AQ APSP QUARTERLY Your ability to recruit, train, and retain a



AQ APSP QUARTERLY Your ability to recruit, train, and retain a
Your ability to recruit, train,
and retain a quality team is
paramount to your success.
APSQ_0209_C.indd 1
6/3/09 11:44:19 AM
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2 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
Aquabot Turbo T2
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LOOP-LOC’s 2009
When the going gets tough . . . LOOP-LOC gives more! To thank our
dealers for their support in good times and bad, in 2009 we’re rolling
out the biggest package of give-backs and freebies in our history!
purchase of 2 different
products (e.g., cover
and liner, liner and
fence) for same
customer at one
time* *
$100 BONUS
discount for each
competitor’s cover sent
in for replacement
sales literature
FREE technical
& sales support
advertising support
390 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge, N.Y. 11788
1-800-LOC-LOOP or in.93s&ax: 631-582-2636
© LOOP-LOC 2009
*Does not include fencing, commercial pool covers, drop shipments, international or Canadian shipments. Free shipment avail. only for
dealer addresses on file with LOOP-LOC. ** Cannot be combined with bulk discounts on stock orders.
Proudly Manufactured
in the USA for
30 Years!
Inground Swimming
Pool Components
Structural Polymer Wall Systems
Steel Wall Systems
Thermoformed Steps
Acrylic/Fiberglass Steps
Coping Systems
Vinyl Liners
Automatic Pool Covers
Safety Covers
Fiberglass Pools
Ceramic Composite Pools
• Quality • Innovation • Service • Experience
Coaching for Improved Business Performance
The benefits of coaching for the pool and spa industry are many. Here’s
a look at how some APSP members use this critical tool to improve their
Sweating the Little Things
Maintaining Workforce Stability in the
Pool Business
Human resource managers have a greater challenge in tough economic
times. Learn how to get the right people into the right jobs.
Spa Testing: The Devil’s in the Components
Learn the details about black-box testing of pumps, heaters, and other
spa components.
Not Any Employee Will Do – The Right Employee
Drives the Best Results
Fire up your employees – and smoke the competition!
Avoiding Pool Tile Problems
Installed properly, tile and stone will last the life of the pool.
You and the APSP Career Institute
The Career Institute exists to create a comprehensive approach to training
professionals in the pool and hot tub industry.
Recession Proofing Your Business
Recessions are a normal phase in every business cycle. Does it make
sense to downsize your operation when an economic upturn could
be right around the corner?
Entrapment Prevention Has No Backup
How adoption of the ANSI/APSP-7 standard led to a new approach in
safety: preventing entrapment – and not just reacting to it.
How Pool Professionals Manage Staff Change
During a Downturn
P.K. Data asks industry professionals how the recession has
impacted their human-resource decisions.
Concord Pools gets it right – with their customers and their employees.
President’s Message
Guest Editorial
APSP News & Resources
Advertiser Index
Cover image ©
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 5
president’s message
Volume 2, No. 3 • SUMMER 2009
The Association of Pool & Spa
Professionals (APSP)
2111 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-4695
703.838.0083 • Fax 703.549.0493
Email: [email protected]
Human Resources:
Power to the People
Published by Naylor, LLC
5950 Northwest 1st Place
Gainesville, Florida 32607
800.369.6220, 352.332.1252
Fax 352.331.3525
Publisher John Kilchenstein
Editor Leslee Masters
Project Manager Yoruba Haney
Publication Director SaraCatherine Sedberry
Advertising Sales Amanda Blanchard,
Cheryl Miller, Jamie Harmon, John O’Neil,
Robert Shafer, Paul Woods
Marketing Amanda Everett
Layout & Design Deb Churchill Basso
Advertising Art Reanne Dawson
THERE IS A reason why professional is part of our name. Professionalism is our assurance to
clients and to each other that we do business with the highest standards and best practices.
Professionalism is a personal choice. It’s something each one of us must take on as a commitment. It’s why you’ve chosen to be a member of this organization. It’s why we, the staff and
volunteers of APSP, work so hard to provide the tools you need to establish and continually
raise your level of professionalism. It’s why we work so hard to advocate for a business environment where professionals thrive.
Our industry requires more knowledge, better skills, and more motivated workers than ever
before. We need to recruit, retain and nurture the best people, and APSP, through the Career
Institute, is working across the industry to help new workers learn the fundamental principles of our industry. At the same time, we’re providing tools like the new webinar series, the
Builders Institute, and the APSP Hot Tub Technician Manual to help experienced professionals
raise their personal bars. Certification programs like the CBP Certified Building Professional®
and CSP Certified Service Professional® let your customers know that you stand out from the
crowd as a professional.
