Shasta University Alumni

Alumni Feedback

These are Anonymous Survey Responses about courses and facilitation + Customer, student, and colleague references

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®

  • “You really get a lot out of this. It really is positive! Really learned a lot!”
  • “I enjoyed the real life scenarios and collaborating with others learning to get perspective on how these sessions applied to them.”
  • “This can apply to anyone to improve in many aspects.”
  • “The seven habits will make a life changing difference for the positive and guide you in the right direction personally and professionally.”
  • “The seven habits is great to utilize on a daily basis with work and in our personal life.”
  • “The work session provided a lot of valuable information that can be applied to everyday life.”
  • “I have already recommended to a friend. Have also been sharing what I learned with my family.”
  • “Helps you refocus and has good tools to help you with everyday challenges.”
  • “I learned a lot. It can be a life changer.”
  • “Would highly recommend. Everyone needs 7 habits.”
  • “Was very helpful, learned a lot. Loved it.”
  • “Exceeded expectations. Gained a lot from this.”
  • “It has opened my eyes to things I could do better for myself and in my relationships both personal and work related.”
  • “It has helped me with how to see different things-work, family, and myself.”
  • “This is very helpful, teaches a lot about ourselves and others.”
  • “[The] Habits can be used for both personal and work.”
  • “Gives good advice on how to deal with people.”
  • “Seems like a wonderful way to improve relationships and life all-around.”
  • “Very relatable material. Able to use this information and skills in all aspects of life.”
  • “It can help someone change their perspective on everyday life.”
  • “[Helps me] refocus on my habits, improve my behaviors, health, work and family life.”
  • “The information was very informative and organized in a clear fashion. The interactivity was helpful to keep us engaged with each other period the written exercises were helpful to allow us to think deeply.”
  • “The instructor is very personable and relatable. I got a lot of profound thinking from it.”
  • “Wake-up call.”
  • “The class reinforced what’s important in life. It gave me time to pause and reflect on how to become not only more effective in my personal life but also in my professional life.”
  • “Felt like a therapy course, simple concepts that most people don’t apply. The whole world needs to take this course!”
  • “Learned to be patient and listen and pause before responding.”
  • “I can immediately see how this will improve my life and the lives I’m intimately involved with period I see constant application in my life.”
  • “Great stuff! Useful in all areas of life-not just work.”
  • “Really enjoyed the material and the message.”
  • “Very helpful.”
  • “The material is amazing.”
  • “I really enjoyed this course and learning about the seven habits. I’m a college student so each habit has proven to be effective in my school life.”
  • “Great information.”
  • “Teaches you how to balance your life.”
  • “This course helps you to get back on track, it makes you reflect on things you may have forgotten. Very clear steps and proves that works. Just requires discipline.”
  • “It’s a great exercise. Taking time to see different life perspectives.”
  • “Interesting.”
  • “He clearly cares and desires to see a positive impact on all of the lives of those taking the class.”
  • “Very engaging and humble…he’s also working the habits.”
  • “Very simple and clear.”
  • “Perfect presentation.”
  • “John was easy to listen to and he did a great job at holding the audience’s attention. John is very knowledgeable…it was a pleasure to be a part of this learning experience.”
  • “Explains info well.”
  • “Very good order. Keeps everyone engaged. Non-judgmental responses. Very positive with all attendees.”
  • “Relatable and makes it simple. Doesn’t preach to us. Makes it seem personal.”
  • “Did a great job keeping us involved. Also knew the material.”
  • “Keeps [the] audience focused and involved.”
  • “Easy to understand; used personal stories. Was a wonderful all-around presentation…”
  • “Engaging with great references and examples.”
  • “Calm presence, knowledgeable, professional, never critical or demeaning.”
  • “He was nice, confident, timely and encouraging. He gave great personal examples.”
  • “John’s awesome and Mackenzie’s awesome.”
  • “He’s easy to listen to.”
  • “He’s very thorough.”
  • “John was engaging, informative and kept the class flowing. It was a pleasure.”
  • “Great speaker, kind, patient.”
  • “Did a great job explaining things. Was a great instructor.”
  • “Interacted with everyone. Made it fun and kept it interesting.”
  • “John is passionate about what he does. He is easy to listen to and makes participating easy and not intimidating. He uses his himself as an example to show that he’s learning as well…”
  • “John made the class interesting.”
  • “John used personal experiences that were relatable to the class period he’s easy to listen to and I never got bored.”
  • “Great teacher.”
  • “Professional and well spoken. John Mortensen makes it fun and interesting!”
  • “Gets your attention.”
  • “John was an awesome teacher.”
  • “John was an amazing presenter, very patient and good at explaining to us.”
  • “John did a great job of introducing and presenting the seven habits. He made it easy to understand and apply them to my daily life.”
  • “John is awesome. He clearly explains and uses real examples. Keeps her attention and is a great presenter.”
  • “He made the course very easy to learn.”
  • “John was very informative and explained everything phenomenally.”
  • “John is awesome!”
  • “He was very thorough and connected all the major points seamlessly and made the material easy to understand.”
  • “I enjoyed our presenter, John. He was very thorough in his discussions and he made me feel welcomed in his class. He is an effective communicator who has a firm grasp of the information in this course. I would attend another seminar if he runs it.”

