Kevin Dougherty

Consultant, Speaker, Author

For the last 31 Years Kevin L. Dougherty has been speaking to the construction industry. Kevin represents a changing industry - aggressive, realistic, and open-minded. Kevin's work and education experience enables him to relate to today's problems and provides tangible solutions in an easy-to-listen style. He has taught thousands of people in various seminars. His client base ranges from family-owned businesses to corporate conglomerates.

In addition to speaking and writing articles, Kevin has served as sales manager, project manager, operations manager, and corporate trainer for a multimillion-dollar specialty services contractor. Kevin has also been a frequent speaker for various SMACNA, Rain-Bird, Grow, MCAA, MSCA, NECA, SMWIA, U.A. PHCC, ISA SBA, and other trade associations.

Kevin's humorous and energetic speaking style has made him a convention favorite. He has spoken to such groups as Benjamin Moore & Co., 3M, Johnson Controls, W.R. Grace, Ferguson Enterprises, Morton International, Manville/Schuler, and Hagemeyer Electrical Australia, just to name a few.

Kevin's ability to entertain audiences and hold their interest while getting his message across consistently makes him one of the industries top speaking and training talents.

Kelly Billing

Water Becomes a Garden

With 30 years of experience coupled with a love of gardening from childhood, growing things has become a focus of both her personal and professional life.

As an independent consultant and aquatic industry expert managing a wholesale nursery (Maryland Aquatic Nurseries, Inc. MAN) she has developed an extensive knowledge of aquatic plants. She understands the critical nature of the right plant for the right situation in the aquatic environment. Dave Duensing and Anthony Archer-Wills, Eric Triplett, Tim Krzmenski and Cash French are among her clients.

Having spent years doing cooperative research with the University of Maryland, USDA, other universities and organizations as well as on her own; she has a focus on nutrient uptake and water quality improvement through beautification. She compiled and maintains the Aquatic Plant Regulated & Invasive Species List for the nursery trade in the United States. Kelly is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist.

She has written dozens of articles for various trade and consumer publications including the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS) Journal, Pond Trade, PondKeeper, Lily & Fin, Watergardening and Ponds USA magazines. She cooperated with Ben Helm on a water gardening book that was published in the US (Water Gardeners Bible) and the UK (Water Gardens) as well as co-authored with Paula Biles, The Lotus, Know It and Grow It for the IWGS published in the US and Korea. More recently she has also been following a passion and making art with lotus leaves.

Kelly enthusiastically shares her knowledge and experience with garden centers, garden clubs and industry organizations nationwide.

Frayne McAtee

OASE Living Water

Frayne McAtee has over 20 years of experience in the water feature and fountain industry. Frayne recently joined GeoGlobal Partners, where his responsibilities include key account sales for all of our brands as well as increasing the distribution of the OASE brand of products nationally.

Born and raised in Washington State, he currently lives in the Seattle area.

Andy Schoenberger

Franklin Electric

Andy began his passion for decorative water during college. “I recall there was a half-day session on water features and thought ‘there must be more to this”. He enjoys experiencing all parts of the industry from maintenance and sales to animal health and new product creation. Andy’s current mission is to further the education and knowledge of water features and ponds. Andy currently resides at Franklin Electric running the Outdoor Living product and marketing group. He has written articles for numerous industry publications and always enjoys getting dirty out in the field on a build. The rest of the time Andy is a husband and father which he says is the best experience above all.

Dr. Tom R. Gerard

Active Business Partners, LLC

Dr. Tom R. Gerard holds both a Masters and a Doctorate degree in Business Administration and Management. Before obtaining his advanced degrees, he owned and operated several small businesses in Southern California for 15 years. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Tulsa County Oklahoma and teaches night classes at Southern Nazarene University in Financial and Managerial Accounting, as well as, Business Statistics and Data Analysis. Dr. Gerard lives in Claremore Oklahoma with his wife of 34 years and has four grown children and four grandchildren.

Jeff Spillars

Airmax Ecosystems

Jeff Spillars has been in the water garden industry for over 18 years and is widely recognized in the lawn and garden industry as a category expert. Jeff is regularly called upon to deliver industry key note speeches and educational seminars. He is the creator and driving force behind the CrystalClear pond treatment products that he developed from a one product offering to a multi-million dollar product line sold across the United States and in eight foreign countries. Jeff will share with you his no-nonsense marketing knowledge and show you how to build your business with easy and common sense steps to take the next big step with your business.

Demi Fortuna

Atlantic Water Gardens

Since his first pond on Long Island in '86, Demi Fortuna has been solidly mired in the Water Gardening world. As Director of Product Information for industry leader Atlantic Water Gardens, Demi promotes equipment, information and techniques that maximize safety, efficiency and profits while minimizing maintenance, callbacks and costs. When he's not lecturing all over the US, Canada and Mexico, Demi still enjoys building water features under the strict supervision of his two sons, Edwin and Ely, and the boss, his wife Susan.

Jim Chubb

OASE Living Water

With over 28 years of sales experience, Jim Chubb is proud of the 17+ years in the green industry creating water features. Recently joining the OASE North America team as Sales Manager for the Rockies and Mid-South Regions, Jim brings his love of water to the team, along with his past experiences with sales training as a manufacturer and a distributor. As a noted speaker at several association shows, Jim is able to share his passion all while educating and informing. Jim was born in raised in Michigan, but has been a resident of Denver for the past 3 years. He, his wife, and Border Collie (named Dodge) love nothing more than to watch the Denver Broncos play while sitting next to his pond.

