Thank you to our esteemed panel of 2019 Pinnacle Awards judges. See this year’s winners here.

Chuck Baumann, Owner, Creative Environments

Chuck Baumann, owner of Creative Environments, has been in the swimming pool industry for 63 years, getting his start in 1955 in his Dad’s pool company, King Neptune Pools in Lafayette, California. Chuck started his first pool company on his own in 1966 servicing swimming pools in the local area. In 1970 he became partners with his uncle, George Marcotte in the pool company Coral Pools, which is still in business today. In 1979 Chuck started Creative Environments, which was founded on the principle that the swimming pool was only one part of the backyard entertainment experience. Today, Chuck has built over 1,400 backyard yard water recreations features. He has been selected as one of the top 50 pool builders 5 separate times during the 1990’s. Chuck also has been  a member of the Carecraft Buying Group since 1989 and has sat on their board for the past 20 years. Chuck is joined in business by his son Nicco Baumann, reprenting the third generation of his family to design and build swimming pools in the San Francisco Bay Area. creativeenvironments.com

Feras Irikat, Director of Design & Marketing, Lunada Bay Tile

Feras Irikat is a designer with a modern vision, a global perspective, and the confidence to take an unexpected path. Both a trailblazer and a tastemaker, Irikat’s style is informed by art, architecture and travel, and he interprets these cues for today’s lifestyle through the innovative use of color, texture and technology. As a celebrated educator of color theory, applications and color psychology, Feras Irikat taught at San Francisco State University, UC Santa Cruz Extension and West Valley College. He shares his extensive knowledge about design, color theory and trends forecasting with architects and designers at seminars and showrooms around the world. Regarded as an innovator in the design industry for his unusual approach to color, he has partnered with a variety of companies for more than 18 years to produce furniture, textiles and tile. Today, he is director of design and marketing for Lunada Bay Tile, a leader in the design and production of handcrafted glass, stone, metal, wood and ceramic tiles. lunadabaytile.com

Chris Cipriano, President, Cipriano Landscape Design

Horticulture, masonry and water features are Chris’s lifelong passions. His 30 years of experience in all aspects of the green industry have led him to create a landscape and swimming pool design / build firm that handles every aspect of a custom swimming pool and landscape project from the ground up. Chris’s expertise ranges from preliminary site evaluation and analysis to initiating the overall development of the site, which is then integrated into a master plan of the property with his NJ landscape architecture staff. Chris is the infield designer responsible for most of the finishes selected for a project; he is also responsible for selection of stone and plants within waterfall and swimming pool areas. Under Chris’ guidance, Cipriano Landscape Design continues to meet homeowner needs with style, functionality, and attention to detail that is second to none. Chris takes a hands-on approach to leadership. If you ever have any questions regarding your project, you will typically find him in your back yard every morning for his daily jobsite meeting. njcustomswimmingpools.com

Ali Felschow, Principal, Ali Enterprises Inc.

Alison (Ali) Felschow has been involved in the swimming pool industry for 30 years both in commercial and residential applications. She is the principal with Ali Enterprises Inc. designing backyard environments for clients with distinctive tastes. Ali enjoys art and design genres of all types; she enjoys taking those ideas and inventing new spaces or transforming preexisting environments with a meticulous attention to the clients needs. Solving problems by imagination and taking steps in new design directions melding engineering, function and design into a creative space. Ali gets her inspirations from her love of the outdoors. Ali got her formal training and education at the Art institute of Atlanta, where she graduated at the top of her class. She is a graduate of the Genesis 3 University with an SWD classification.

Previous Judges

Dan K. Gordon, Founder & Principal, Dan Gordon Landscape Architects

Dan K. Gordon is the founder & principal of Dan Gordon Landscape Architects (DGLA). Prior to establishing DGLA in 1996, Dan’s professional career began with a west coast-based international land-planning firm where he worked primarily as the project manager for a 5,000-acre planned new town. After three years on the west coast, Dan returned to Boston to assume responsibilities as the Lead Designer for the Central Artery Tunnel Project – Central Area. Dan’s role included developing the preliminary design for eight miles of streetscapes in downtown Boston, a design for which he received a 1995 Design Achievement Award from Move Massachusetts 2000. Currently professionally licensed in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, New Hampshire, California, and Rhode Island, Dan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. He received his Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1986. Since founding his firm, Dan has guided his office and colleagues to sustained recognition, including numerous awards by the Boston Society of Landscape Architects as well as a Bulfinch Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. In 2017, the office was recognized with a Best of Boston Home award for best Landscape Architect – West. Dan currently serves on the board of the New England Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. dangordon.com