Manufacturing News

Women leaders in composites – Lynley Papineau of Aquatic Leisure Technologies

Manufacturing News

Today our special editorial series celebrating International Women’s Week profiling women leaders in composites, turns to Aquatic Leisure Technologies (ALT), Australia’s largest swimming pool manufacturer. At the helm of this extraordinary company is Lynley Papineau. By Kerryn Caulfield.

The backyard pool is the ultimate Aussie playground – a private oasis for fitness and relaxation, and a focal point for family leisure time.

Many are made by Perth-based Aquatic Leisure Technologies (ALT) which has made and installed over 61,000 pools, 60 per cent of which are exported to the eastern states or overseas, since its founding in 1976.

Producing under the brands Aqua Technics, Buccaneer Swimming Pools, Sapphire Pools, Palm City Pools, Quantum Composite Pools, Round Pools Australia and Riverina Pools, ALT is owned by Lew Beale and led by Lynley Papineau.

While Papineau describes herself as ‘focussed and results orientated’, others call her a powerhouse.

Like most children who grow up in small business families, Lynley spent many school holidays helping out in the office and factory of her family business.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing and Public Relations), she started out in purchasing and stock control and moved successively into other areas of the business, from marketing and quality control, auditing manufacture, through to installation, sales and administration.

Papineau said: “These roles helped build a solid foundation to understand how the business operated, and more importantly I got to know the people who I worked alongside. Walking through the factory is still one of the highlights of my day.”

As a family company, ALT counts family values as the core of its identity and value system.

“The ALT workforce is one of the company’s greatest accomplishments. We care about them and their families, many of whom have been with us for up to 33 years.

“Values have to be practiced, otherwise you lose them. We worked out that our management team has a total of 192 years of business experience and almost 50 per cent of our senior management team are women.”

The WA economy is linked to the fortunes of commodity prices and mining exports, which has seen ALT face the gamut of economic conditions.

“I’m proud of navigating the company through the commodity price boom and the subsequent soft market forcing us to consolidate and temper expansion strategies.

“While we can’t control the economy, we can choose how we react and manage our way through, while at the same time looking for ways to do things better.”

Papineau advises that shocks to the economy can also be transformative, including developing interstate and offshore markets to future-proof the company. ALT now has a presence in the UK, Europe, North America, New Zealand and Reunion Island.

“The last two years have reinforced our commitment to evolving ALT through continuous improvement and pioneering advancement in materials.

“Bringing graphene technology to market after years of extensive R&D with First Graphene, the WA based supplier and developer of high performing graphene products, is one of our step change achievements.

“Graphene Nano-Tech is now incorporated into the structure of our pools, creating a totally new patent-pending construction process that is 30 per cent lighter and 30 per cent stronger than traditional fibreglass pool technology.”

Papineau achievements go further than managing a large vertical manufacturing and distribution company.

She won the 2001 National Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award – Private Sector and was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Commonwealth of Australia in 2000, acknowledging her contribution to business.

At a personal level, Lynley is equally proud of her husband of 27 years and two children, and her ability to juggle a busy family life with an even busier professional one.

“Working in your own family business allows you flexibility which was important for me to still be an active part of the kids school life.

“My husband is my biggest supporter and between the two of us we made it work.”

Australia now has the highest rate of pools per capita in the world with an estimated 30,000 new in-ground pools to be built this year across – 65 to 70 per cent to be made of fibreglass.

Competition drove innovation in pool shapes and finishes. Maintaining and growing market share necessitated investment in pool shell technology and material inputs for unique pool finishes and advanced colours.

Australian fibreglass pools and spas are now the most technologically advanced in the world with competitors driving each other for new product improvements.

In addition to large purpose-built factories, Australian pool manufacturers have built a sophisticated network of well trained builders and dealer networks.

Developed to fortify the domestic market, this comprehensive system is now termed ‘the Australian model’.

A model that is both exportable and attractive to offshore interests, particularly to North America where the market for Australian designed and made pools has been growing steadily.

Pictures: Composites Australia/Aquatic Leisure Technologies factory

To celebrate International Women’s Week @AuManufacturing and industry body Composites Australia are presenting a special series of profiles of women leaders in composites. The series is written by Kerryn Caulfield, Executive Director, Composites Australia.

Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.

Share this Story
Manufacturing News

Stay Informed

Go to Top