MISSOULA — On a scorcher like today, there’s no better place to cool off than the pool.
Making sure everyone can have fun in the water, regardless of age or physical ability, is Aqua Creek Products, a company based in Missoula.
“We make access products specifically for the aquatic industry,” said CEO Krystal Guilhemotonia.
“Mainly handicap access lifts for pools and spas, but we have reached out to other equipment, PVC wheelchairs, stainless steel wheelchairs, therapy equipment as well," Guilhemotonia continued.
Headquartered at the end of Inspiration Drive in Missoula -- Aqua Creek Products is an oasis of access and opportunity for folks who have trouble getting into the water.
If you’ve never had to worry about that before, this may seem like just another manufacturer, but for some, Aqua Creek is a dream come true.
“Everyone who would otherwise have to sit on the sidelines, they can now be a part of it,” said Guilhemotonia.
Considering the impact of their work, having a team putting care and precision into every product isn’t a question, it’s an expectation, according to Guilhemotonia.
“This may be the 100th time you've done this or the 1000th time, but to that individual, this is the first time they’re safely, securely getting into the water.”
That’s where employees like Ryan Painter come into the picture. He’s worked in the hot tub biz, he’s sold bottled water, but this aqua adventure is different.
“We donated five of these wheelchairs down in Mexico, and you see all the little kids in the pictures, and they’re kids who wouldn’t normally get to go in pools but they’re able to be carted around in the wheelchairs," Painter said reflecting on one of his favorite projects.
Placing the PVC pipe like it’s a puzzle, Painter works quickly crafting water-accessible wheelchairs, toddler decks, and walkers.
He’s only been at Aqua Creek for a year, but he says he has no plans of leaving. The work is just too important and everyone on his team is invested.
Holding a photo of some children in his specialty-made chairs, he said, “This makes it worth it when you see those little kids, smiles on their faces, things like that.”