SAN JOSE − While some people gradually ease into their professional careers, Marc Hannigan was able to dive right in, thanks in part to an avocational aptitude. “I’ve been scuba diving since I was 12 years old,” he explains. “While in college, I employed my scuba experience to get a job as an underwater swimming pool repairman, which was a great way to make extra money during the summer.” From there, Marc went to work for a company called Adams Pool Solutions, where he gained further experience in swimming pool service and repair. Three decades later, when company owner Tony Adams purchased Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc., Marc received not only a promotion but a chance to get involved in another aspect of the field: new pool construction. “We did a lot of remodeling at Adams, but building a pool from scratch was a whole new ballgame,” he says. “I still consider myself in the learning process.”
Today, as vice president of Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Marc says his favorite part of his job is its daily challenges. “I enjoy the fact that there’s an ongoing learning process, with new challenges every day. In addition to the job itself, the customer service aspect can pose its own challenges. One of the things I like most is talking with a customer who’s upset, educating them and bringing them over to our side so they become an advocate rather than an adversary.”
A resident of Walnut Creek (where he lives with his wife, Megan), Marc expresses his appreciation for the versatile Bay Area landscape. “We have access to so many different areas and activities here. There’s the ocean, which is a major source of recreation for me, as well as San Francisco and the Sierras. Basically, anything you could want to do, it’s not too far away.”
Outside of work, Marc spends much of his time immersed in aquatic activities. “As I said, I’ve been scuba diving my whole life, and I still enjoy it today,” he affirms. “I used to do a lot of spearfishing, but with the fish population in decline, I’ve switched to underwater photography, which has taken me all over the world, from Fiji to the Caribbean.” When he’s not taking snapshots of marine wildlife, Marc can often be found reading a book or playing guitar in his band, Mud Daddy. Additionally, he enjoys spending time with his and Megan’s two grown children.
In regard to his professional career, Marc espouses the value of investing in customer satisfaction. “Rather than spending a lot of money on advertising, we’d rather invest in doing right by our customers,” he explains. “When you go the extra mile for someone, you gain an advocate for life, and the positive word of mouth that generates is the most valuable form of advertising a business can have.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Marc says he’d spend more time in the water. “I have some property in Washington, so if I retired, I’d probably move up there and spend my days diving in Puget Sound. The diving up there is remarkable—plus, there’s a lot less traffic.”