Standards are a hallmark of professionalism and they exist to ensure the safety of the things
we build and manufacture. The American National Standards Institute has recognized APSP
as an accredited standards developer for more than a quarter century. Standards help build relationships with local code officials. Compliance with these standards can help to position your
business against lawsuits. Your customers will have greater confidence in your work knowing
you follow national standards. APSP not only develops standards, but it advocates for their
adoption at the national, state, and local levels.
Many of you took part in National Water Safety Month in May, showcasing your professionalism and involvement with your local community. A joint promotion of APSP, the
National Recreation and Park Association, and the World Waterpark Association, the monthlong celebration brought the safety message to consumers across the country.
To maintain your level of professionalism, you need to educate yourself continually about
the business climate in which you work. That just got a little easier with APSP SmartBrief, to
which everybody should subscribe ( News that affects the industry is gathered in an easy-to-read format with links to the full stories and delivered via e-mail
to members and nonmembers alike.
APSP is working hard to make it easier than ever to acquire the knowledge and expertise
you need to be successful in your business, and to foster the business environment you need
to prosper.
AQ (APSP Quarterly) is published four
times a year for The Association of Pool &
Spa Professionals. Copyright ©2009 by
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.
All rights reserved and all commercial use of the
contents prohibited except if expressly authorized
in writing by the association. Opinions expressed in
this publication do not necessarily represent official
positions or policies of APSP.
Best regards,
Bill Weber
President & CEO
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals
[email protected]
APSP Chairman of the Board
Terry Brown, CBP
APSP Chairman-Elect
Charlie Schobel
APSP Secretary-Treasurer
Kathleen Carlson
APSP Past Chairman
Gene Fields
APSP President and
Chief Executive Officer
Bill Weber
APSP Director of Communications
Kirstin Pires
AQ Contributing Editor
Ken Suzuki
AQ Associate Editor
Jeanette Smith
AQ Contributors
Helen Bloch
Carvin DiGiovanni
Michael Reed
Nina Schwartz
Lauren Stack
PUBLISHED JUNE 2009, APS-Q0209/8048
Professionalism is a personal choice. It’s something each
one of us must take on as a commitment.
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 7
Two-Speed Swimming Pool Pump Motors...
The Affordable Energy Saver
The Two-Speed Advantage:
• The motor and pump will run much quieter
• The motor will use less electricity than the existing single-speed motor
• The pool water will circulate through the filter for more hours per day
• The motor will run cooler, extending insulation life
• The motor and pump will work more efficiently for most filter types
• The motor can save as much as 45% or more on pumping energy cost
Best Value:
An A. O. Smith two-speed, California compliant (Title 20), motor can save you big bucks
on your energy costs. Add to that the savings you receive at installation versus a variable
speed motor, and it is easy to see how a simple-to-operate A. O. Smith two-speed pool
motor really is the affordable way to save money on your energy costs.
For more information on A. O. Smith Two-Speed Swimming Pool Pump Motors see your local A. O. Smith
Distributor or visit our website and download bulletin #2948 at:
531 N. Fourth St. • Tipp City, OH 45371
Tel: (866) 887-5216 • Fax: (800) 468-2062
Copyright © 2008 A. O. Smith Corporation
guest editorial
Familiar Face
AFTER SIX YEARS at the helm of AQUA magazine, I’m
pleased to join the staff of APSP as its new director of
It’s an exciting time to be in the pool, spa, and hot tub
industry, despite – or perhaps because of – the challenges
posed by our economy. Developments in technology – for
example, the variable-speed pump – are making our industry’s products more cost effective and energy efficient than
ever before. Medical research, much of it funded by our
industry, is quantifying the health benefits of using these
products. Academic research such as that conducted at the
National Pool Industry Research Center at Cal Poly State
University is providing knowledge on best practices to the
entire industry. The APSP Career Institute is developing
and delivering credentialing programs that will assure
your clients that APSP members are the best qualified in
the field. Slowly but surely, the level of skill and professionalism in the pool and spa world is rising. And it will be
my job to make sure everyone knows about it.
My time as editor of AQUA provided an excellent
education in the pool, spa, and hot tub industry, but I’ve
been involved in communication nearly all my life. My
work experience includes the editorship of Billiards Digest
magazine, where I covered a different kind of pool; a post
as media-relations director for the men’s professional
billiards tour; and a position with a design/build firm. I
started out as a high school art teacher – perhaps the most
rewarding communications challenge of all.
I look forward to greeting old friends – and meeting
new ones – at industry gatherings throughout the year,
such as the upcoming International Pool | Spa | Patio
Expo in Las Vegas this fall. I hope you’ll be in touch by
phone or e-mail to offer suggestions or just say hello.
