From the August/September 2018 Issue  

Water Works – 100 Years of Lehmann Pools

 |  Builder Lehmann Pools & Spas  |  SPONSORED CONTENT

When the Lehmann family started building swimming pools in 1955, residential pools were mostly the province of movie stars and the ultra-wealthy. At the time, the company was called V. Lehmann Construction Co., named for its founder Victor L. Lehmann. He established the company in 1918, and it primarily specialized in the construction of schools and churches.

Lehmann’s son, Victor S. Lehmann, who joined his father’s company after his military service during World War II, was on the job that fateful day when the company took on its first swimming pool project. Arriving at a job site, Victor S. asked the clients what they were planning to build and whether they had the plans. The clients replied they wanted to build a swimming pool. They had no plans, but figured that digging a hole was a good first step. Victor S. couldn’t argue with that and offered to help. Knowing little about pool construction, Lehmann researched the process. He attended a convention in New York City, where he learned about pumps, filters, liners — everything necessary to put together a pool package. He learned well and, by 1962, the company was solely devoted to swimming pools.

Victor S. wasn’t the last Victor Lehmann to join the business. In 1980, Victor A. Lehmann joined his father and helped grow the company. Victor A. is currently the owner and operator as well as the designer. He is dedicated to creating unique residential and commercial in-ground, gunite swimming pools, as well as spas, water features, ponds and pool houses.

Victor A. apprenticed with his father, whose experience in the field made him a wonderful mentor.

“My father offered and installed almost every kind of pool package available, including vinyl liner, form-poured concrete, fiberglass and painted steel,” he says. “I appreciated and learned from his vast knowledge of all these various types of swimming pools.”

Victor A. started at the bottom, and his learning process involved all facets of the business.

“I learned every aspect of how to build and/or repair a pool. There is not one part of the job that I did not personally do at one time or another.”

Along the way, Victor A. witnessed major developments in the industry. “In the late ’80s gunite (pneumatically applied concrete) became available as a process for building pools in Northern New Jersey and we sold our first gunite pool in 1990,” he says. “I loved this material for building pools since you could build almost anything you could imagine, and I always love the opportunity to let my imagination run wild.” ­

Victor A. reflects on the wide variety of design ideas, finish choices and styles that have been available through the years, and the way his father reacted to the slew of choices, which can be overwhelming to clients. “He would shake his head sometimes when he saw the latest innovations in swimming pools. He used to love to tell me — or anyone who would listen — about when he first started. At that time, the main choices were a 16-by-32-foot rectangle, an 18-by-36-foot rectangle or a 20-by-40-foot rectangle. Customers could select either dark blue tile or light blue tile. Now, there are well over 1,000 different waterline tile choices alone.”

There are also choices when it comes to accessories and maintenance systems. “One of our specialties is designing pools with built-in in-floor cleaning systems,” Victor A. says. “They’re extremely user friendly, extremely energy efficient and, when installed properly, can last almost indefinitely.” They’re also aesthetically appealing. “These systems practically disappear into the pool.” He adds, “We have over 24 years’ experience in designing and building these systems, and they work wonderfully.” Lehmann Pools & Spas is also “best known for our imaginative designs and our engineering of each project,” says Victor A., who ensures that “every pool is different and unique. It has always been my belief that every project should be designed and engineered from scratch to fit the distinctive aspects of the property. We never use cookie-cutter designs or rubber-stamped engineering.”

Indeed, the company continually strives to add innovation to the industry.

Vic L., Vic S., and Vic A. Lehmann

“Though we have been in business for a century, we never believed in resting on our laurels. We are always looking at how to do the things we do better. We are always learning, and there are always new materials and design ideas coming out that push the boundaries of what a swimming pool can be.”

Victor A. embraces new technologies after carefully considering quality in the short-term benefits and long-term sustainability. “I do love the fact there is always something new to learn and experience but, being a leader in this industry, I am always a bit concerned about the longevity of new ideas and materials.” Though he sees “this company always wanting to push the envelope, we will never sell an item that hasn’t stood up to a test of time and that we would be comfortable standing behind for the next 100 years.”

Victor A. plans to ensure the company will still be designing and installing pools a century from now, and he knows who’ll be running it. “Although we’re sure the company will be around and active for another 100 years, right now the responsibility to keep it going will be handled by extended family members. They take pride in their jobs here and want to continue the legacy.”

Though times (and pool styles) may have changed, Lehmann’s way of doing business never will.

“We’ve held on to the key principles which we relied on in 1918: treat our customers and employees right; always strive for perfection; and, when building a new customer’s dream backyard, always give them that little bit extra they were not expecting.”