You What?

Terry Valmassoi, President & CEO, Master Spas
Jun 8, 2023
Jeffrey Crane
You What?

In what city did you grow up? Hacienda Heights, California. I lived in southern California for 37 years before moving to Fort Wayne in 1996.

What is the first movie you ever saw in a theater? Growing up in California, going to Hollywood to see movies was a regular thing. I saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968 — a Stanley Kubrick film that is still on my top-10 list. I also saw the original “Planet of the Apes” that same year, another favorite of mine, which mentions Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

What was your first job? At the age of 16 I worked for a company that assembled parts for pools and spas. The owner of that business helped me start my own hot tub business when I was 19. 

What is your greatest accomplishment? Building Master Spas from a start up in 1996 to the largest hot tub company in the U.S., and the largest swim-spa company in the world. It has been very challenging, but also a lot of fun. I’m proud of our employees and our dealers for all that we have accomplished together. 

Who is your hero? My dad because of his honesty and integrity. He taught me through example how to live a life of good character.

What is your dream job? I am living my dream job. I started my first company in 1978 installing, and then manufacturing, hot tubs. I have been in the industry most of my career, but it still amazes me every day the success that Master Spas has had and the incredible team that makes it continue to be the industry leader. 

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to cast as you? Dwayne Johnson! Actually, it would probably need to be Martin Short.

What is your biggest pet peeve? Laziness.

Who would you like to see perform in concert? David Byrne of “Talking Heads” and his American Utopia tour on Broadway.

If you could solve one major problem, what would it be? Honesty and transparency in the media and in our government leaders.

Where will you go on your next vacation? My wife Elaine and I are headed to Italy.

What’s your biggest fear? I generally don’t live in fear, but the new AI (artificial intelligence) that is coming out is something we need to be concerned about for our future. 

What is the best gift you have ever been given? My sons gave me an electric skateboard for my 60th birthday. I have enjoyed boarding on the Fort Wayne trails. 

Name one person who has inspired you in your life. “Love Does” author Bob Goff.

What skill would you like to master? Grilling. When I’m the grill-master, my friends and family never know what to expect.

What age do you wish you could permanently be and why? At 65 it would be great to say I wish I was 30, but I have honestly enjoyed every decade of my life so I wouldn’t pick one age.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Cow tongue in Russia… followed by vodka.

When was the last time you tried something new? I tried flyboarding in the Grand Caymans a few years ago and loved it.

What do you collect? I’m not a collector, but I do have a fun vintage car called a Figaro. 

What moment in your life would you most like to go back and relive? Sailing to Catalina Island off the coast of southern California with my wife when we were just starting to date.

What is something that never fails to make you laugh? “Seinfeld.” Great cast, great writing and always makes me laugh no matter how many times I’ve seen the episode.

What do you love most about fort wayne? The people and friendships I have made. 

Do you have a nickname? Some of my California friends call me TT. My best friend’s daughter’s first word was “TT.” She called me that when she was excited to see me and still refers to me as TT to this day.

Describe yourself in three words. Optimistic, easygoing, real. What you see is what you get!

What book has had the greatest impact on you? “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I attended Saddleback Church in California and this was taught as a sermon series by Rick Warren. My friends and I used the tapes as a weekly Bible study long before he wrote the book. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A pharmacist until I worked in a pharmacy. Later in my teen years I developed a passion for business.

What famous person would you most like to meet? I met Michael Phelps, the greatest of all time, 13 years ago and he has been a pleasure to know and work with. 

What is your favorite part of your job? Working with our team, embracing challenges and opportunities, improving our operation, and making a difference for our employees and customers. 

What do you actually do at your job? As one of the founders of Master Spas, I wore a lot of hats in the beginning, focusing more on the financial and operational sides of the business. My role today is strategic planning for Master Spas, and I am fortunate to work with an amazing team that is focused on continuous improvement, sales growth, innovation, taking care of our customers and employees, supporting our community and living out our core values:

  • Do the right thing
  • Focus on the customer
  • Be exceptional
  • Own it
  • Have fun

Do you have a motto you live by? Work hard, play hard!

What would you choose as your last meal? Lasagna and a good glass of red wine. 

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party (living, dead, famous, real or fictional)? My family and best friends.

If you had a time machine, where and to what time period would you travel? I love history so I would travel to many time periods and places.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? There are so many places I would like to explore. Australia and New Zealand are on the top of my list.

What profession would you never try? I would be a terrible chef.

What’s one thing you can’t live without? My wife Elaine.

If you could give your 15 year-old self advice, what would it be? Have fun, be curious, follow your passion, take risks and don’t let failures slow you down.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Live with integrity.

If you hosted a talk show, who would be your first guest? Probably Elon Musk. He would be fascinating. 

What is one important skill you think everyone should have? Communication.

What is the most productive time of day for you? Definitely first thing in the morning with a cup of black coffee… or two.

If you received enough money to never need to work again, what would you spend your time doing? Traveling the world.

What gets you excited and driven to achieve? I love new and challenging projects.

When was the last time you cried and why? I don’t cry much, but every now and then I’ll tear up while watching a sentimental scene during a movie. 

When are you happiest? When a new adventure is in the works.

 

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