THE HISTORY OF "TEAM HORNER"
(1969 Through 2006)
View Company Management
HORNER EQUIPMENT OF FLORIDA, INC. was founded February 1969, by
Earl Horner. Prior to that time, Earl had been Sales Manager for
a branch of Universal Pool Products, a wholesale distributor of
swimming pool supplies, with the home office in Texas. The
branch was in North Miami. Universal Pool Products is no
longer in business.
In April 1972, the current owner, Bill Kent, joined this Company
as a partner. At that time, the Company had three employees. In
mid 1973, Mr. Horner suffered a series of serious heart attacks
and eventually sold his share of the company to Bill, who is now
sole owner of most of the companies.
In 1976, the Company purchased the warehouse building at 810 NW
57th Court from the original landlord in order to secure the future
of the Company. One year later, faced with a space shortage,
the adjacent building was purchased. As the Company continued
to expand both its sales and staff size, adjacent warehouse bays
were leased to provide office and extra storage space.
In 1977, the Company opened an international subsidiary company,
HORNER EQUIPMENT INTERNATIONAL, INC., and added a telex and bilingual
personnel. The Caribbean, Central and South American markets
were successfully opened up.
In 1979, another subsidiary, HORNER INSTALLATION AND SOLAR SALES,
INC., was formed to expand the Company’s commitment to its
solar pool heating product line. In addition to selling the
solar systems, the Company offered complete turn-key installation
and warranty service to its dealer network. The Company had
a full-time solar sales manager and installation crew. In
February 1983, this service was discontinued because of a change
in product line.
In 1982, the company developed plans for a new building to suit
future needs. It purchased property (2 acres), designed the
warehouse and office facilities, and built the building in 1983-84. The
company facilities were doubled to 40,000 square feet (3,716 square
In June 1983, a new subsidiary company, HORNER MARKETING SERVICES,
INC., was formed. This department acts as an IMPORTER and
as a national marketing agency for certain types of pool products. This
service is still available to small specialty manufacturers who
do not wish to market the products they have developed.
In 1985, HORNER EQUIPMENT INTERNATIONAL was expanded through
the acquisition of DISCUS INC., a Palo Alto, California worldwide
exporter from Hank Mohr. HORNER DISCUS INTERNATIONAL, INC. has
become a Global Company, with customers throughout the Caribbean,
Central America, South America, Europe, the Far East, the Pacific
Basin, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East. The
company services swimming pool, spa and general engineering companies
throughout the entire world, and ships merchandise from over
10 ports on both the East and West Coast of the United States.
In January 1987, the two export companies were renamed HORNER
DISCUS INTERNATIONAL, INC. to avoid confusion by customers.
In 1989, HORNER DISCUS INTERNATIONAL, INC. acquired the LINX
CORPORATION, Seattle, Washington. LINX was a specialty
exporter of sauna equipment.
Also, in 1989, the Company received a Trademark for its TEAM
In October 1989, the Company opened a full-scale ADVERTISING
Department. A Macintosh Desk Top Publishing System was
purchased. Advertising services are geared to support both
our manufacturing and our customers needs.
In September 1990, TEAM HORNER continued its expansion with
the acquisition of Felicella Consulting Engineers. The
name has now been changed to HORNER CONSULTING ENGINEERS, INC. HCE,
which employs six design engineers and additional drafting & CAD
technicians, services the swimming pool trade by providing residential
and commercial engineering plans for renovations and new construction.
In July 1991, the California office was consolidated with our
International office in Florida, creating one worldwide Headquarters.
In May 1992, the LECTRANATOR CHLORINE MACHINE business was purchased
from OLIN CORPORATION (NYSE). LECTRANATOR, in production
since 1978, utilizes the principles of electrolytic generation
to make liquid chlorine in the pool. The factory was moved
in October 1992, from Cleveland, Ohio to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
In July 1992, the Company purchased the assets of AQUA
CAL, INC., America’s largest manufacturer of swimming pool/spa
heat pumps, located in St. Petersburg, Florida (near Tampa). AQUA
CAL makes several different brands/designs of heat pumps, utilizing
heat energy from either the surrounding air or from a local ground
water source. The factory now totals 66,000 square feet
(6,600 sq. meters). AQUA CAL has a large service staff
covering the entire State of Florida, and parts of the Northeast,
to provide field support for the pool heat pump industry.
In September, 1992, the Company purchased a 63,000 Square Foot
(5,853 meters), three (3) building facility with 200 parking
places adjacent to the main headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, AutoPilot is located in one of these buildings.
In October 1992, AutoPilot began producing the SHEER DESCENT
WATERFALL system under agreement with Bruce Johnson, SCB Manufacturing. This
relationship was discontinued in July 1994.