Helping Clients Succeed: Closing the Sale®

  • “It had a lot of great tips.”
  • “Great strategies and execution to increase sales.”
  • “Valuable tools to use immediately.”
  • “I can see how this will work for me.”


  • “Very informative!”
  • “Excellent presentation.”
  • “John does a great job keeping everyone focused and involved in the training.”
  • “John is the best and we were lucky to have him.”
  • “Presents clearly and involves the group.”
  • “Very knowledgeable and understanding. Care’s about others’ success.”

Selling the Shasta Way: Sales Philosophy, Paradigms and Practices®

“The training I went through at Shasta Pools has been instrumental in setting myself apart from others in this market…. Whether it is related to equipment knowledge, providing insight on best use of space, or simply spending more time than others genuinely listening, the common theme is “you were more thorough than the other companies”. Listening to learn, and asking layering questions have both greatly impacted my sales results and helped to create astonished customers.”

-Evan Boyd

“When I got hired, I had zero background in sales. I went from that, to feeling fully equipped to talk to a stranger about the ins and outs of a pool… John also spent a great deal of time on HOW to interact with customers. Not only did John train me on the “what” and “how”, but most importantly, the “why”. I genuinely got into this field to enhance people’s lives with a pool experience, and John fully equipped me on how to do that. The training Shasta offers is top notch.  With knowledge, strategy, and a genuine care for people, there is no way you can’t exceed at this career. John has the ability to take the most complex items in the pool industry, and explain them in the most simple way. He’s a true Guru!”

-Jacob Priest

“He keeps it simple and practical, from asking good questions to asking the ultimate question, asking for the sale. While you cannot learn all there is to know in a classroom or virtual setting, this class might have given me the most significant knowledge: knowing what I don’t know. This gives me confidence in when and how to ask intelligent questions…From getting to a potential customer’s root “why” to keeping a customer engaged and helping them sell themselves on a product that you genuinely believe might benefit them, the sales fundamentals you learn benefit the company, the salesperson, and the customer.”

-Thomas Cross

“I attended the Shasta Pools sales training program back in January of 2019…The instructor was John Mortensen, and he did an absolutely fantastic job in training us for our roles as pool consultants/ designers… I feel that anyone in a salesperson position would be blessed to have John as an instructor.”

-Cyndi Morelli

“John’s ability to convey complex concepts to diverse audiences sets him apart from others in the field. His unique gift of teaching and empowering others in the industry has been instrumental in my personal sales success and the success of our sales force.”

-Chris Woods

“Upon meeting John Mortensen, there is an immediate draw to his charisma and passion for teaching. In Mr. Mortensen’s training class, his constant preparation, sense of humor and drive for lifelong learning made my own self career transition feel worth it.”

