John Pittman: Swimming With the Tide
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SEBASTOPOL – Just prior to entering the swimming pool business, John Pittman found himself at a crossroads, both professionally and personally. “I was in between careers and had recently gone through a divorce, and I didn’t really know which direction to go next,” he remembers. A relatively recent Bay Area transplant, John had been provisionally working as a carpenter after spending more than a decade building yachts in Southern California. It wasn’t long, however, before a fateful meeting altered his course for good. “I met a fellow named Roger Shipley who owned a swimming pool maintenance business. We hit it off and became friends, and he actually hired me as a service technician. That was back in 1986. In 2001, Roger decided to retire, so I bought the business with another partner, and we’ve been running Roger’s Pool & Spa Service ever since.”
John grew up in the hills of Tennessee (“literally in a house with a dirt floor,” he says), but he’s spent the last three decades in Northern California, and he says he still has a deep appreciation for the aesthetic appeal of his adopted locale. “The Bay Area is a beautiful place to live and work, and I’ve really grown accustomed to the Mediterranean climate here.”
When he’s not working on pools and spas, John enjoys venturing out on extensive road trips with his wife, Donna, a retired school administrator and Sebastopol native. “So far, we’ve gone on three 7,500-plus mile trips in our class B motorhome,” he says. “My schedule isn’t as tight these days, so we like to seize the opportunity to just take off and explore America.” John also adheres to a strictly regimented golf routine. “Everybody who knows me knows I play golf on Thursdays,” he laughs.
Looking back on his life and career, John says one of the most valuable things he’s learned is to not get hung up on unresolvable issues. “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about things I can’t change. Of course I try to resolve issues whenever possible, but experience has taught me that it’s pointless to dwell on things that are outside of my control. In some cases, it’s best to just let it go and move on.”
When asked what his retirement might look like, John says he’ll have to take a page from his wife’s book. “Donna is completely retired, but she still manages to stay busy all the time. I think it’ll have to be the same for me, because I’m the kind of person who always has to have something going on. Who knows—maybe I’ll take up painting!”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: I’m a big fan of the Giants and 49ers.
Q: Did you play sports in high school?
A: I played football and basketball. In football, I was an offensive lineman.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I would definitely go to the past. I’m an early American history enthusiast, and I’ve spent the last 27 years escorting eighth graders on trips to Washington, D.C., so I’d definitely be interested in going back to that period.
Q: What’s your favorite smell?
Q: Who makes you laugh?
A: Steve Martin.
Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
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