In February 1993, we started selling specially designed computer
hardware and software to our Florida customers. Thus business
was discontinued after three years.
In July 1993, AQUA CAL expanded into the Air Conditioning industry,
acquiring the fixed assets, tooling and production designs for
an Air Conditioning Condensing Unit from the Glow Core Corp.,
Cleveland, Ohio. This product, called Southern Cooler,
is used in central air conditioning systems. This product was
discontinued in 1997.
In August 1994, AutoPilot series of pool
sanitizing systems and pool
command centers was introduced.
In January 1995, the International Swimming Hall Of Fame Mail
Order Company was purchased and relocated to the Team Horner
Complex in Ft. Lauderdale. This business was discontinued
in September 1996.
In July 1995, Lectranator Company was renamed AUTOPILOT SYSTEMS,
In September 1995, Aqua Cal purchased the 40,000 sq. ft. manufacturing
facility in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In January 1996, TEAM HORNER formed KENT,
LOCKWOOD & STEIN,
a licensed, bonded, registered and insured Collection Agency/Information
Service. The following services are offered: Collection
Services, Consumer Credit Investigation Services, Corporate Credit
Investigation Services, and Personnel Review Services. KENT,
LOCKWOOD, & STEIN is a full service collection agency specializing
in Corporate Investigations, Skip Tracing & Asset Searches.
During 1996, Bill Kent served as the 40th President of America’s
professional trade association for the pool/spa Industry, namely
the NATIONAL POOL AND SPA INSTITUTE, representing over 5,000
member firms. During his term as N.S.P.I. President,
he initiated the concept of forming a strategic alliance between
the professional pool/spa Industry and the other segments of
the World of Aquatics, namely college and high school coaches,
swim schools and competitive Aquatics organizations (i.e. U.S.
Swimming, I.S.H.O.F., U.S. Diving, F.I.N.A., etc.).
In April 1996, a new advanced education program for customers
who are business owners, called LEADERSHIP 2000, was started. The
Leadership 2000 program offers outside resource speakers on pertinent
business topics, plus an issues session for the discussion of specific
business problems. This is a limited access program of daylong
meetings, held quarterly.
In November 1996, Aqua Cal celebrated 15 years in business with
a weekend event attended by over 300 customers. Factory
tours, product demonstrations, a sales and marketing seminar presented
by Chuck Reeves and a pirate theme dinner party topped off a very
In February 1997, Horner Consulting Engineering formed a strategic
partnership with GHA Consulting Engineers to offer more diverse
Engineering services to our clients.
In October 1997, Horner Consulting Engineering and Horner Discus
moved to a new, 10,000 square foot (929 sq. meters) office facility
within the Team Horner campus. GHA moved into these facilities
in March 1998.
In November 1997 Team Horner made history at the N.S.P.I. National
Trade Show in Chicago by entertaining the Convention every two
hours with a Dance Troupe (of employees) using the title song from
the movie MEN IN BLACK as the theme.
In January 1998, AQUA CAL EUROPE, S.A.R.L. was formed, with offices
and warehouse facilities in Southern France. The office was
moved to Paris, France in mid 1999, and closed in December 2001.
In April 1998, AQUA CAL AUSTRALIA, Pty., Ltd. was formed with
offices and warehouse facilities in Sydney, Australia. Aqua Cal,
Australia’s business was at first transferred to Hurlcon
Pty., Ltd., an Australian Company, in April 2000. In mid-2001,
Poolrite Pty. Ltd., another national manufacturer in the Australian
Pool Industry, replaced Hurlcon. Aqua Cal continues to have
a National Sales Manager in Australia.
In July 1998, a joint venture Company called LO-CHLOR,
formed here in Florida, to manufacture various specialty pool chemicals,
including Lo-Chlor algaecides and Starver phosphate reducer. LO-CHLOR,
L.C., in August 1998, purchased the assets of Miraclear, a water
clarifier product. Mr. Andrew Simons from Lo-Chlor Australia
is our partner in this Company.
In August 1998, Horner Equipment expanded beyond its traditional
lines of pool/spa products to also include ceramic pool tile, coping
and other decking and construction materials. Its long time
lines of Pool Finishes, including S.G.M. Diamond Brite, were included
in this new department.
In April 1999, Aqua Cal acquired the manufacturing rights of Komfort
Industries of Ft Myers. The Krusin Kool portable marine
air conditioner was renamed the Krusin Kool. Our Marine products
division was sold to a company focused on the marine industry in
In November 1999, Aqua Cal, Inc. acquired R & D Technologies,
an eleven-year-old distribution company, located in Connecticut. It
now operates as Aqua Cal East, distributing heat pumps and AutoPilot
in the 13 northeast states, with employees located in Connecticut,
Maryland and Delaware, Massachusetts, Virginia, Atlanta, and Georgia. Included
in the purchase was their brand name, AeroTemp.
