Episode 238: Glass Rooftop Pool, Shark Tank, & First Ever Purple Pool with Rick Chafey of Red Rock Contractors

"We were originally trying to find a lane: Should we be a homebuilder? Should we be a pool builder? Should we be a landscaper? We figured out that our lane is—we just want to do really cool shit!"

About

Greg and Justin sit down with Rick Chafey, co-owner of Red Rock Contractors. Founded in 1998, Red Rock has quickly grown into one of the nation’s leading custom building, pool, water feature, and landscape design-build contractors.


At the tail-end of his high school years and throughout his college years, Rick worked as an Electrical Superintendent for a commercial/industrial electrical contractor. He worked his way up to a Home Building Superintendent for one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, and upon graduating college was hired as the Director of Construction for a local manufacturing company.


During this time, Rick completed multiple projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado ranging from 150,000 sf. manufacturing plants, retail centers, residential subdivision developments, and commercial remodels and tenant improvements.


Listen in as Rick talks about the eclectic range of projects Red Rock has been working on since his last appearance on the podcast.

Asked how the company was able to build such a diverse portfolio over 20 years, Rick explains that he and the leadership team at Red Rock initially tried to find their “lane”. However, they eventually settled on building almost anything under the sun for the right client. This includes things from gun tunnels to go-kart tracks to swimming pools to shark tanks, “as long as it’s something cool and dynamic and different!”


Rick goes on to talk about some of his most memorable and challenging projects: lazy rivers, water walls, flow riders, and even shark tanks. Ultimately, though, his favorite pool designs are those that the homeowner can enjoy every single day, and more often than not such designs come down to emphasizing on the visual aesthetic and simplicity of water.

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Topics Discussed

  • [01:10] About Rick and Red Rock Contractors
  • [02:34] Episode drinks
  • [06:10] Rick's background
  • [14:36] Why Rick started a plumbing company
  • [17:22] Why Rick favors design above all else when building pools
  • [35:45] The cost between right and wrong plumbing
  • [39:40] Soils test and sinkholes
  • [42:05] Invest in education for protection
  • [45:02] Owners rep, client, and empathy
  • [52:01] Favorite build #1 Rooftop Pool
  • [56:25] Favorite build #2 The Color Purple Pool
  • [01:07:07] Shark Tank, go-cart track, Flowrider, lazy river pool
  • [01:22:35] Ricks favorite pool features
  • [1:25:28] Blue Mind talk
  • [1:29:02] Integrating inspiration into projects
  • [1:35:07] Education from manufacturers
  • [1:40:18] Rick wants to build a blackhole
  • [1:54:12] Rick's favorite destination pool
  • [02:06:47] Rick’s favorite education courses

Connect with Rick Chafey:

Drinks

Key Quotes by Rick:

  • We were originally trying to find a lane: Should we be a homebuilder? Should we be a pool builder? Should we be a landscaper? We figured out that our lane is—we just want to do really cool shit.
  • We’ve learned to not tell people what to do. We’ve learned to educate them on why it needs to be done.
  • I don’t mind working with an owner’s rep at all. But I want to make sure I have a relationship with the client.
  • You’ve got to create that culture and that opportunity for people to speak up and let you know there’s a problem or give you their input, because that makes you better and protects you from your problems.
  • For me, it’s about the visual cues and the simplicity. I want you to use your pool every day. That doesn’t mean you swim every day. But you should be able to enjoy it every single day.

Resources & People Mentioned: