Pool of knowledge: Janine Bellifemine, Sunrise Pools
Born into the Sunrise Pools family, it’s safe to say that pools are in Janine Bellifemine’s blood. Now a director of the company, she’s been officially working in the industry for more than 20 years and loves what she does. We spoke to Janine to find out what makes her tick.
One of a very few female pool builders in the country, Bellifemine said her gender has never been an issue, despite the majority of her peers being male. “It is a very male-dominated world that I live in. But that’s fine. I love the industry. I’m happy to get out there with the boys — that doesn’t worry me,” she said.
“I’ve got the knowledge and the experience, and I don’t think gender has anything to do with building pools. And sometimes it’s actually beneficial when dealing with a customer. I find I can connect with a lot of people.”
In her 20-plus years in the industry, Bellifemine has seen plenty of changes, particularly an increase in red tape. But she’s optimistic that the industry is in a good position to lobby the government with regards to regulation.
“I think the lobbying SPASA’s able to do now that it’s a national body will assist, because when you’re talking government regulations, they don’t want to speak to the individual or state body — they want to speak to a national body,” Bellifemine said.
“If our industry bodies listen to builders and our daily challenges, we can absolutely get on the front foot by being a major influence in decisions being made with regards to industry regulations. This will free us up to do more pool building with less red tape.”
Pools have changed dramatically during Bellifemine’s time in the industry — and since Sunrise was founded in 1974. She said the company has changed with the times and works hard to deliver what its clients want. This willingness to change — along with decades of experience — has been key to Sunrise’s continued success, Bellifemine believes.
“We’re always learning. It’s all about adjusting along the way — not making the perfect call. We’re always learning from our customers how we can do better, whether it’s building pools or customer service or whatever. There’s always room for improvement. And because things change so rapidly, you’ve got to keep up with those changes and meet customer demands.”
The amount of repeat business Sunrise attracts is testament to the company’s approach. Pool renovations form a major part of Sunrise’s business, and Bellifemine often finds herself renovating pools built by herself or her father.
“Today I started a renovation on a 27-year-old Sunrise pool. I renovate a few of my own older pools every year, and it’s so nice to go back to something you originally built. I get a real kick out of that,” she said.
While Bellifemine has worked hard to achieve success in her field, she said her father, Peter Moore, has been instrumental in that success. He’s also been generous in sharing his expertise with the industry.
“My father has been an amazing mentor not only to me but to the wider industry. The endless hours of his time that he’s donated to the industry have benefited us all,” she said.
“We often get other builders call us with questions because of his extensive knowledge. His experience and knowledge are what have been key to my success and the success of the business. I exist and Sunrise exists because of what he’s been able to pass on to us.
“Something I’m passionate about in the industry is promoting awareness for the younger generation to get into the industry. We really need to get out there and make people aware that it is an amazing industry. It is an ageing industry, and there’s not a whole lot of people training through, so I think education is crucial to the longevity of the industry,” she said.
“When I was young I didn’t wake up and think, ‘I’m going to be a pool builder’. Who does? But people do wake up and say, ‘I’m going to be a house builder’ or ‘I’m going to be a landscaper’. Let’s get the pool industry in the forefront of people’s minds, and push education and awareness. I think that would be great for the industry.”
Bellifemine gets immense satisfaction from her job, and said the industry should be promoting this to younger generations — not just that it’s a viable career, but that it’s an enjoyable one.
“I love my job. Whether it’s Monday or Sunday, if I want to come to work, I’m at work. I’m here because I enjoy it. And there is nothing better than handing over that pool to a happy customer. We’re very fortunate — we don’t need permission to chase our dreams,” she said.
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