Kirstin Pires
APSP Director of Communications
[email protected]
It’s an exciting time to be in the pool,
spa, and hot tub industry, despite – or
perhaps because of – the challenges
posed by our economy.
The industry reference
for hot tub service.
The first comprehensive manual for the fast-growing hot tub industry.
The APSP Hot Tub Council and APSP Service Council have joined resources
to develop the first definitive manual for the hot tub specialist. Learn hot tub
service and maintenance for all makes and models. Topics include Hot Tub
Structures and Finishes; Electrical Systems; Circulation, Plumbing and
Filtration; Pumps and Equipment Systems; Control Systems; Heaters and
Accessories; Hot Water Chemistry; Practical Knowledge; and Hot Tub Safety.
The APSP Hot Tub Technician Manual is the basis of a new training and
certification program being developed by APSP for hot tub technicians.
Members $99, Non-members $199. To order your copy, or to find out
more, contact the Member Services Center at 703.838.0083, ext. 301,
or at [email protected]
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 9
o reach their peak
performance levels, athletes have
often used coaches who serve as both
mentors and critics, providing support
while remaining objective enough to
identify problems and suggest solutions.
Today, business coaches help company
owners and executives in the same way.
10 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
for Improved Business
People in the pool and spa industry recognize coaching’s
benefits, says Michael Reed, APSP director of professional
development. “I think part of that is due to the economy, and
part is that our businesses, both on the manufacturing and the
retail side, are just getting more and more sophisticated.”
Coaching should serve as a guide to the participant’s inner
knowledge and truth, Reed continues. “It helps them identify
and explore new areas based on the expertise that they already
have.” Coaches can help their clients see new opportunities, close performance gaps, and achieve greater alignment
between what they say they believe and how they actually act.
Guy Larsen, vice president of All Seasons Pools and Spas
and president of the Mid-America Pool and Spa Show, joined
coaching group Vistage International a few years ago. “I was
looking for a way to network and improve myself and our
company, for someone to help me see things outside my own
perspective,” he says.
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 11
Informal Coaching
Sometimes companies and individuals have
evolved programs or management techniques that
contain coaching elements.
Paul Kurke, dealer training manager at Arch
Chemicals Inc., develops “Aquanology forums,”
classes that provide dealers with information
on company products and business issues. Arch
Chemicals does some informal follow-up with class
participants. “Dealers attend a workshop and learn
all of these different things. Then, as soon as they
get back and the season really hits, many times they
don’t implement what they’ve learned,” Kurke says.
When they’re visiting these dealers, territory managers often review the classes they took and suggest
some action related to them, such as setting up a
consumer seminar.
Tommy Johnson, owner of Johnson Pools and
Spas in Huntsville, Alabama, has his own coaches –
a network of national pool and local geo-technical
and architectural colleagues he can call upon when
he needs advice on technical issues.
Johnson coaches his own employees by asking them once quarterly for their ideas on how to
improve things. Employees write the suggestions
down, and Johnson follows up once or twice a year
to see if they have implemented those changes. “If
you ask for somebody’s idea and you don’t even recognize it by making some changes, they don’t feel
like the input is worth the time that they spent on it,”
he observes.
“Another thing that I’ve learned is that if you can
get employees to think that they, rather than you,
came up with an idea, it’s easier to implement it. I
guess you could call that a kind of coaching.”
12 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
How to
Find and
Choose a
Larsen’s Vistage group averages 13 to 15 members, all CEOs
or owners of small-to-mid-size companies with revenues from a
few million to more than $50 million. “We have attorneys, manufacturers, service people, professional services. It’s amazing how
the same issues pop up in companies that seem so different from
yours,” Larsen says. Each Vistage group has a coach, or chairman,
who meets individually with members each month.
At their monthly meetings, group members hear a presentation from a speaker, look at each other’s financial reports and then
discuss issues that they’re struggling with. “The issues have to be
prepared,” says Larsen. “There’s a form that you fill out that makes
you think everything through: what the issue is, what the impact
is on your business, what’s keeping you from resolving it, what
you’ve done so far, and what kind of help you’re looking for from
the group and the coach.” During group and individual meetings,
members formulate lists of action items and are held accountable
by the coach and the group for following up on them.
Belonging to the coaching group “forces you to step back and
look at your business,” Larsen says. “You actually work on your
business for a couple of days a month instead of just working in
your business.”
Larsen believes that coaching has improved his business and
helped him find good solutions to problems. One time, for example, he was having disagreements with employees who were not
following the direction for the company culture that he wanted to
Write down your expectations for that coach, just as you would when you were hiring an employee, recommends Guy Larsen
of All Seasons Pools and Spas. That can help you clarify your goals and aid in your initial discussions with coach candidates.
