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Tom Giuffrida, Owner

Tom Giuffrida has an extensive background in the custom pool and spa industry. He received a bachelors of Science degree in Rural and Urban planning from Slippery Rock University in 1979 and then joined his uncle servicing and building custom pools in New Jersey. By 1983, Tom launched Creative Pools in New Jersey specializing in large custom pools and spas. His projects featured natural stone decking, stone walls and custom stone waterfalls and water features.

“I truly enjoy working with people to understand their individual project dreams. Some of my clients say I have a “Gift”. I have the ability to transform their dreams into a multi-functioning, beautiful, energy efficient swimming pool project that integrates with the home, landscape and outdoor entertaining areas. The pool and spa industry has changed in the past few years. With my own company I can offer a level of service unmatched by larger companies with impersonal service policies. Today, service before work begins and after the project is completed is paramount.”

Tom perfected the formulations and installation techniques for exposed aggregate interior pool finishes while they were in their infancy. He built spectacular projects with his extensive knowledge of reinforced shotcrete construction techniques and energy efficient, performance based piping hydraulics. Tom traveled to Vancouver BC and Arizona to teach exposed aggregate surface installations to industry leaders. He joined the International Master Pools Guild in 1984 and was recognized as one of the brightest young leaders in the nation. He served on their executive Board of Directors from 1993 to 1995. In 1995 Tom was recruited by one of the largest members of the Master Pools Guild, Patio Pools, to take over a struggling division in Sierra Vista Arizona recently purchased back from a prior employee. Within 5 years Tom took the small company from 2 custom pool projects and 3 employees a year to over 30 handpicked and individually trained team members and 100 projects a year.

In 2010, Patio Pools shifted their leadership focus. Tom wanted to continue his high level of service to his team members and his customers and in 2013 he left Patio Pools and opened Creative Pools in Southern Arizona. Tom’s goal is to continue to focus on the personal growth of each of his employees so together they will design, build, remodel, service and repair each project exceeding industry standards for superior service and quality.


  • Bachelor of Science Rural and Urban Planning Slippery Rock University 1975 to 1979
  • Creative Gunite Pools Corp. Owner 1983 to 1995
  • Certified Pool Operator, Graduate 1990
  • Sta-Rite Training Institute, Graduate 1991
  • A seven time winner of the Aqua 100 Award, then an inductee of the Aqua 100 Hall of Fame.
  • A perennial recipient of the Pool & Spa News “Industry Choice” awards winner
  • Certified Building Professional, CBP, National Spa and Pool Institute 1992
  • Master Pools Guild, Board of Directors 1993 to 1995
  • General Manager, Patio Pools Sierra Vista 1995 to 2013
  • Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2003 to 2006
  • 30 International design awards through Master Pools Guild and The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals

Mark Ragel, Owner

Mark Ragel started in the Pool and Spa business literally carrying his father’s tool box. Eugene Ragel started building cast in place concrete swimming pools in Tucson in 1946 and pioneered Shotcrete pool construction in the mid 1950’s. He owned Ragel-Wilson Pools from 1958 to 1963 then worked for Paddock Pools until 1969 when Ed Ast hired him to operate Patio Pools in Tucson. Eugene bought the business with a partner, Jon Evans in 1970 and Patio grew to dominate the custom residential and commercial pool market.

“I enjoy working directly with my clients. At Creative Pools, Tom and I can focus 100% on each customer’s desires, needs and dreams. We truly offer personalized service. It doesn’t get better than that!”

In 1976 mark started full time for the company and rapidly expanded his knowledge and responsibility. He took the leadership position of the construction division in 1980 and then became the General Manager of all operations in 1988 and company President and CEO in 2004. Under Marks leadership and the collaboration of over 375 outstanding team members Mark grew the company from 5.5 to 36 million in annual revenue by 2006. Mark sold his interest in the company in 2010 and expanded his training and knowledge into rain water harvesting and sustainability. He continued building custom pools and spas on a referral basis for friends and business associates. When it was clear his long time friend and prior business associate Tom Giuffrida was interested in joining forces, Mark and Tom launched Creative Pools and Spas in Sierra Vista.

