Aussie franchise Poolwerx dives into the fast lane with first innovation and tech officers


Poolwerx founder and chief John O'Brien. Source: Supplied.

Aussie pool franchise Poolwerx has appointed its first ever chief innovation officer and chief technology officer, in a commitment to innovation and continued entrepreneurialism.

Founded in 1992, Poolwerx is a global pool sales and servicing franchise. It now has about 160 stores across Australia, New Zealand and the US, as well as about 600 serviced vehicles.

Shannon O’Brien joins the business as chief innovation officer, based in New York. He will be responsible for managing and growing the “innovation pipeline” across existing and new products, and across all services and processes. The idea is to fast-track adoption of new systems and technologies within the business.

Russell Inserra, who is based in Melbourne, also joins the franchisor as chief technology officer, in charge of improving the tech infrastructure and improving products in anticipation of client needs.

The two appointments represent a recognition that the pool franchise must innovate and embrace technology in order to remain competitive. In a statement, chief executive John O’Brien said this was “a key part of our ongoing growth”.

The appointments follow a period of success for the business. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Poolwerx has seen a 15% sales increase, year-on-year.

O’Brien pointed to two of the business’ key values: “dare to succeed” and “find a better way”. He said that the team moved all operations online “effectively overnight” during the pandemic period. That included recruitment and training of franchisees.

Poolwerx is “driving technology adoption within the industry”, he added.

He also sees focusing on technology as a motivating factor to encourage existing businesses to jump on board as Poolwerx franchisees.

“Technology is a key innovation enabler,” he said.


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