Determine your coaching budget. The cost of coaching can vary widely, depending on the services provided and the type of
coaching experience you’re looking for.
Contact business associates and friends for referrals or suggestions.
Search databases of professional coaching associations such as the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches
(, the International Coach Federation ( and the International
Business Coach Institute ( All offer databases of their members. Unfortunately, there are
currently no universally recognized standards or credentials for the industry. You will have to investigate for yourself to determine
what level of education and training each organization requires for credentialing.
Check out the coach’s work background. Rex Richard, founder of Extreme Success, recommends that a coach have at least 20
years of broad-based business experience. (It doesn’t have to be in the pool and spa industry.)
Ask for – and absolutely follow up on – references from a coach’s current and former clients. Ask them what they liked and did
not like about their coaching experiences.
Hold an initial meeting with the coach to see if your personalities and styles mesh. Discuss your expectations. Ask if the coach
has a particular area of expertise – is it one that will benefit you?
Before you sign onto any coaching program, make sure that you have a clear understanding of what you’ll be spending and
what is covered in the charges. Find out up front if and when additional charges will apply.
establish. “The coach was a sounding board; he listened to me explain it
and then he asked questions as my employees would. He was more able
to tell me where he thinks I’m wrong than an employee might,” Larsen
says. The coach helped Larsen see things from his staff’s viewpoint and
find better ways to work with them.
Coaching is not inexpensive, but Larsen feels it is a good investment.
“When you make one correction in your business that can save you
$10,000 or $20,000, it’s pretty easy to pay the dues,” he says.
Not a Silver Bullet
Rex Richard, who ran his own successful pool contracting business
for several years, began offering training seminars for the pool and spa
industry in 1999. Although the seminars were well received, Richard
wanted to do more to help participants actually make the changes
necessary to achieve better results. So in late 2005, Richard launched
Extreme Success LLC, a coaching business designed specifically for
the pool industry. “My emphasis changed from passing information
in a passionate and clear communication style to focusing instead on
behavioral change,” he says.
His first coaching program was MBS Extreme (for marketing, business, and sales). Today he offers three distinct Extreme Success programs for each of those areas. Each runs three years and includes both
group and individual sessions.
“The first year you get the results of changing the behavior that
you need to be successful and laying the foundations of success,” he
says. “The second year is growing your business, and the third year
is growing a successful model where your business could be sold
or replicated as a franchise.” After that, members continue to work
together in mastermind groups that help them keep their business
skills sharp.
Richard says successful coaching programs include four components: consistency – so ideas are repeated over and over to become relevant and understood; frequency – interactions weekly, not just a few
times a year; accountability – checks on group members to see if they’re
actually doing what they’ve said they would; and a feedback loop – a way
of communicating back to participants who are getting off course or
not following through. Members being coached also must measure
and record their results so they can track their progress.
Richard’s approach has yielded results. One builder/retailer in the
initial group saw a 300 percent increase in profitability. “Another
member had a long-term dream to stabilize his business and work
Monday through Friday so he could leave weekends free to pursue his
passion, which is flying. He now has time to fly,” Richard says.
Pool and spa businesses can benefit from coaching in many ways,
but Richard says few are willing to let go of their fear of success – and
their fear of the commitment that is required to achieve it. “It’s not
a silver bullet; I don’t have a success pill that they can take. It’s hard
The results that can be achieved through coaching, however, may
well be worth all the hard work involved.
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 13
Michael Giovanone
Little Things
one chance to get a pool
right. Here’s how Concord
Pools does it.
14 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
There is a management theory that says if you do the little things right,
you will find it easier to do the big things right.
It’s a philosophy that fits the imperatives of a pool building company
that must build the pool exactly right the first time – because in the world
of pool building, there are no second chances.
APSP member Michael Giovanone, CBP, president and CEO of
Latham, N.Y.-based Concord Pools and Spas, applies this principle to
building and managing his $14 million pool-building company.
Giovanone pays strict attention to little things: When he turns into
the firm’s parking lot at 6:00 a.m., he looks for litter. If he sees a piece of
paper on the ground, he picks it up. If anyone is standing around, he asks,
“How come you couldn’t see this, and I could?”
Each of the company’s four stores remains meticulously clean year
round. “If we don’t win the local Chamber of Commerce beautification
award every year, we want to know why,” Giovanone says. “In fact, we’ve
fired landscapers for failing to keep the lines straight when they mow our
Giovanone and all his employees address customers as sir, ma’am,
Mr., Ms., and Mrs. Employees carry purchases to the parking lot for
If a product doesn’t work or doesn’t live up to expectations, Giovanone’s
policy is to take it back and refund the customer’s money, no questions
asked. Giovanone once gave a refund to a customer who returned a deflated
beach ball with tire tracks on it.
