Watershape University

Honoring a Legacy

Grant’s Grants is a Watershape University program dedicated to the memory of one our industry’s – and our nation’s – finest.

Grant Smith, IWI, leaves a legacy of service and leadership, first as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, then later as a member of the Leadership Team within the International Watershape Institute, and always as a devoted husband and father.

Grant served his country, his industry, and his family always with steadfast commitment to excellence, bravery, intelligence and compassion. He was, quite simply, the best of us. It is humbling to carry on in his absence and his spirit.

At Watershape University, we are committed to continuing support for his active duty and veteran brothers and sisters as they transition from military to watershaping by granting two Watershape University courses annually.

Grant Smith December 23, 1970 - November 15, 2021


The answer begins with his military service. Grant earned several medals including the National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (w/3 stars), Kuwait Liberation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and other awards for combat.

He often referred to his military service as he preached leadership to his employees, students of the University, his many followers on social media, and essentially everyone he knew.

Soon after he left the Marines, Grant started his pool service and repair company, Aqua-Link Pools and Spas. Like so many other professionals in the industry, his work expanded into renovations, new construction and, eventually, full-service design and construction of custom pools, spas, waterfeatures and complete landscapes.

Grant’s attention to detail likely began with his military training and expertise in munitions operation and storage, a profession where simple mistakes can be deadly. He approached his watershaping work with the same rigorous set of guidelines: extensive training through his colleagues at Watershape University and their previous platform at Genesis; recruiting and continuously training his skilled team of artisans at Aqua-Link; connecting with like-minded professionals to foster his success at increasingly larger and more challenging projects; excellent communication and follow-through; and, ultimately, becoming an instructor, leader, coach, mentor and advocate for Watershape University and our students.

He was trustworthy and honest in all facets of his work and his life.

Many of us at WU were fortunate enough to see Grant at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo during our pre-conference courses in November 2021. He left Dallas early to return home to his wife, Kirsten, and his list of active projects. Grant passed away in his sleep the night he returned home.

The loss was devastating and we still grieve.

Grant’s passing reminds us that life is fragile. His unexpected demise left a painful void in our team and our lives. We will miss his keen sense of humor, unwavering patriotism and honest respect for everyone he touched.

Grant would do anything for us and he did so with enthusiasm and the common wisdom that can only come from commitment and hard work.

In return, we would do anything for him. Had he asked Watershape University to give away two free courses to active duty or veteran military personnel so that they would have the opportunities that he enjoyed for decades, we would have said “yes.” And although we can’t hear his voice now, we know he would appreciate this opportunity. So, to honor Grant Smith’s legacy, we, and he, are granting two free online courses annually.


To qualify for one of Grant’s Grants, applicants shall:

  • Be an active duty member of any branch of the U.S. Military, or
  • Be an honorably discharged veteran of any branch of the U.S. Military
  • Apply using the form below


On behalf of Grant Smith, Watershape University is granting one free online course to each of two randomly-selected qualified applicants. We expect that most grantees will select one of the following:

  • ENGINEERING 2311: Essential Fluid Engineering Workshop 16-hours asynchronous online | 1.6 IACET CEUs | Peterson | more
  • CONSTRUCTION 2111: Essential Pool Construction 24-hours asynchronous online | 2.4 IACET CEUs | Benedetti | Drakeley | Peterson | more
  • BUSINESS 3451: Essential Cost Estimating Workshop 8-hours asynchronous online | 0.8 IACET CEUs | Peterson | more


Other Watershape University blended courses may be available and we are happy to discuss those options with the winners.


Applications are accepted throughout the year. Two winners are selected every year on Veterans Day.

The next pair of winners will be selected November 11, 2023. The winners will be contacted directly and they will be announced through our magazine, WaterShapes, as well as our social media channels @watershapeORG.


We expect that most winners will choose one of our online courses which require no travel or other expenses. If a winner desires a live course, then we are happy to discuss those options with the winners. Travel, transportation, lodging, meals and other expenses that may occur if the winner requests a blended course are the winner’s responsibility. Grant’s Grants are for the courses – not the other expenses.

It’s a small but meaningful gesture, and we’re proud to do it!

WU Team

Application for one of Grant's Grants