Making a Splash: Shelly NeJame and Britney NeJame-O’Brien
Controller and Office Manager | NeJame Pool Specialists, Inc.
Photo by Michael Polito
As the force behind the oldest family-owned swimming pool business based in the Hudson Valley, the mother-daughter team of Shelly NeJame and Britney NeJame-O’Brien changed the way the company does business.
NeJame senior, married to Chris NeJame (son of Ed, who founded the company in the ’50s), arrived 36 years ago fresh from Dutchess Community College with a degree in business management. Over time, she has worn many hats: accounting, retail sales, water testing, construction management, HR, and her most recent, controller. Daughter Britney grew up in the business and serves as office manager, “a 24/7 job” that has her juggling client emails, updating the company webpage and social media, advertising, and whatever else comes along (she’s got a BS in biomedical science in her back pocket from Marist, which has occasionally come in handy in pool science situations!).
“The business has grown significantly and that is largely due to women in the workforce, which brings more expendable income into the average household,” says Shelly NeJame. “As a result, we have directed our marketing and managing of clients to accommodate that semi-new demographic.”
Especially during the winter, the duo takes time out to attend industry conferences, pool shows, and courses to stay abreast of the industry changes and new technology, such as pools controlled by smartphones and the growing popularity of diving rocks, which have supplanted diving boards. “Improving our skill set is an important part of growing any business and keeping on top of our game,” notes NeJame.