-Jordan Isaac

“The training I received from John has accelerated my understanding of what the sales process truly means. His program has allowed me to serve customers consistently with an experience that goes beyond a transaction. John has not only given me the tools to succeed in work daily but more importantly on how to analyze my sales process and continually sharpen my skills in work and life. “

-Noah Edgerton

The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team®

  • “I was able to take away tools that I can implement and use immediately.”
  • “Very helpful, eye opening! Loved the class.”
  • “The course was perfect for me and people that work under me.”
  • “The content is vital for being a great manager but the specific activities and direction take it to another level.”
  • “I plan on moving up in the company and there is a lot of helpful information I will use once I get to that point.”
  • “The course is an eye opener and I feel that it is super beneficial for our growth as leaders.”
  • “Learned a lot on what I need to work on as a manager.”
  • “This class was awesome…!”
  • “Learned a lot about being a better leader.”
  • “The entire course was engaging and to the point.”
  • “I’m very new to my position. This course was very helpful and informative.”
  • “Relevant, meaningful, applicable.”
  • “The content is fantastic and applicable. The resources and tools are easy to incorporate to drive results.”
  • “I gained tools for becoming a more effective leader.”
  • “Very practical solutions.”
  • “This course forced me to focus on some things that I often deprioritize as inconvenient.”
  • “The sessions were informative.”
  • “Very educational.”
  • “Much of the course, although based around our job, can be applied to our personal life as well.”
  • “I believe I can be a much more effective leader at my profession along with a better husband, father, son and friend if I’m only disciplined enough to apply it.”
  • “This session will help us personally and professionally.”
  • “Helps you view management in a different way.”
  • “I loved this course. I’m walking away with a different mindset and actions to follow through on.”
  • “The information was very valuable and the tools provided lay the groundwork for team and personal growth.”
  • “It is a great resource for any leader to put into practice for his team and himself.”
  • “Highly enjoyed this class and we’ll be applying these practices in day-to-day operations.”
  • “Great insight and tools on becoming a better leader and communicating with my team.”
  • “Extremely knowledgeable, great presenter.”
  • “Great personality.”
  • “John does a good job presenting the material in a very engaging manner.”
  • “Gave clear communication on materials and activities and really good examples and ways to engage.”
  • “Engaging, enthusiastic, full of conviction, authentic.”
  • “Great speaker and very relatable scenarios.”
  • “Great human and very informational.”
  • “Was responsive to the group.”
  • “Great teacher.”
  • “John is the best! Keeps you engaged with his knowledge, humor and great educator skills.”
  • “Very engaging, great energy.”
  • “John’s approach adapts well to all personalities. He has an ability to graciously re-word “unique” answers given in class in a way that will benefit all and not embarrass the individual.”
  • “John executes professionally and honestly.”
  • “Enjoyable, didn’t make it feel like a class.”
  • “John makes everyone feel welcome, and is respectful of everyone’s answers. He makes the lessons memorable.”
  • “Great speaker and teacher. Really keeps all involved.”
  • “Authentic and real, is easy to follow.”
  • “Seemed to really care.”
  • “Made the class fun.”
  • “Clear, thorough, cares, knowledgeable.”
  • “He’s an effective and direct communicator.”
  • “He is great.”
  • “Excellent communication and explanation of the six critical practices.”
  • “John is an awesome presenter. Keeps us engaged and interested, he’s patient and I love his teaching techniques. Always prepared. Provides great examples and context for material being taught. You can tell he cares about his job and his students.”
  • “John is an outstanding teacher. He was always prepared and engaged with everyone. John is very engaged with the group. He makes you feel as an individual that what you say is valued even if it was not part of the content.”
  • “John was excellent in presenting this course. Kept the pace moving and discussion relevant to the subject matter. He should work at Franklin Covey!”

The 4 Essential Roles of Leadership: COACHING MODULE®

  • “This is one of my weaknesses and it was great information to become a better leader.”
  • “The session was well thought out and allowed for a lot of interaction.”
  • “This is an area that I felt deficient in as far as having “steps” or reminders that I can apply daily. A culture that could or would implement coaching could easily become a “best place to work” environment.”
  • “It has valuable material that would benefit anyone in a leadership role.”


  • “John is a great teacher. He is a natural.”
  • “He did a terrific job keeping everyone engaged…”
  • “Clear and easy to understand and keeps everyone involved.”
  • “Always engaging.”