Today Mark seeks a more hands on focus with clients. “I enjoy working directly with my clients. At Creative Pools, Tom and I can focus 100% on each customer’s desires, needs and dreams. We truly offer personalized service. It doesn’t get better than that!” Mark Ragel

Mark Ragel CSP, CBP Milestones

Patio Pools & Spas, Tucson, Arizona April – 1988-April 2010

I lead a team of 10 division team leaders that built the company from 110 to 380 team members.
We grew the company from $5.5 million in annual sales to $36 million
Implemented a QMS system and organized pre-approval for ISO 9000/9001
Researched and implemented a Companywide ERP system with Primavera Scheduling 2001-2006
Maintained over 98.4% customer satisfaction in construction, service, remodeling, and spa divisions.
Maintained over 25% residential market share 1998-2008, 33% 2009-2010
Maintained over 90% commercial market share 1998-2010
Purchased back Sierra Vista operation and grew it from 2 pools annually in 1995 to 100 from 2004-2007

In the 22 years of my leadership the company grew to become:

  • Third largest member of the Elite Master Pools International Guild of Pool and Spa builders 1990-2010
  • Sixteenth largest pool builder in the world compiled by Hanley Wood/Pool and Spa News 2003-2010
  • Largest Coleman/Maax spa dealer nationwide 2006-2009
  • One of the original seven Aqua magazine Hall of Fame inductees 1997
  • Built every major resort pool facility in Pima County.
  • Built 586 pools in 2004 and delivered 601 portable spas in 2005
  • Averaged over 520 pools per year from 1996 to 2007
  • Average over 400 spa deliveries per year 1994 to 2009

Construction Manager
Patio Pools & Spas, Tucson, Arizona March 1981-April 1988

I lead a team of nine individual in house construction trade teams, 70 members strong, to perform all but two phases of shotcrete pool and spa construction.

Built the company’s first semi-commercial gutter pool at the Downtown YMCA 1994
Built the companies first gutter pool for City of Tucson, El Pueblo Pool, to launch the commercial division.
Successfully developed then grew the commercial pool construction division
Designed and build the company’s first vanishing edge pool 1983
Designed and build the first insulated shotcrete pool and subsequent spas 1982, 1988
Brought Plastering crew in house 1981, became second Pebble Tec applicator in Southern Arizona 1988
Managed the teams that performed every phase of pool construction “in house” and three subcontractors

Construction Superintendent
Patio Pools & Spas, Tucson, Arizona – August 1978-March 1981

Personally supervised hundreds of pools from the initial layout, through every phase of construction then throughout the warranty period. Managed the work of all “in house” crews. Was responsible to supervise over 300 pool projects in 1979, the year Patio Pools build 858 pools.

Salpointe High School, Tucson, AZ 1973-1976
Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ – Management 1977-1980
National Spa & Pool Institute – C.S.P., Certified Service Professional 1992
National Spa & Pool Institute – C.B.P., Certified Building Professional 1997
American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association – ARCSA Accredited Professional 2009
Watershed Management Group –WMG Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner 2010

Continuing Education:
Tom Hopkins; How to Master the Art of Selling Anything 1985, 1992
Dale Carnegie Management program, 1988, 1998
Dale Carnegie Sales training program, 1987
Don Hudson Professional sales training, 1998
Ray Leone Sales and Leadership Training Workshops, 1988, 1998, 2008
Steve Chandler Professional Leadership Training and Executive Coaching, 2003-2006
Paradigm Strategies Leadership Training, Executive Coaching, 1999, 2001-2007
Business by the Book Course, Crown Financial Ministries, 2007, 2010
John Maxwell, The 360 Degree Leader, 2008
John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 2009
The Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Pathways Global Understanding 16 week course, 2011
Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University, 13 week course, 2011, 2013
The Truth Project, 13 week course. 2012

Qualifying Party for the following contractors’ licenses:

ROC 267415 Arizona, Residential Swimming Pool and Solar –B-6
ROC 274269 Arizona, Residential and Commercial Rainwater Harvesting Systems K-5
ROC 285105 Arizona Commercial Swimming Pool and Solar-A-19

Licenses held with Patio Pools *
*ROC 032554, Arizona, Residential Swimming Pool and Solar –B-6
*ROC 072589, Arizona, Commercial Swimming Pool and Solar –A-19
*ROC 239033, Arizona, BBQ’s, Fireplaces, Gas Appliances –K-5
*ROC 0253221, Arizona, Shotcrete-AE

Professional Affiliations:
Director and Chairman (1992 and 1995) Master Pools Guild, Inc. – 1990-1997
Finance Committee and Chairman Finance Committee, Master Pools Guild Inc. – 1999-2000
President, Southern Arizona Chapter of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals – 1989-2014
Treasurer Southern Arizona Chapter of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals – 2014-Present
Member and past Director, Past President Executive Association of Tucson 1988-Present Chairman, Tucson/Pima County Spa/Pool Code Committee – 1984-2005
Director, Heartbeat for Africa – 2009-Present
Coach and President Tanque Verde Junior Soccer Club – 1988-1992