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​Watershape University Acquires WaterShapes.com



Watershape University (WU) founders David J. Peterson and William T. Drakeley are pleased to announce the purchase of WaterShapes.com, the website and digital newsletter that keep professionals within and beyond the pool and spa industry on top of design trends and innovative techniques and technologies. As part of the sale, which is effective immediately, WaterShapes founder and principal Jim McCloskey will remain in place as Editor-in-Chief.


WaterShapes is a prominent addition to Watershape University’s growing list of brands and initiatives, including the International Watershape Institute (IWI), a home for the leaders, teachers and true influencers in the industry; and the Live Blue Foundation (LBF), Watershape University’s partnership with Wallace J. Nichol’s The Blue Mind Company with a mission of “getting people near, on and in water for life.”


"WaterShapes' twice-monthly engagement with more than 15,000 design professionals fulfills the IWI's goal to put our winning team on the same playing field as AIA, ASLA, APLD, and ASID,” says Peterson, WU CEO. “With its dedication to the best in design, engineering and construction, WaterShapes will now be the voice of our Institute and Watershape University’s students, faculty, and corporate-engagement partners. I can't think of a better way to provide more value to our growing team!"


McCloskey explains, “When Dave and Bill approached me at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo about acquiring WaterShapes, I used the opportunity of the show to learn as much as I could about WU’s vision. The industry’s positive reaction and immediate acceptance of that vision made me happy to align WaterShapes with their leadership team and its ambitions.”


“We already shared the name ‘watershape,’ ” adds Drakeley, WU President. “We already shared a desire to foster professionalism and elevate watershaping’s standing within the community of architects and designers. Now we share the obligation of preserving the integrity of education and extending knowledge to those who represent the future of our industry.”


Visit www.watershape.org for information on Watershape University and its growing influence through curriculum development, credentialing capabilities, faculty expansion, and upcoming class events. Visit www.watershapes.com to explore the latest addition to the team.


Plan to visit the Watershape University Booth at The Pool and Spa Show powered by the Northeast Spa and Pool Association in Atlantic City, January 28-30, 2020 and join the growing WU Team!

David Peterson and Jim McCloskey at the Getty Center

Dave and Jim sealed the deal a week after arriving home from the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in New Orleans. Check out Jim's blog at https://www.watershapes.com/articles/watershapes-world-blog for his side of the story!

WaterShapes.com is dedicated to centralizing information having to do with the processes by which water-containing vessels and their surroundings are designed, engineered and constructed, serving as a forum for communication about how these environments and their amenities can be assembled practically, properly and profitably. Constantly growing, constantly evolving, the site and its newsletter offer access to practical information and the materials, tools and methods used to achieve ambitious results while developing a strong sense of community and communication among water-oriented professionals.








​The Live Blue Foundation is Lau​nched - October 24, 2019



New York, NY

Today The Blue Mind Company and Watershape University announced the launch of The Live Blue Foundation at Good Housekeeping’s Raise the Green Bar event at Hearst Tower in NYC.


For the past decade Dr. Wallace J. Nichols has worked around the world to describe and share the vast physical and emotional health benefits of time spent near, in, on and under water throughout our lives. The foundation will provide tools and grants to leading organizations who are putting this new research and practice into action.


“We are seeing more red-mind (stress, anxiety and distraction) leading to gray-mind (overload, burnout and breakdown) than ever. We think “blue mind” is part of the toolkit of solutions—healthy waters help us lead more emotionally and physically resilient lives, and also boost creativity, contentment, collaboration, and general wellness,” say Dr. Nichols. “In turn, people will value their waters and oceans more when they understand and experience these benefits.”


“Watershape University, and before it the National Swimming Pool Foundation®, believes in the power of water to help people live healthier and happier lives,” says Lauren Stack.  “We are certain that the grants provided through The Live Blue Foundation will put Blue Mind to work for the benefit of humankind and the industries involved in recreational water activities, like the pool, spa and aquatics fields,” adds Stack.