Eventually, the little things accumulate and produce large accomplishments. In the case of Concord Pools, the little things add up to a
well-trained professional staff, a marketing plan and store design tailored
precisely to Concord Pools’ customers, a pool-design partnership with a
major manufacturer, 10,000 inground pools installed over 30-plus years, and
numerous industry honors.
Finding and Training Concord Pools People
A lot of people may not make it at a company with such high
standards. They may just find that the jobs are too difficult. Then
again, the people who do work for Concord Pools tend to stay for
“Our newest manager, the freshman, has been here for 27 years,”
Giovanone says.
Giovanone makes no secret of what is required to make it at
Concord Pools. You have to want to do things right the first time,
every time. You have to read the company handbook, which lists
all of the little things you’re expected to do, and you have to sign
an agreement saying that you will follow the handbook’s direction.
Even Giovanone has signed.
Giovanone is constantly looking for people who will fit the
Concord Pools bill. “I can tell within a few minutes of meeting
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 15
someone whether he or she will do well here,” he says. “I was at lunch one
day, and the waiter was personable, professional, responsible, and intuitive. I gave him my card and asked him to come and see me if he ever
decided to leave the restaurant. A couple months later he came by and
asked for a job. He’s been here for 13 years.”
Giovanone trains employees constantly. He even teaches a seminar
on systematic planning and strategies for APSP. The idea behind the
seminar is to develop processes and systems that are easily duplicated.
“At Concord Pools we train everyone – stock clerks, sales people,
managers, and everyone else – to give customers the same answer,”
Giovanone says. “When a sales person answers the phone, I don’t want
to hear his or her opinion. I want to hear the company policy regarding
the question.”
The emphasis on training has worked. Consider the company’s
response to the recession. According to Giovanone, the company
expects to see a 20 percent decline in inground pool sales this year.
“We’ve cut our overhead by 20 percent to deal with that,” he says.
In addition, he has shifted two of the company’s inground construction crews into renovation. The well-trained crews haven’t missed a
beat. “It’s early yet, but our renovation business is doing well so far this
year,” Giovanone says.
The regular service business is helping to pay the bills as well.
Giovanone expects to do more than 5,000 pool openings and winterizations this year, about the same as the company does every year.
Selling the Company, Instead of a Pool
Concord Pools targets customers who can afford swimming pools,
spas, and water features, but who don’t want any hassles. “Price is secondary for our customers,” Giovanone says. “Our customers have the money
to buy high end pools, but they don’t have a lot of time. We’ve designed
our business to take care of this kind of customer.
“A customer can come to our stores, talk to us for an hour or two,
and we will plan, design, and schedule the construction of a pool and the
installation of a spa and water features.”
Take a look at Concord Pools in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It features
what Giovanone has dubbed the “Backyard Dream Center.” It is a showroom staffed by professional designers and fitted out with pools, spas,
fencing, electrical equipment, pavers, irrigation equipment, landscaping
examples, and everything else it takes to bring a backyard dream to life –
right down to a financing plan.
“We aim to satisfy our customers completely by inspiring confidence, eliminating guesswork – along with the need to comparison
shop – and relieving anxiety about the capabilities of the construction
team,” Giovanone continues. “The idea is not to sell a pool, but to sell
the company.”
Pool Design and Pool Manufacturing
Concord Pools works with another Latham-based company to design
and manufacture molds for pools and a variety of other pool components.
Listen up.
You’re making more
money than last year
and selling fewer pools?
Successful pool builders everywhere have learned the key to
making more money ... even in
challenging market conditions.
You can learn how, too.
Call: 1-800-617-7283
16 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
Pacific Pools, a division of Latham Plastics, Inc., is the only manufacturer
offering exclusive Graphex technology. Graphex pool walls are molded from
a high-strength resin similar to the materials used to increase strength, resilience, and durability in sports equipment, cars, and even the stealth bomber.
It is a honeycombed panel with vertical and horizontal ribs for extra strength.
Offering the comfort of a vinyl surface, Graphex retains its shape and never
corrodes, despite the harsh climate of the northeastern U.S.
Concord Pools assembles all of its pools from components manufactured by Pacific Pools. “We like having everything we install manufactured right here,” Giovanone says. “When you install liners from one
manufacturer and steps from another and so on, you have to hope that
everything fits together. We’ve taken that problem off the table by using
one manufacturer whose components fit together flawlessly.”
Concord Pools even participated in the design of one of the key components of a Pacific Pools Graphex system. The companies collaborated
on the design of the I-Brace. “It is the strongest brace in the pool building
industry,” Giovanone says. “We patented it with Pacific Pools in 1989.”
In any inground swimming pool design something must support the
weight of the pool deck and the weight of the surrounding soil. In many
conventional pool designs, the walls of the pool provide this support.