Also, in November 1999, Aqua Cal, Inc. purchased a 16,000 square
foot warehouse/office building directly across the street from
the current manufacturing/general office facility. The building
is being used as a finished goods warehouse and for production
of Aqua Cal’s patented Titanium Heat Exchanger unit, shipment
terminal, production support process & file storage.
In September 2000, Aqua Cal opened a field sales office in Phoenix,
Arizona; in early 2002, a full time field service technician was
added. There are currently three Teammates in this location.
In November 2000, Aqua-Cal Europe re-opened a field sales office
in Paris, France. This office was closed in November 2001.
HornerXpress, Inc. was formed in late 2000 to sell franchises
of our wholesale distribution business. The first HornerXpress
franchise opened in February 2001 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In May 2001, Horner Consulting Engineering became a joint venture
Company with half ownership belonging to Mr. John Carroll and Mr.
Gerry Cataldo, owners of Twenty First Century Engineering, a well
known South Florida company.
In November 2001, Aqua Cal purchased a third building (7,500 square
feet) increasing the total factory building space to 61,000 square
feet (6,100 square meters).
In April 2002, owner Bill Kent celebrated 30 years of service
with a party attracting over 500 employees and friends. His
theme was “The Best is Yet to Come”.
In August/September 2002, six Company-owned Branches were opened
throughout Florida, making our Whole Distribution business truly “State
Wide”. Our three manufactured product lines, Aqua
Cal/AutoPilot, Lo-Chlor, are now exclusively being sold in Florida
through these branches, called HornerXpress.
In December 2002, our original Company in Fort Lauderdale was
renamed HornerXpress-South Florida, creating a consistent brand
image for our wholesale companies.
In January 2003, Aqua Cal purchased a fully computerized machine
for cutting, shaping and bending the internal copper tubing inside
its Heat Pumps.
In February 2003, a HornerXpress branch opened in Nashville, Tennessee. This
branch was closed in November, 2004.
In September 2003, HornerXpress
Financial Services, a full service
mortgage brokerage business, was formed under the leadership of
Phil Bozone, to offer First and Second mortgages to pool buyers
via HX customers, here in Florida. In early 2004, HFS expanded
to provide mortgage brokerage services in Arizona.
In November 2003, Bill Kent became the President & Chairman
of the Board of the National Swimming Pool Foundation, with headquarters
in Colorado Springs, Colorado. NSPF operates as a non-profit
foundation that focuses on health, education and safety issues
in the pool and spa industry. Bill was re-elected to this
post in November 2004 and 2005 for added terms.
In January 2004, Horner Discus was re-named HornerXpress Worldwide,
In January 2004, HornerXpress worldwide hired Ms. Barbara Scheuer
to open an office in Germany with a focus on Aqua Cal & AutoPilot
sales. In mid 2005, we initiated an inventory in Köln
to support European sales.
In March 2004, the Engineering partnership with Mr. Carroll and
Mr. Cataldo was dissolved; HornerXpress Consulting Engineers is
now 100 % common ownership with the rest of the Team
In August 2004, Aquacal purchased a 2-acre piece of raw land adjacent
to one of its current properties for expansion at a future date.
In October 2004, the first e-college class was held at Keiser
E College in a joint venture degree program called “Aquatic
Engineering Technology”. This joint venture program
with Keiser College offers an accredited 2-year “Associates
of Science” degree, focused on the technology of the swimming
pool and spa Industry. In January, 2006, the first person
graduated with this degree.
In November 2004, in concert with the closing of the Nashville
branch, Lo-Chlor opened a regional sales office in Nashville, with
Connie Sue Centrella as the Regional Sales Manager. In early
2005, Connie Sue became “Director of Education” for
Team Horner, discontinuing the Lo-Chlor assignment.
In May, 2005, HornerXpress purchased a 2 acre site in Jacksonville,
Florida, and is building a 25,000 sq. ft. building to relocate
the HX First Coast branch.
In October, 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit full blast in Fort Lauderdale. All
of the roofs at the main campus are being replaced as a result. No
one was injured.
During 2005, 2 new Vice Presidents were promoted at Team Horner: Don
Detwiler & Darren Goldstein.
In late 2005, new distribution centers were opened in Ft. Myers
and Largo, Florida.
TOGETHER... GROWING TOGETHER… WINNING TOGETHER…"