A recent study published in the Annals of Leisure Research emphasized emotional health and well-being dimensions of water, stating “those managing recreational facilities like a community pool could consider more than how the facility promotes physical well-being and attempt to create spaces that promote other types of well-being.” Another 2019 study published in Scientific Reports found spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and well-being.


Our Mission: The Live Blue Foundation was created to put Blue Mind science and best practices into action—safely getting people near, in, on and under water for life.


Our Vision: We recognize that water is medicine for those who need it most and everyone else. Our vision is a world where everyone understands and has access to the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual health benefits of waters and oceans—their #bluemind.


Our Activities: Based on a decade of research, outreach, a global network of experts, practitioners, and ambassadors and the groundswell created by the book Blue Mind by Dr. Wallace J Nichols, we identify leading organizations around the world who reconnect people with water throughout their lives and provide tools needed to put #bluemind into action.


Our Design: Our logo represents the lifelong connections we share throughout each of the seven ages of water, which Dr. Nichols details in his upcoming book Live Blue.


Contact: Julie Starke, juliestarke@me.com, 757-646-2001

The Blue Mind Company was founded by marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols in 2009 to describe and share the science and best practices related to water and wellness. Through annual summits, books, films, awards, media, keynotes, and workshops BMC has reached over a billion people, making progress towards to the goal of creating common knowledge. #bluemind

Nichols is changing the way the world engages with water and rethinking all the ways people spend time near, in, on and under it. He is a driving force in creating common knowledge about how water is medicine for those who need it most and sharing Blue Mind science and ethos across many sectors in contemporary culture.

Watershape University (“WU”) provides the highest quality live instruction of business, design, engineering and construction programs to students of all levels in the pool, spa, aquatics, and outdoor living sectors. Although recently founded by David J. Peterson (CEO) and William T. Drakeley (President,) WU is defined by decades of teaching and practice among staff, faculty, and volunteers engaged in its educational and credentialing programs. WU encourages personal development through membership in the elite International Watershape Institute, providing principled leadership, a supportive culture and altruism to benefit the industry and society. A key outreach is The Live Blue Foundation, a partnership between Watershape University and The Blue Mind Company. Peterson and Lauren Stack, Vice President, are pleased to serve as advisory board members of the Foundation, getting people near, in, on, and under water for life. @watershapeORG

Watershape University Hires Vice President - October 3, 2019



Watershape University (“WU”) founders, David J. Peterson and William T. Drakeley, are pleased to announce the hiring of Lauren Stack as Vice President effective October 1, 2019.


“Lauren was instrumental in leading the team of staff and volunteers who grew the GENESIS® business within the National Swimming Pool Foundation® since the two entities merged in 2016. When reorganization under the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance left Lauren unemployed, Bill and I knew she would be a perfect fit for Watershape University,” says Peterson.


“I believe that the strengths and passion of Dave, Lauren and I make for a formidable team to lead the University and positively affect the entire watershape industry,” adds Drakeley.


Through a career in the industry that spans nearly three decades, Stack has worked in a variety of capacities, honing skills helpful to moving Watershape University forward. “In addition to Managing GENESIS within NSPF, I have led industry initiatives, coordinated market research surveys, and organized many industry gatherings including three industry Summits and more during my time with APSP,” says Stack. “I am excited to work with Bill, Dave and Watershape University. Working in the industry to bring value to students through education and credentialing, and being part of this team to lead the industry is important to me,” she adds.


Visit www.watershape.org for information on Watershape University and its growing influence through curriculum development, credentialing capabilities, faculty expansion and upcoming class events.

Plan to visit the Watershape University Booth 1440 at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in New Orleans and join the growing WU Team!

