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Feature: Entrepreneur Ken Breau


S E E N   M A G A Z I N E  2 0 0 1


“Communication, Communication, Communication!  The most beneficial merger affecting business today will be a totally integrated communication information system.” 
-Ken Breau, President, Crystal Clear Pool and Spa

CLEANING UP THE WORLD BY CONVERGING TECHNOLOGY

Ken Breau is making the world a cleaner place to swim, one pool at a time.  Breau, a true entrepreneur and visionary, is President and Founder of Brantford, Ontario based Crystal Clear Pool and Spa.  On the back of his revolutionary Eclipse3 product line, Ken has driven his company to success in Canada, and is now looking to expand its reach even further, and he owes it all to Convergence.

That’s right, unhappy with the convergence of thousands of cars to the road during his daily commute to Toronto, Breau quit his job in Toronto, and began exploring his technical background that would ultimately lead him to the formation of Eclipse3.

In 1989, after he quit the position in Toronto, Breau began an electrical apprenticeship and pursued his technical education.  By 1993, he had completed his apprenticeship and was a certified Master Electrician in the Province of Ontario.

From there Breau began working with Witco Chemical as an Automation System Specialist.  After spending a couple of years at Witco, Breau’s entrepreneurial spirit surfaced however, and he left Witco to begin the first of his entrepreneurial ventures, creating a small Engineering Consulting company that he still operates successfully today.

In the mid 90’s Breau moved into a new house to accommodate his growing family.  One of the features that drew him to this particular house was the inviting 18’ x 36’ pool.  He quickly found, however, that maintaining the pool took more work and cost more money than he ever could have imagined.

“We spent almost $400 that year alone trying to keep the pool clean and balanced,” Breau says.  “I was very unhappy with the amount of time it was taking me to keep the pool chemicals balanced and free of algae.  I figured there had to be a better way.”  And there was.  Breau called upon his chemical experience with Witco in search of a solution, and after lots of testing and experimentation, Eclipse3 was born. 

Eclipse3 saved Breau so much time and money while cleaning his pool that he knew had discovered a product that could revolutionize the pool cleaning industry.  Once again Breau’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision could not be contained, and he began to market Eclipse3.  “First we had to develop the product, then have the lab work done, graphic work done, get approval from the EPA, get individual state registrations, start advertising, plan for trade shows around the US and Canada, set up a manufacturing facility, contract sales agents across the US and develop a distribution network,” Breau says.  “It’s really hard to believe what we’ve done.”

One of the largest obstacles Breau faced was obtaining EPA approval for Eclipse3 in California.  Known for being one of the hardest places in the world to have a product registered, having this registration gives Breau’s company much more credibility around the world.

Breau is not wallowing in his success however, and has a huge vision for his enterprise.  Breau envisions the development of a completely new product line for the swimming pool industry.  “We are looking for investors to set up a new corporation that would handle the Eclipse3 product line,” Breau says.  “We believe we have a product that can compete against the big boys in this market.  The question for me is whether or not I want to wait five years for this to happen, or am I willing to sacrifice some profit margin to grow faster and larger.  We have decided to grow faster and I hope to develop our company into a multinational enterprise within the next year.”

He is also very interested in international market expansion, “I am interested in hearing from any person or company that is interested in working together to bring our product to their market place.”  He is currently working on International joint ventures for Europe, Mexico, South Africa and South America.

It is hard to measure just how high Breau’s vision reaches, and when asked where he wants the marketplace for Eclipse3 to be, he smiles and says, “The World.”

Breau currently lives, and works, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada with his two daughters Avery (4), Taylor (9) and his wife Kimberlee, who also serves as his Director of Marketing.

He graduated from Loyalist College in 1986, with a Technical degree in Television Broadcasting.

Q & A

The new economy is bringing humans and machines closer together in a multitude of ways. What do you predict will be the most beneficial merger of man and machine in your field of enterprise?