But in a Graphex pool system, a series of braces shaped like I-Beams
surround each Concord Pool. Each brace attaches in six places up and
down the height of the pool. Each brace is filled with concrete. The
result is an integral part of a one-piece footing and support system.
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With this system, no weight rests on the pool walls. Instead, the load is
distributed over the support system of braces and concrete footings in a way
that mirrors bridge construction. The technique provides approximately 4,000
pounds of support per linear foot – more support than provided by the foundations of most single-family homes.
The Results
At Concord Pools, the cultural imperative of getting all of the little
things right has produced, over the past 30 years, more than 10,000 inground swimming pools.
What’s more, Concord Pools’ work has earned numerous industry honors,
including the APSP International Awards of Excellence. Pool & Spa News
consistently ranks the company in the magazine’s “Power 50” list of the top
inground pool builders in North America. The magazine has also awarded
the company four Masters of Design awards. In addition, Concord appears
regularly on the AQUA 100 list of top industry professionals.
And as the largest dealer of Pacific Pools in the U.S., Concord Pools has
earned a place in the Pacific Pools “Hall of Fame.”
The do-it-right philosophy has also created a close-knit company.
“There aren’t any employees here,” Giovanone says. “Our common beliefs
and common goals make us into a family.”
What happens when a family member doesn’t get it right and makes a mistake?
“We make mistakes every day,” Giovanone says. “But on our worst day,
we’re way ahead.”
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SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 17
ONFUSION IS A stubborn thing. Despite
an abundance
of news articles,
industry notifications,
and regulatory rulings in
the past two years, pool and spa
industry professionals still struggle with the array of
questions associated with entrapment hazards. One
issue that cries out for clarity is: “What is the role of the
Suction Vacuum Release System (SVRS) with regard to
the new federal safety requirements?”
18 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
The year 2007 marked a turning point in how we approach
pool and spa entrapment hazards. Congress passed and the president signed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
(VGB Act). Until then, pool and spa safety advocates, health
and code officials, and manufacturers approached entrapment
hazards with a reaction mentality.
Devices and systems that are designed to sense a suction
entrapment event would be tripped by the entrapment – and activated to then break the vacuum and free the victim (a “catch and
release” process). This point of view was expressed in both the
International Code Council’s (ICC) International Residential
Code (IRC) of 2006 and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission’s (CPSC) Guide for Entrapment Hazards: Making
Pools and Spas Safer of 2005.
Back then, reaction devices and systems, including the
SVRS, were recommended for all pools and spas with drains.
But things have changed since the end of 2006.
The VGB Act is based in part on the ANSI/APSP-7 2006
Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance in Swimming Pools,
Wading Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, and Catch Basins, a technical standard developed by APSP through the rigorous consensus procedures of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
This new standard changed the direction of the entrapment
issue in two key ways. First, instead of focusing exclusively on
suction, the ANSI/APSP-7 standard, along with the new mandates of the VGB Act, addresses five types of entrapment: body
entrapment, limb entrapment, hair entanglement, mechanical
entrapment, and evisceration. Second, the new federal law, in
alignment with the ANSI/APSP-7 standard, is oriented toward
Has No
prevention instead of reaction. The new thinking, which APSP had been
tirelessly advocating since the completion of the standard in late 2006,
can be thus summarized: the five known types of entrapment hazards
are preventable if the three root causes – suction, water flow rates, and
mechanical binding – are addressed in the design and maintenance of
pools and spas.
This new point of view, that prevention is preferable to reaction,
persuaded the ICC to adopt the ANSI/APSP-7 standard by reference in
the new editions of two ICC codes – the 2009 International Building
Code (IBC) and Appendix G of the 2009 International Residential Code
The CPSC is the federal agency
responsible for interpreting and
enforcing the VGB Act. That
agency has issued VGB guidelines
that also demonstrate a shift away
from the reaction orientation of its
2005 position. Every CPSC technical guidance ruling on the VGB
has been consistent with the ANSI/
APSP-7 standard and reflects actual
A number of states have also
made the transition from reaction
to prevention.
Florida formerly required reaction systems on all pools regardless of the number of drains. It has now
switched to the new prevention approach by adopting the ANSI/APSP-7
standard into its Uniform Building Code.
Tom Odeski
Similar actions were taken by West Virginia, which recently
adopted the ANSI/APSP-7 standard, and Minnesota, which adopted
laws consistent with ANSI/APSP-7.
States that took a fresh look at entrapment over the past year have
sided with the prevention orientation advocated by the VGB Act and
the ANSI/APSP-7 standard. The only states that still mandate reaction devices or systems for pools and spas with dual drains are those
states still working from versions of the ICC codes that are older than
the 2009 IBC and 2009 IRC. When these states complete the process
of adopting the newer 2009 codes, they also are expected to switch to
the prevention orientation.
