John O'Brien, Poolwerx CEO

John O’Brien, is the founder and CEO of Poolwerx Corporation, the world’s leading swimming pool and service company and Australia’s largest franchised pool retail group.

As an industry leader, John has advised the Australian Government on a variety of issues facing franchising and has also chaired the Australian, Asia Pacific and World Franchise Councils, all while building a brand that has twice been named Australia’s Franchisor of the Year (Service and Outright).

John co-founded the new industry body SPRAA (Swimming Pool Retail Association Australia), which has an impressive charter to implement the first nationally recognised Swimming Pool and Spa Technician qualification.

Add to this a finals berth in the Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ awards, the title of ‘Owner Manager of the Year’ from the Australian Institute of Management and most recently the ‘Rising Star award’ from the Queensland Q400 awards, and you can start to see why Poolwerx and John O’Brien are forces to be reckoned with.

Poolwerx continues to go from strength to strength as one of the most recognised and successful brands in franchising and the pool industry. Its unique approach to franchising gives every franchise owner a career path from which to build a multi-van, multi-store and multi-million dollar enterprise. This strategy that has seen sales growth maintained for the past 10 years.

Not only did Business Review Weekly (BRW) rank Poolwerx one of Australia’s fastest growing franchises for the 9th consecutive year - one of only 3 brands to do so -  but The Australian Financial Review also judged Poolwerx as a top return on investment franchise for the third time since 2006.

Today, the Poolwerx group provides poolside services to an estimated 300,000 domestic pools, has a nationwide chain of retail stores and is the strongest player in the commercial pool maintenance sector in Australia.


  • FCA Hall of Fame Inductee 2012
  • Ernst & Young - Excellence in Management
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year - 2010 Finalist
  • Australian Institute of Management - 2010 Owner - Manager of the Year
  • Past Chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia
  • Franchisor of the Year (service 2002 and outright 2004) - FCA
  • Regional Franchisee of the Year - FCA
  • Master Franchise of the Tear 1994 (inaugural) -  FCA
  • Qld Franchisee of the Year 1993 - FCA

Community & Industry initiatives

John is committed to lending his voice to worthy causes and community initiatives. Poolwerx is proud to be the community sponsor of the Kids Alive initiative. Drowning is the greatest cause of accidental death in children under five in Australia.  Each week, on average, one child drowns. John and Poolwerx are devoted to driving water safety education through our stores, service vans and as part of our community outreach.

John is on the board of SPRAA (Swimming Pool Retail Association Australia). An association he co-founded to bring organisation to the Australian pool and spa industry with the clear objective  of achieving nationally recognised industry trade qualifications and licensing.

Franchising & Business mentor

John O'Brien's experience in business and franchising is highly regarded. As a business mentor, he regularly imparts his expertise through coaching and advice to start-up franchising systems and guidance to developing franchise groups.  He is often sought as speaker or panellist at national and international franchising events. John is also a respected advisor to the government and invited to attend ministerial panels.

John has been highly involved in the Australian franchise industry for over 20 years. He has held several positions within the FCA (Franchise Council of Australia) and WFC (World Franchise Council). John is a regular contributor at high profile franchise events such as the NFC (National Franchise Convention) and provides his advice as a world class franchisor. Whether that is in person, on a panel or via webinars or media interviews, John O’Brien is  highly regarded for his contribution to franchising.

  • 1990-94: FCA Qld state chapter: Committee member
  • 1992-94: FCA Qld state chapter: President
  • 2002-08: ACCC Franchise Advisory Board member (founding member)
  • 2002-08: FCA National: Board member
  • 2004-06: FCA Board: Deputy Chair
    • With Roger Wilson, sponsored the formation of the FCA Hall of Fame
  • 2006-08: FCA Board: Chair.
    • With the Board, introduced a period of ‘inclusion’ which saw the establishment of Board seats for franchisees, suppliers and educators.
    • Introduced Board dinners with leading local franchisors as a form of ‘town-hall’ meetings to create openness with members.
    • Led two Australian missions to the IFA (International Franchsie Association Annual Convention in the US) and formally presented at both.
    • Exhibited at the Washington and Paris Franchise Expos.
  • 2005-07: Asia Pacific Franchise Council: Chair
  • Chaired meetings in Melbourne and South Korea
  • Enacted the selection of one body as the representative of South Korea to the WFC
  • 2007-09: World Franchise Council: Co-Chair
    • Chaired meetings in Greece, Paris, Malaysia and USA
    • Major review and adjustment of the member’s contributions which resulted in increased funding, resources and relevance
  • Federal Government Franchise Reviews.
    • Attended and contributed to at least seven reviews over 15 years
  • National and State Franchise Conventions
    • Organising committee member for seven conventions
    • Presented at countless FCA conventions, breakfasts and events