Other Pool Industry References:

“John is among the greatest mentors I’ve had in the pool building industry. He skillfully combines his extensive construction and design expertise to convey to customers and co-workers exactly what needs to be done to complete a project right the first time. He is definitely among the elite designers and builders of pools in Arizona and the Southwest. John’s a genuinely likeable person who operates with a high level of integrity and intelligence. I’m happy to count John as a colleague and friend in this industry”.

-Clark Stuart-Program Manager at Cisco Systems

“I have known John for many years and though we have not worked together with the same organization, we have collaborated on many projects. He is truly one of the great people in our industry. John is knowledgable, experienced and most of all committed to excellence.”

-Kevin Woodhurst- CBP, Swimming Pool & Outdoor Living Designer.

These words describe John. Great leaders take their knowledge, expertise and wisdom and skillfully give it away to others so they can succeed. John is that great leader. Many people owe their success in large part to what John has invested in them. I’m one of them. Companies invest large amounts of resources every year in search of the talent they need to grow and succeed but often fail to find it. John is that talent that all organizations need and seek!”

-Joseph Tuerff- Production Control Manager, New Pool Construction at Shasta Pools

“I treasure the multiple opportunities we shared that resulted in international Award-winning projects, success under difficult circumstances and scheduling constraints and the resulting World Class levels of customer satisfaction.”

-Bill Gullekson-Award winning swimming pool designer.

“John lives what he teaches! You would never know the amount of knowledge he has based on the humility he exudes, but once he starts teaching, it’s eye and mind opening. Most people with that much knowledge really struggle in communicating those concepts to others, but John has mastered the ability in taking new and challenging topics and making them very simple to understand.

I have personally watched him take the same topic and adjust the teaching style based on the types of personalities in the room; not an easy task but essential in a next-level teacher. Anyone can “talk at” a class for hours and hope they understand but John is a master of the Socratic method and teaches /interacts with everyone in the room through thought provoking questions. This is next level training…”

-Skip Ast III- Director of Sales: Shasta Pools

“Under John’s management and training, I was able to grasp an entirely new industry, many new concepts, enjoy huge success, and even more importantly, learn a new level of ethics that a salesperson can use for an entire lifetime… I usually do not use the word leader often when describing my managers, but John was both an outstanding leader and manager. John was not only thorough, he was a knowledgeable on team oriented leader. John was extremely fair and honest, and had an outstanding grasp of how to develop a successful sales process…With his skills at listening, and carefully but expeditiously developing objectives that address the opportunities that exist, John is not only my mentor, but a person outside of the business environment that I respect and I’m lucky to know.”

-Thomas Andreozzi-Former Regional Manager at Dr. Pepper-Sales Manager at Dolphin Pools

“Seldom will one find something with a rare combination of talents that John possesses. John is exceptionally intelligent, highly motivated, detail oriented and has the most personal and professional integrity of any person I have ever met. That is not an exaggeration”.

-Steve Rondeau-President at Rondo Pools, LLC. Franklin, Tennessee

“It was my pleasure to work with John at Shasta. He is extremely knowledgeable and talented in a number of areas – not just poor design and construction. He is creative, analytical, solutions oriented and business minded. I learned a great deal from John and respect his ability to work with a diverse stakeholder group and remain professional at all times period he is also a tremendous team player and team builder.”

-Joan Roth- Principle, MarketingMentorAZ

Customer References:

“Few of our associations with the construction trades have been as delightful and problem-free as our pool building experience. Our positive attitude is due primarily to the integrity and competence of John Mortensen.”

-Jon and Susan Snyder-Rancho Murieta, CA

“John had a detailed knowledge of the construction and the necessary people skills to explain confusing issues in simple terms. John also displayed patience when I changed my mind five different times and requested the blueprints be redrawn. He actually appeared to enjoy working with us to meet our needs, not his own. I did not find this in any of the other companies which attempted to sell their pools by finding faults in all the others. John would not comment in any negative way about the others, but had an air of confidence that his company could provide the best construction and service. It was John’s honesty, and the knowledge of his product and service that set my wife and I at ease.”

-Michael Gallisdorfer-Orangevale, CA

“During our bidding process we had many pool designers work with us, and we found that John was not only the most responsive to our needs but was also able to translate our pool dreams into a real pool design. He demonstrated great creativity in assisting us through our design and made our pool meet and exceed our original expectations.”