Entrapment prevention rests on four pillars:
1. A Key Device: Drains have covers/grates that conform to the
ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 Standard for Suction Fittings for Use in
Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs.
2. Design: If pools and spas have drains, they have either an unblockable drain or multiple drains.
3. Hydraulics: Drain flow rates are regulated to not exceed the
ANSI/APSP-7 standard and the requirements of the covers/
4. Vigilance: Pool owners must immediately close their pools when
drain covers are missing, dislodged or broken. Covers/grates,
when expired, must immediately be replaced.
The fourth pillar, vigilance, is an attitude and, therefore, intangible. It is unobserved, defies quantification, and it tends to receive
scant attention in discussions on entrapment issues. However, this
oft-neglected pillar is just as vital. When the cover/grate is missing or
broken, the entire entrapment prevention system is compromised – an
extreme hazard.
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 19
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The importance of vigilance can be seen in the ANSI/APSP-7 standard,
which explicitly calls for the closing of pools when covers/grates are missing
or broken. Also, the CPSC’s rigid stance on the closure of all public pools
without proper drain covers is another expression of this vigilant attitude
regarding the cover/grate. There is no substitute measure, device or technique that can compensate for an improper, missing or broken cover/grate.
Do the VGB Act and the ANSI/APSP-7 standard specify a role for reaction devices such as the SVRS? Yes, these are appropriate for pools and spas
with a single main-drain system when one of the four pillars – unblockable
or multiple drains – is missing from the pool or spa. In other words, the pool
or spa with a single drain “other than unblockable” lacks the full array of
components necessary to prevent entrapment; therefore, a reaction device
or other back-up system would be mandated. CPSC interpretations of the
VGB Act have consistently isolated reaction devices and systems to this one
If a pool or spa has an entrapment prevention system, some have asked
whether it would be prudent to add a reaction device as an additional
“backup” layer of protection to guard against a missing or broken cover/
grate or a blocked drain. In the simplest and most practical form, the question is stated, “Should an SVRS device be added to all unblockable-drain,
dual-drain or multi-drain systems?” The answer is “No.” There are four
reasons – all related to safety:
1. The Absence of Technical Evaluative Criteria. Currently,
there are two technical standards on SVRS: the ANSI/ASME
A112.19.17 Manufactured safety vacuum release systems (SVRS) for
residential and commercial swimming pool, spa, hot tub, and wading pool suction systems and the ASTM F 2387-04 Standard specifi cation for manufactured
safety vacuum release systems (SVRS) for swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.
Both specify testing and approval of SVRS systems on single-drain applications only. There are no criteria to measure SVRS performance on dual-drain
or multi-drain pools or spas. The absence of technical criteria creates two gaps
in the entrapment safety scenario: manufacturers have no verifiable standard
for calibrating their devices for the dual-drain or multiple-drain systems; and
safety advocates, regulators, and public health officials have no method to
verify safety effectiveness. Without a standard, nobody has assurance these
systems will perform as intended when applied to a multiple-drain system.
2. The Absence of Successful Testing. Imagine this hypothetical situation: Children are playing in an inground spa with dual
drains when a toy fi nds its way to the bottom and blocks one drain.
Now, the water flow that was previously split between two drains is
exclusively drawn through one drain. Hypothetically, hasn’t this scenario created a single-drain system and therefore a hazard? According
to some SVRS promoters, this potential situation demonstrates
the need for an SVRS device on pools with dual or multiple drains.
There are two problems with this scenario: it is hypothetical and
safety decisions must rest on factual criteria; and, as mentioned, the
SVRS is designed, tested and approved for single-drain systems only.
There are no documented tests demonstrating consistent, successful
tripping of an SVRS device when operating on a dual-drain system with
one drain blocked. On the contrary, there does exist documentation
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SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 21
on the erratic function of the SVRS when installed on a dual-drain
system with one drain blocked. In other words, the hypothetical situation that supposedly would demonstrate the need for an SVRS, actually yields very disturbing results with this scenario created in the lab.
The APSP Technical Committee sponsored and performed this test in
2007 as part of the verification process for the ANSI/APSP-7 standard. The
test report concludes: “Not all SVRS tested to the ASME/ASTM SVRS
standards will reliably ‘trip’ when combined with dual outlets and/or
skimmers…” Was the test reliable and credible? Some SVRS manufacturers participated in the test and CPSC staff members were on hand
to observe. More relevant, however, is the fact that no SVRS manufacturer has refuted the test conclusions, either in writing or by publishing
the results of their own tests employing the same protocols. For more
information, see the report at titled APSP
Technical Committee Report on Suction and Outlet Safety and the Effectiveness
3. A False Sense of Security. We saw the role of vigilance in preventing entrapment events. Saddling the prevention system with a “backup”
device will weaken this essential pillar. Think of this chilling scenario: “It’s
okay, honey, go ahead and let the children play in the spa. The cover/grate
is missing, but don’t worry. We have a backup.” For the sake of safety, we
should never give pool owners a rationale to drop their guard in the face of
a drain hazard – or procrastinate on repairing or replacing the cover/grate.
