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Team Horner

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 meters).

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 HORNER LOGO.

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, INC.

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 successful weekend.

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, L.C. was 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 mid 2001.

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, Inc.

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 Horner Companies.

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.

"WORKING TOGETHER... GROWING TOGETHER… WINNING TOGETHER…"

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