The key, Bill envisioned, was to create a new type of pool cover that would allow water to drain through, rather than collect. The first mesh safety swimming pool covers were marketed in Connecticut in the fall of that year, and an industry was born.

In 1978, Bill founded LOOP-LOC with five employees. Today, LOOP-LOC boasts a 200,000-square-foot headquarters in Hauppauge, New York, and 300 employees. Through its network of dealers, the company sells safety swimming pool covers on every continent on earth except Antarctica.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Bill continued to make safety improvements to LOOP-LOC covers. Most significant was LOOP-LOC’s GAPGUARD® and SAFEDGE®, now known as CABLE-LOC™ Child Safety Intrusion Barriers, a plastic extrusion designed to close the gaps created where the edge of the cover meets a raised obstruction. For this breakthrough, he received U.S. Patent #4,982,457.

Bill also led the efforts to create industry-accepted performance standards for the product line. In the early 1980s, he served on the National Spa and Pool Institute committee, now known as the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), which, in conjunction with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), provided the Standard Performance Specification.

LOOP-LOC also took the lead in bringing the safety issue to the forefront for consumers. For years, the industry considered safety a negative to be avoided. But by bringing safety to the front and center of LOOP-LOC advertising, the company showed that it could be a positive. The result was one of the most recognized advertising campaigns in the history of the pool and spa industry: “Bubbles the Elephant.”

In 2001, Bill’s daughter LeeAnn Donaton took over as LOOP-LOC’s President. This was particularly fitting because she was literally the inspiration for the company: When Bill noticed that she could climb the four-foot chain link fence surrounding the family pool when she was just 20 months old, he dedicated himself to creating a pool cover that could not be breached by a child.

When Bill Donaton passed away in 2002, the industry lost a great leader and pioneer. But LOOP-LOC’s focus on its mission is as strong as ever. In fact, the banner reading, “The quality of the cover you make today can save a life tomorrow.” that Bill hung in the beginning still hangs in the LOOP-LOC plant to this day.