Communication Communication Communication! The most beneficial merger affecting business will be a totally integrated communication information system. Anyone who has the drive and desire to launch a new business and be successful in their field must be able to completely immerse themselves in their business until they are able to bring on complementary personnel to assist them. In the electronic medium this can only be done by expressing your thoughts via e-mail, fax, voice mail or a Website. To project a vision of your future and steer the general population to your vision, all of these tools must be used effectively.

The space between work and family is converging as telecommuting and home-based business becomes more popular. What do you see as the pros and cons of this melding?

I would have to answer this question from the perspective of a workaholic. The pros of a home-based business are:

  • Accelerated business growth because of these tools

  • Operating in your own work environment

  • Determining your own work hours

  • No commuting required

  • Maximizing your time for efficiency

The cons of a home-based business are:

  • Loss of a social environment at the office

  • The computer seems to call for your every available moment (there is always something that needs to be done)

  • Decreased family time because the business becomes your life

As ecommerce merges money and machine, where do you see our money systems ending up?

First, I see the convergence of many different types of bank accounts into one account that will fulfill all your financial needs. I see our paper/plastic monitory system ending and being replaced by a retina or DNA scan for personal identity to complete financial transactions; be it buying a piece of gum or getting a loan for a home. Picture this.... You go to a store, pick-up what you need, and walk through a scanner that electronically scans your DNA, instantly identifying who you are and the funds subsequently being transferred from your bank to the store's bank.

How will the convergence of computers and health come together in the future?

What can you imagine? Whatever your wildest visions are...multiply them by 1000. The days of going under the knife are limited. Micro robots are also on the horizon. Internal medicine will be the only type required (excluding physical injury). A more efficient health care system will evolve as scanners are developed and connected to you home PC. The days of Star Trek "Tricorder" are not far away. "Live long and prosper."

What do you feel was the most important corporate convergence that made global news?

Any merger that brings forms of media, telecommunications and software together has the power to enter our lives. This type of merger is like creating a golden pipeline to any household that has a computer, television or radio. Look at it this way. All three players have valuable items to bring to the table. The telecommunications company has the conduit to the customer. The media company has the marketing experience to sell a product or service.  The software company has the programs to bring it all together, as well as provide the marketing company with the necessary feedback to enhance their strategies for becoming a more effective marketer.

What will be the most "dangerous" convergence of the new era?

I believe the most dangerous convergence will be medicine and military. As medicine develops in leaps and bounds, there will always be someone who will exploit achievements and use them to hold the rest of society hostage. I truly believe the military one of the worst offenders (are they the untouchables?).

How do you see your enterprise converging the old economy with the new economy?

I see our company using information collected from software to determine changes in customer needs and desires. I also see our company using research collected over the years to create new products that are welcomed by our customers. Time passes by an idle company.  We plan to capture time and market it to our customers by saving them time while maintaining their leisure products. I see our company offering consumers a healthy, cost-effective, time sensitive approach to caring for their pools, spa's and hot tubs.

How will society be affected by the continued collision of communications and time?

Competition will become fierce as companies struggle for their share of the consumer's time. New and innovative marketing approaches will be pushed to the forefront. Companies will need to bring together a marketing department comprised of producers, copywriters, programmers, communication experts, visionaries and psychologists. Companies may also have to take a long-term approach to selling their product. They may need to develop a new form of media to acquire the customer's time and attention span.

How will the convergence of the arts, scientific research and education affect the human race?

I do see a link between arts, scientific research and education. The link (convergence) I see, may have already taken place. I believe it is the artists who see the future and project a concept of the future onto society through their dreams sketched on paper, then cast into models. Artists do not see the boundaries or limitations of the human race; they dare to dream outside the box.

On the other hand, scientific researchers (engineering) are the people who continuously expand the parameters of that box as the artists demand more. It is the engineers who can develop the structural integrity of the box to support the innovative designs artists can conceptualize.

Education supports both of these communities as well. There are many different teachers, all possessing beneficial qualities for the system. There are teachers who instruct the hard facts of life, such as the laws of physics that cannot be changed only understood, which is very useful to the engineer. Then there are teachers who teach through self/societal examination, this is the type of thinking that drives a person to examine life outside any boundaries. Therefore, I believe the convergence has already taken place; now the key is trying to find a stable balance between all three.

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