Lauren C. Stack, MBA

Stack has been in the pool, spa and aquatics industry since 1990, making her a proud honorary member of the “Quarter Century Club” of the Northeast Pool and Spa Association. She worked for Aristech Acrylics, a supplier to the hot tub market, when she served as a volunteer, then officer, of NSPI ’s Hot Tub Council. In 2002, Lauren joined the staff of what had become the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, serving in a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities. In 2015 Stack joined NSPF and almost immediately worked on the merger with GENESIS which was official January 1, 2016.Under her leadership GENESIS revenue more than doubled within four years and the number of students taking paid classes nearly tripled.

Watershape University Announces Dean of Culture - October 3, 2019



Watershape University (“WU”) founders, David J. Peterson and William T. Drakeley, are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael (“Mike”) Nantz as the University’s first “Dean of Culture.”

Nantz is the president of Elite Concepts, Inc. an international design firm established in 1991. Although Elite Concepts is headquartered in Dallas, Mike has done extensive work throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico and parts of Central America.

Nantz is an expert student and teacher of drawing techniques; hand-sketching as well as computer-aided design. Mike is beloved by students because of his tips that help them learn something that they never dreamed they could; and the confidence he inspires that helps them put the techniques learned into practice.

“The dictionary defines ‘culture’ as a way of life for a group of people, meaning the way they do things.  People within a culture share outlook, attitudes, values and goals. With that in mind,
Bill and I could think of no one more capable of creating a positive team culture within Watershape University than our new Dean, Mike Nantz,” Peterson states.

“At Watershape University we are building a winning team of students, faculty and companies and their brands to support each other, establish best industry practices and employ them for personal growth and professional gain,” explains Drakeley.

“My role as Dean of Culture will go far beyond the classroom,” explains Nantz. “Through shared experiences, the pursuit of excellence and the value of giving back, Watershape University will transform the industry. I have been preparing for this role for a very long time and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the University in this capacity,” Nantz adds.

Michael "Mike" Nantz, IWI, SWD Master

Mr. Nantz has a 30-year history in the swimming pool industry as a designer, builder, consultant and, educator. He has accumulated a breadth of experience leading and managing the engineering, operational and application functions of the various teams required to produce simple to complex watershapes. Additionally, since the mid 90’s Mr. Nantz has taught and lectured, in the United States and Europe, programs involving drawing, design, construction, renovation, computer design and professional services to swimming pool industry professionals.

Mr. Nantz’s experience includes consultation to swimming pool building professionals both domestically and internationally, providing his expertise in design, construction and business operation. He is principal of the design/build company, Elite Concepts, Inc., established in 1991, based in Lewisville, Texas.

Career Credentials Through Watershape University - September 30, 2019



Watershape University (“WU”) founders, David J. Peterson and William T. Drakeley, are pleased to unveil the Credentials that will be possible, and the coursework necessary for each level.

Looking for the highest quality live instruction of business, design, engineering and construction?  Find it at www.watershape.org.

“Dave and I have the unique opportunity to build a new educational system from the ground up,” says Drakeley. “Our education will be practical, economical and beneficial to students as they earn ‘WU Credentials’ to become the best they can be in their chosen field,” adds Peterson.

Through a Learning Management System, Watershape University will keep its team of students, faculty and corporations connected beyond the classroom. Students will be able to see their progress online, plan their education and earn tangible credentials to promote to homeowners.

The Credentials show a straight path to professional and personal growth.  Design/Build students can easily communicate and promote their achievements along the way.

“Watershape University is securing providership status through the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET),” states Peterson. IACET favors providers having ‘virtual badging’ as visible and sharable proof of students’ educational achievements.

Students will find the credentialing capabilities easy to apply and verify. Virtual badging is also easily monitored by WU that can turn verification on or off, in the event the student fails to take the necessary continuing education to maintain verified status.

At the outset, WU Credentials will largely apply to Builders and Designers in the industry. It will expand to accommodate other disciplines in the industry that haven’t been well-served through the years including Service, Retail and Outdoor Living.