-Duane and Jackie George-Orangeville, CA

“In a time when doing business is only learning how to swim with the sharks, John Mortensen appears, shocking anomaly, a man out of his time. He seems to me a throwback to the early part of the last century-when business was done in good faith and still with a handshake. He proposes what he can do. He actually does it. He suggests what is fair. It actually is. He communicates a fit efficiently and effectively. He provides A genuine good service. He calls me six months after my pool is completed to warn me of the dangers of a freeze and what to do to protect my investment period he shows real commitment and concern. I don’t know where he came from; I just thank my lucky stars I found him. What a rarity, you know, a man of his word. He not only built me a beautiful pool, he restored my faith in mankind a little.”

-Roxanna Summers-Orangeville, CA

“You were personable and friendly. We found you to be forthcoming with your knowledge and suggestions while at the same time, listening attentively to our thoughts and ideas. You answered our calls and our questions without delay. The fact that you always kept us informed…was also very much appreciated. As you know we have already recommended you design pools for several people. We will gladly continue to recommend you.”

-Jim and Judie Giordano-Roseville, CA

“One of our last appointments was with John. We hit the lottery and the jackpot at one time. It seemed as if John Mortensen was a long-lost friend and family member from way back. Not only did he transform our (now looking back and reflecting) very old, outdated and dilapidated pool and backyard into a new pool with updated equipment, tile, rockwork and a pebble finish, he helped us create a beautiful backyard, too. John has the gift of being able to look at a pool and/or backyard and to listen to our ideas and then knows what, how, and when to transform our ideas into reality. Since the completion of the pool, numerous friends and family have stated, “Wow, what a great looking new pool and backyard. Robin and I smile and say a very silent, “Thank you, John”.”

-Terry and Robin Jarrell- Phoenix, AZ

“I have had the opportunity to work with John Mortensen recently on several pool and spa renovations at two of our properties in the phoenix area. I must say that I was impressed with John’s knowledge of all aspects of swimming pool operations. For example, at one of our properties, we had severely cracked concrete pool decking that needed replacement. John recognized that the underlying problem was expansive clay soils and was able to recommend a design that would prevent that issue from happening again in the future. In addition to John’s extensive knowledge, there are several other reasons that I will continue to utilize John as a swimming pool resource. He is very knowledgeable about swimming pool construction, he does what he says he’s going to do, he follows up and he is timely. Lastly, John takes the perspective of someone that will be owning the pool or spa and wants it done the right the first time.”

-Eric Hines-Senior Vice President Construction: Orion residential management

“Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to work with John Mortensen. I need a John to design a complicated pool water feature in an area that was a difficult. The end result was perfect.

I was also happy with the results of a newly designed, tasteful, contemporary water feature that John designed for luxury home we had listed in Paradise Valley. He pays great attention to fine detail; His work is unmatched…

John’s passion for designing and building pools makes the awesome results inevitable. John Mortensen is a great and pleasant person to work with from start to finish. I strongly recommend his work.”

-Laurelle Adrian-KITA KORP, Inc.

“Dear John:

I want to personally thank you for the beautiful work you did… We have people over all the time, and they are always shocked that the spa was an afterthought. Your ability to match the tiles and colors perfectly is amazing. Your design was well thought out and within my budget, which I greatly appreciated. I believe that your honesty, professionalism and attention to detail really set you apart from the competition. I was very impressed with your relationship with the inspectors and the ease of the entire process. It is clear that you hold your cruise to extremely high standards. We have had many jobs (construction, landscaping, gardening, etc.) performed in our yard and, oftentimes, I come home to a missing dog because a gate was left open. That never once happened with your crew. Your crew was always extremely clean and respectful of our yard and very aware of our children and dog.
Speaking of children, thank you for allowing them to be a part of the process. They were so curious, and you were very kind to indulge their never-ending questions. Although I was thrilled the spa was completed on time, I think the children were a bit disappointed that their new friend had disappeared.
I am truly thankful to have been referred to you. If any of your future clients would like to speak to me personally, please do not hesitate to give them my number.”

-Jamee Emens-Scottsdale AZ

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