Paul Amos

Amos Sales Associates

Paul Amos is the managing member of Amos Sales Associates, Ltd, a manufacturer's rep firm, and lives in Kingwood, TX. Formed in January of 2004 Amos Sales Associates, Ltd. began as the Firestone Specialty Products representative assisting in the sales and installation of PondGard and EPDM Geoemembrane liner. Knowing little of the water garden industry, I installed my first backyard pond in April of 2004. Various industry experts have helped form my education and knowledge of water gardens water features, ponds and lakes. The knowledge gained from these leaders as well as managing a pond maintenance company for 3 years have provided a knowledge base to share with others interested in pursuing successful ventures in landscape water features.

Laura Reale


Laura is a seasoned marketing professional as well as co-owner of a successful water features company. After leaving the marketing world for water features, Laura was able to combine her interests to develop successful marketing plans for their company. She turned those efforts into a company called Pondtent.

Pondtent ( provides automated marketing communication solutions to those who want to gain the benefits from personalized marketing but don’t have time or staffing to do it on their own. Pondtent offers weekly pond tips, monthly newsletters, Facebook posting and other marketing initiatives at reasonable prices.

Colleen Heitzler

President, Aquascape

In August of 2001, Aquascape, Inc. hit the jackpot, acquiring Colleen Heitzler to be the new Controller. It wasn’t long before Colleen’s knowledge and wealth of experience put her in the Corporate Finance Officer position, and most recently Chief Operating Officer. Her life is numbers, from accounting to finance, and she strives to help others understand the financial aspects of their businesses. An important characteristic of managing the day-to-day operations, Colleen values the relationships and camaraderie that exists between employees, customers, and suppliers at Aquascape, and believes that the company achieves a great balance of winning attitudes and confidence, along with humility and compassion. Colleen also enjoys relaxing at home next to her Pondless® Waterfall with a 25-foot stream, which was constructed during a 2004 Build-A-Pondless Waterfall Day training events.

Brian Helfrich

Vice President of Construction at Aquascape, Inc.

Brian Helfrich has been with Aquascape, Inc. since 1995, starting out in the warehouse and working his way up to his current position as VP of Aquascape Construction. He’s given hundreds of pond construction seminars across the country and is considered to be one of the premier waterfall builders in the nation. Brian shared his pond expertise as a contributing author for The Pond Builder’s Bible, published by Aquascape, Inc.

Brian’s creative pond designs have been featured in numerous publications, including Better Homes and Gardens special interest publications, and Nature’s Garden. In addition, Brian has generously extended his pond artistry to several impressive, public water feature designs including Epcot® International Flower and Garden Show, Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo, John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and more.

Since 2006, Brian has designed and led the project team for Aquascape’s signature water gardens at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, much to the delight of show attendees. In 2009, Brian and the Aquascape Designs construction crew received the Silver Award for Excellence in Landscape from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.

Rick Weidman

V.P. of Business Development, Airmax Inc.

A manufacturer of Pond and Lake aeration and Natural treatments. After 20 years in retail, he began a second career in the business of Ponds & Lakes in 1993, and has given several talks over the years on aeration and other ways to improve water quality, customer satisfaction, sales and profits.


Kasco Marine

Joe Holz obtained BS degrees in Environmental Science and Geography from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. During college he worked at Rushing Waters Fisheries, which is the largest trout producer in WI and the Midwest. After graduating, Joe started with Kasco in an inside sales and customer service capacity. Joe is now based offsite in Northern MN and handles outside sales as well as International Sales.

BJ Linger

President, PONDS

BJ Linger, has been building & servicing ponds and water features of all shapes and sizes since 1999, and has built projects in over a dozen states, as well as two projects in Ireland, and one in Cabo San Lucus Mexico. He has taught dozens of contractors advanced techniques on how to build ponds, and regularly participates in continuing education to his craft. In 2011 he was the 1st recipient of Aquascape Inc’s “Water Feature Artist of The Year”. His company is widely regarded as one of North America’s top water feature designers, and master pond builders. Through his pond business BJ developed his skills in website development and Search Engine Optimization to get his business listed on page one of local search engine queries. In 2015 Bj & Vice President Jeff Duggins utilized their website & SEO skills to create P-O-N-D.Services to help other pond contractors and retailers get page one search engine results for their local service areas.

Jeff Duggins

PVice-President, PONDS

Jeff Duggins completed a Bachelors of Science (Computer Science) Degree from The University of Kentucky in 1997. He worked in the corporate environment as a Software Developer and IT Manager until 2010. He built his first pond in 2004. In 2005 he and his wife Rachel started a pond installation & maintenance business (H2O Designs Inc) located in Central Kentucky. Through his pond business Jeff utilized his technical background & developed his skills in website development and Search Engine Optimization to get his business listed on page one of local search engine queries. In 2015 Jeff Duggins joined with President Bj Linger to utilized their website & SEO skills to create P-O-N-D.Services to help other pond contractors and retailers get page one search engine results for their local service areas.

Sean Bell

Atlantic Water Gardens

Sean is the Eastern Regional Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens. He has spent the last 25 years in the Pet and water feature industries. Fish Geek and water feature professional, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium and pond stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.

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