FROM OIL WELLS TO SWIMMING POOLS
Randy Sellers had a big, dirty problem to solve.
A native Oklahoman and the owner of several oil leases in his home state, he’d been paying a steep price to the service companies that trucked waste water from his drilling operations to their disposal facilities.
After an extensive search, Sellers found someone who could help.
That someone was Gary Powell, a chemical engineer from Massachusetts with a history of solving water and waste water problems for a variety of industrial enterprises around the globe.
Waste water from oil drilling operations typically includes oil, salts, some chemicals that are injected and others that are found in the geology itself, along with a number of organic and inorganic particles. Even after enhanced filtration, the water retains a darkly opaque color and an intense oily odor.
At a cost of approximately $20 million, Powell developed a solution to the waste water problem that was based on a little-known phenomenon called “Hydrodynamic Cavitation.” The apparatus devised to harness this phenomenon was comprised of several massive Pool Tiger-like units plumbed in series.
Sellers recalled the first day he witnessed the apparatus in action.
“It was amazing. Black water would go in one end and what came out on the other end was as clear as bottled water.”
On the heels of this success, Powell moved on to new consulting assignments while Sellers continued to operate his business in the oil patch and enjoy the increased profits that came about as a result of his investment in water cleaning technology. In time he would sell his company and get involved in other ventures.
Not long after returning from Oklahoma, Powell began to consider other applications for his invention. One day while staring into his backyard swimming pool, a crazy thought came to him.
“It seemed to me that if Hydrodynamic Cavitation could clean the filthy water that came out of oil wells, it might do the same thing for water in swimming pools.”
So Powell adapted his invention, building his first unit out of PVC components he found at a plumbing supply store. Just as he had predicted, the thing actually worked. Before long, friends began to ask him to build water cleaning units for them. And so he did.
Ever the scientist, Powell monitored the effects on his own pool and those of his friends and soon realized that despite variations in pool design, pool construction, source water and other conditions, all of the units provided consistently positive results. Every pool required fewer chemicals and still featured crystal clear water.
Powell also noticed that something produced by these units seemed to be removing buildup and staining from pool surfaces. This, he determined, was structured water, a subject with which he had become familiar upon reading The Fourth Phase of Water by Dr. Gerald Pollack, a University of Washington professor. So not only was his device cleaning water, it was actually cleaning the pool itself!
This, he realized, had profound commercial possibilities. He also realized that of all the executives he had served in a consulting capacity, Randy Sellers was the one most capable of getting his invention to the marketplace. So he began a campaign to interest the former oilman in such a venture. Every so often he would call Sellers and attempt to persuade him to form a partnership. And every time he did, Sellers would thank him for the opportunity and then say no. This continued for seven or eight years.
Then one day Powell received a phone call from Sellers. “I’m at the airport,” Sellers said, “and I’m headed your way to see the pools with your cavitation device.” Sellers later revealed that he wanted to see the pools as is and to make sure no extraordinary measures could be taken to clean up the pools if, for whatever reason, they were dirty.
Three hours later, Powell picked up Sellers at the airport in his city and the two of them began an impromptu tour. Every pool they visited was as sparkling clean as Powell had contended. “The people I met that day all raved about their pools,” Sellers reported.
“One lady actually said, ‘If you’re here to take away my Pool Tiger, I’ll never swim again.’”
Soon a partnership was formed. The new company would be called Polar Vortex LLC after the first product it produced. This metal unit, which utilized the same Hydrodynamic Cavitation principles found in Pool Tiger, was marketed to ski resorts for snowmaking. It produced 75% more snow than conventional snowmaking machines using the same amount of water. During preparations to market Pool Tiger, the owners elected to keep the name and make Pool Tiger a company dba.
Pool Tiger was officially released to the public on March 31, 2017. Sellers conducts the day-to-day operations in his role as the company’s President & CEO and Powell oversees product development and heads up the company’s technical department.
Today Pool Tigers are sold all across the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company’s dealers include Bluehaven Pools, the largest pool building company in the U.S., as well as a variety of builders, service companies, pool stores and fiberglass manufacturers.