Al has cordially invited all his “out of state” friends who are attending this dinner to join him at his home, 96 Dickenson Road, South Glastonbury, CT, on Saturday, March 24th, from 11:00am – 3:00pm for brunch. If you plan on attending this brunch please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Albert Rizzo, Jr., known to his friends as Al, was born in 1934 in East Hartford, CT. His family moved from East Hartford to Hartford in the late 1930’s after the Great Flood that devastated that city. Throughout his childhood Al was active in St. Augustine Parish in Hartford where he attended school, was involved with the St. Augustine Boys Brigade and was a Communicant for the parish. Al eventually left Hartford when he married and purchased 60 acres of land in South Glastonbury where he still lives today.
Al left high school in his sophomore year to start his own business at the ripe old age of 17 but continued his education at night and received his diploma from Hartford High School with honors. He later attended classes at night at the University of Hartford for 6 years so he could continue to concentrate on his budding business in the day. Al built his first swimming pool in 1955 and has owned and operated his successful pool company ever since.
Not content to just be a successful businessman Al pursued a long and distinguished career in his many volunteer activities both inside and out of the swimming pool industry. In 1958 he joined the National Swimming Pool Institute (NSPI) now known as the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals. Al served in many positions with NSPI including National Director – Region 1- from 1986-1990 and his long tenure on the Builders Council where he served as Chair and was instrumental in its many education endeavors.
He also joined what was then the Northeast Swimming Pool Association (NESPA) now known as the Northeast Spa and Pool Association and became a Connecticut Representative in 1962. Al served in every elected and appointed position at NESPA including President in 1984-85 throughout his more than 45 years with the association. Al became President in 1984 to fill the unexpired term of Mel Hoffer and then served another full year after his election in 1985.
Seeing the need for a more local state based trade association for his home state Al started the Connecticut Swimming Pool Association (CONSPA) in 1967 and became its first president. He remained an active member of the Board of Directors of CONSPA until his retirement in 2009 and served as President for a second term from 2004-2006. Although no longer on the Board of Directors Al continues in his role as Chair of the Government Relations Committee shepherding the first ever pool service and pool builders license requirements through the legislature and Department of Consumer Protection.
Al has also been a member of the International Master Pool Builders Guild since 1974 and a member of its Board of Directors since 1980.
During his many years serving his industry and his association Al has been responsible for so many “firsts” that it is almost hard to know where to begin. At the national level during Al’s nearly 15 year tenure (1994-2008) as the Education Chair of the Builders Council he spearheaded and was lead author for the writing, editing and publishing of the First Edition of the Builders Reference Manual, commonly called “The Bible” for the pool industry, in 1998 which at that time contained a “mere” 500 pages. Al brought the second edition on board with the publication of the updated 750 page manual in 2002 and most recently was once again called upon to direct the publication of the third edition in 2008 now containing nearly twice as much material at 950 pages as the first edition. This manual is used as the teaching tool for the International APSP Certified Pool Builders Program with over 400 individuals around the world having earned the CBP designation.
In addition to authoring and editing the Builders Manual Al was called upon on many occasions to assist APSP in the development of industry standards that form the backbone of all building code regulations for the recreational water environment industry and have been adopted by more than 40 states and the International Code Council.
Al did not limit his educational efforts to NSPI and NESPA. As one of the first swimming pool contractors in the Northeast in the 1960’s, and due to the lack of trained service personnel, he started a program that hired mechanically inclined unemployed individuals. This was a 6 week classroom training program and those who lasted the full course were put on the road to work under a journeyman. Their education continued in the classroom with daylong classes that focused on filtration, pumps & motors, heaters and masonry repairs (i.e. coping, tile, plaster and decking). The program was so successful he presented it to the Master Pool Guild in the 70’s and in 1981 he gave the program to NESPA and spent 6 weeks teaching the first class.
Al has been a tireless proponent for licensing of all pool and spa professionals, spearheading the legislative battle and later victory of enacting the first ever service contractors’ license in CT in 1999. He later headed the committee of industry volunteers to strengthen and broaden the service license winning that battle in 2008 and finally his crowning accomplishment of directing the industry and chapter effort for a first ever pool builders license which was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dan Malloy in June 2011.
Al has also enjoyed non-educational duties and responsibilities having been the Chair of the NESPA Quarter Century Club, an honorary industry fraternity limited to those individuals who have at least 25 years in the industry and have contributed at least 5 years of volunteer service at the chapter, region or national level for many years, until he stepped down as chair a few years ago. Al was one of the first members of this distinguished club to earn his 50 year gold and diamond pin attesting to his long and distinguished service.
Rizzo Pool Company, Al’s flagship has been the recipient of many, many accolades and awards in the service and building segments of the industry. Rizzo Pools has received many gold, silver, and bronze Design Awards throughout the years, including “Best of Show” several times and the NESPA 2010 & 2011 Service of Excellence Award and entry into the Registry of Americas Great Pool Builder, Luxury Pool 2003. The list of Al’s personal awards and recognitions is long and varied, among which are:
- 1985 NESPA Man of the Year Award
- 2006 – Honored as “Mr. Education” by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).
- 2005 Outstanding Service to APSP
- Government Relations Outstanding Achievement
- Distinguished Service Award Region 1 NSPI 1983-1990
- Distinguished Service NESPA 1998-2000
- Businessman of the Year
- Certificate of Honor from the Mayor of Hartford
- Congressional Day of Honor by Congressman John Larson
- CONSPA 1996-1997 Certificate of Appreciation
- 1984-1986 NSPI Region 1 Salute to Dedication to the Advancement of Education
- Lifetime Achievement Award - Jandy Products 2007
- NSPI Outstanding Activity 1998
- Aqua Magazine 1989-1991 Editorial Advisory Council
Al has also devoted numerous hours of his volunteer time to other organizations outside of the recreational water environment, among which are:
- 1. UNICO, (Unity, Neighborly, Integrity, Charity and Opportunity)
Hartford Chapter - for more than 45 years
- Better Business Bureau – Served on Board of Directors
- Franklin Avenue Merchants Association– Served on Board of Directors
In 2007 was awarded “Businessman of the Year” and received four (4) citations (Federal, State of Connecticut, City and Franklin Avenue Merchants).
- Consultant for the State Consumer Protection Agency