It goes without saying that this has been a historical year for the pool and hot tub industry. In a year of firsts, we cannot thank you enough for sticking with us!
In January 2019, it was officially announced that The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and the National Swimming Pool Foundation would unify as one organization. The long-term well-being of the industry called for a unification. The integration has been on-going and the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance has made great strides to maximize the collective efforts of Legacy APSP and Legacy NSPF. Advancing the industry and providing excellent service is at the forefront of our minds. We have a unique opportunity to have a greater impact on the industry – it’s true that we are better together. This has only been the beginning! I cannot wait to start sharing our plans and vision for 2020 with you all!
As part of the unification, there was an opportunity for someone to be the very first president and CEO of PHTA. I am proud to have been selected to lead this organization through new endeavors! This is not a fast transition. In fact, we want to keep all segments of the industry in mind, so our initiatives deliver a positive impact for everyone.
Additionally, PHTA added a new leadership position and brought in Mark C. Milroy, CAE as the new Vice President of Education in early December. Quality education is one of the most important cogs in the wheel that keeps this industry moving forward, and Mark’s leadership and expertise will drive us to new heights. He will also oversee the consolidation of Legacy APSP and Legacy NSPF courses.
One exciting component of joining two strong education programs is adjusting courses to provide the greatest professional impact for you – our students. Mainstay courses Professional Pool & Spa Operator (PPSO) and Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) will coexist while continuing to evolve to address industry needs and trends. Mark will work alongside the Education Task Force to incorporate a tiered design to address a professional growth education track. This new format is expected to launch in 2021, with the two levels of certification abiding under the CPO umbrella.
Our leadership team grew by one more at the beginning of January 2020. Janay Rickwalder, CAE joined PHTA as the Vice President of Marketing & Communication. As we work to build the PHTA name, Janay's strategic planning will grow our brand and consumer recognition, ultimately benefitting you - our stakeholders.
The PHTA Government Relations team fought tirelessly for public safety and member interests while opposing overly restrictive and unreasonable policies that could damage member businesses and economies. We reported on more than 1,000 regulations and bills and monitored more than 2,500 regulations and bills throughout the U.S. in 2019. One major accomplishment of the team was working alongside the California Energy Commission to harmonize energy standards and to work with the Department of Energy to update the federal rule regarding pool pump motors.
This year the 16th Annual World Aquatic Health Conference (WAHC) was hosted in idyllic Williamsburg, Va. We are committed to presenting an event that allows professionals an opportunity to come together and help guide how the industry responds to growth and evolution. In 2019, over 390 individuals collected in Williamsburg for the WAHC. Attendees representing government, manufacturer, aquatic facility, builder, distributor, academia, medical, human services, risk management, hospitality, media, research, and service all find new and existing topics of interest to further their professional development.
Education and networking continued a few weeks later we gathered at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in New Orleans. Our live demonstrations are always a huge success at Expo. This year, we featured vinyl liner installation and principles of concrete placement as part of our PHTA show floor education.
One of the most rewarding things about Expo was recognizing so many talented industry professionals at the 2019 International Awards of Excellence reception and at the PHTA WAVE Young Professionals Network reception! I’ve been so impressed with the dedication and hard work displayed from all corners of the industry!
An important new membership category was approved this year because of the unification. The new membership category is designed for PHTA Instructors. As an instructor and a member, we want to convey our appreciation for these individuals continued commitment to the growth and success of the industry!
The GENESIS® arm of our organization had an incredible year as well! Skip Phillips, SWD Master and GENESIS® co-founder returned as a GENESIS ambassador in December. The excellence and quality GENESIS® represents is unparalleled, and having Skip back with the team opens the door for exponential growth.
I am proud of what PHTA and GENESIS® have accomplished this year; this is just the first stepping stone. We are poised to make a remarkable impact in 2020. I hope this year has treated you as well as it has treated this organization!
I wish you a bright new year in 2020!