“To expand our curriculum, we are inviting qualified subject matter experts to join our faculty,” says Peterson. “We are looking for professionals who want to give back to the industry by sharing the talents that made them successful and helping the next generation avoid mistakes that impede success in the watershape industry,” adds Drakeley.

Individuals who are credentialed as “Professionals,” and the companies for whom they work, will find a new, prestigious home in the International Watershape Institute (IWI). Like the AIA, the IWI will be comprised of teammates in the top of their respective fields within the watershape industry. IWI members will take continuing education to further hone their skills. They will also be requested to give back to the industry and the greater world in various ways. Membership within the Institute will promote the IWI brand to the professional community (Architects, Landscape Architects, Engineers) and the public with whom they interface.

For more information on Watershape University classes and credentialing visit www.watershape.org and join their social media platforms.


Watershape University Adds Classes and Faculty - September 20, 2019



On August 23, David J. Peterson, P.E. and William T. Drakeley announced that they were forming a partnership in Watershape University (“WU”) to provide the highest quality live instruction of business, design, engineering, and construction programs to students of all levels in the pool, spa, aquatics, and outdoor living sectors. The reaction to the announcement from the industry has been tremendously positive, keeping WU’s website at www.watershape.org constantly evolving with new class offerings, faculty and corporate support.

Drakeley and Peterson report various tradeshow hosts, distributors and buying groups having contacted them, interested in bringing WU education to their events in 2020 and beyond. “Through our conversations with event partners and trade groups, Bill and I have found a consistent thread of wanting education that was more “accessible” to many in the industry. Greater accessibility could mean less expensive, but more importantly, it means changing the nature of the instruction to be more practical and useful,” explains Peterson.

Many experts in their respective fields are signing on as WU faculty to develop new approaches to teaching concepts fundamental to the aquatic and outdoor living design/build professionals. “WU welcomes, as faculty, those who earnestly want to help students be the best that they can be, no matter the roles the students play in the larger pool, spa and aquatics world,” says Drakeley. “That unique value proposition requires both creativity by the teachers and dedication by the WU students; we intend to inspire both,” adds Peterson.

The Watershape University founders have fielded inquiries from manufacturers, many expressing a desire to help WU succeed. Offers of support include sponsorships, the hosting of classes and co-development of curriculum to jumpstart WU’s desire to reach a broad swath of the industry.

Please bookmark www.watershape.org where WU’s evolution will unfold with ever-changing programs, campuses, talented faculty and supportive companies seeking to raise the professionalism of the industry, one student at a time, through Watershape University.


Watershape University Founded by Peterson and Drakeley - August 23, 2019



We are pleased to announce the formation of Watershape University to provide the highest quality live instruction of business, design, engineering, and construction programs to students of all levels in the pool, spa, aquatics, and outdoor living sectors.


Watershape University began as a partnership between David J. Peterson and William T. Drakeley to train and cross-train the employees of their respective companies. “I wanted to add Bill’s expertise to the internal training of my team and he wanted his team to benefit from my knowledge, so we created a partnership to improve our businesses from the inside out. Now it seems appropriate to share our intellectual property and expertise with other companies in this industry that seek to improve their technical and business operations,” says Peterson.


Peterson and Drakeley bring decades of technical and business experience to Watershape University including their roles as Director and Deputy Director of GENESIS® Education and their involvement with the American Shotcrete Association. For years, they have collaborated on construction projects and provided expert testimony in construction defect cases. They have taught classes on several aspects of business, design, engineering, and construction in the pool, spa, aquatics, and outdoor living industries.


“Our goal is to elevate our industry through high quality, consistent training and instruction from qualified industry professionals. We believe we can better serve the watershaping industry by connecting with builders and their subcontractors,” says Drakeley.


Watershape University has both an east coast and a west coast office to maximize its ability to provide training and support throughout North America.


Watershape University will offer programs beginning this winter. A course schedule and more details will be released in the coming months. The best way to stay connected with Watershape University is through their website at watershape.org and social media platforms.