunch of different things as an electrician and that was really good for my development and growth looking back,” said Dave. “You should experience all types of electrical work, from general residential to commercial, before you specialize in one thing, like pools.”
Dave’s nontraditional path to the pool industry serves as a reminder for any professional to always keep your options open.