False security is further highlighted by the SVRS test failures – and the
restricted application of the device to only one of five entrapment hazards.
4. “Backup” is a misnomer. What if someone invented an automobile airbag that deployed in only 25 percent of auto collisions? Would
sensible people label this a “backup” safety system for auto collisions?
An SVRS, by design, can address only one of the three root causes of
entrapment – suction. Therefore, the device is relevant to only one of the
five entrapment hazards – body suction entrapment. This event accounts
for 25 percent of reported entrapment accidents. The SVRS offers no protection against the four other entrapment hazards: limb, hair entanglement, mechanical, and evisceration – which, together, account for about 75
percent of reported events.
Of course, the future will bring changes. New technology, new standards, and new testing techniques could alter our approach to these
technical safety issues. But until then, pool and spa safety rests on the
four pillars of the entrapment prevention system. Imposing additional
reaction devices and systems would be a violation of now-accepted safety
principles and techniques. There is no “backup” for entrapment prevention.
Tom Odeski is the owner of Pool Cover Resource, an APSP member company in Dallas, Texas. Odeski serves on the APSP Region 3 Advisory Council and is the chairman
of the region’s Government Relations Advisory Committee (GRAC). He also serves as
board secretary for the Aquatic Professional Education Council (APEC), an industry
advocacy group. This article was written with assistance from APSP senior technical director Carvin DiGiovanni, APSP outside counsel Steven Getzoff, and APSP-7
Standards Writing Committee member Dan Johnson.
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SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 2 3
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You and the
APSP Career Institute
PEOPLE ARE AT the heart of our industry. Sure, we have pool and hot tub statistics, and sales
processes, and new product development – but at our central core, people are what matter
most. For our manufacturing and distributor companies, “customers” are the network of
individuals who own or manage retail shops, run service routes, and build amazing water
experiences. These are the people on the front lines working directly with the consumers to
make their backyard dreams a reality. Our business is a people business!
The problem is, very few people view our industry as a career opportunity. When asked, most people will tell a funny story about how they
landed a job in the pool industry and never left. As the industry’s trade
association, it’s our responsibility to define the knowledge, skills, and
abilities it takes to be a success in the pool, spa, and hot tub industry. After
a thorough analysis, the APSP board of directors established the Career
Institute to create a comprehensive approach to training and make the
development of professionals a top priority of the organization.
The Career Institute will work for members to oversee the implementation of a comprehensive education program that leverages the top
minds of the industry – all in an effort to develop a new wave of learning
and networking. By closely examining the retail, service, and building
experience, we’ll focus our efforts on building tools and techniques for
improving the entire consumer experience. For the business owner, this
means developing a highly competent staff that knows how to work in
teams, and who are engaged and committed to making a difference.
In an effort to meet the changing regulatory environment, the Career
Institute will also be positioning our programs to meet the needs of
states and other jurisdictions who are interested in licensing professionals in our industry. By partnering with lawmakers, we can demonstrate
the strength of the ANSI/APSP Standards supplemented with a solid
education program that delivers real value to consumers out in the field.
This is vital to our members, because the more we can do to highlight
knowledgeable professionals from unscrupulous operators, the stronger
the industry will be.
These changes will mean taking a fresh look at some longstanding
programs and modifying them to meet the needs of today’s professionals. We’ll be looking for new ways to distribute educational content,
including online learning and maximizing the use of APSP’s social networking site: Guiding us through these efforts will be a set
of Standards from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and
several other “best practice” organizations that will help APSP to develop a
world-class program. The benefit for members will be easier access to programs and over time an improvement to industry education.
We can’t do this alone. As an industry, we have to harness the industry
resources dedicated to professional development and work with like-minded
organizations to improve public perception. There are many organizations
working to educate pool, spa and hot tub professionals—and together we can
make a difference.
All of these efforts are designed to create pathways for a lifelong career in
the industry – and to provide greater and more accessible opportunities for
your professional development, no matter how little or how much experience
you may already have.
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 2 5
Achieve great goals
for your company. APSP can help.
APSP membership can give you the competitive edge you need
to achieve your goals. Being an APSP member is tangible evidence
of your commitment to excellence. Whether you are a distributor,
manufacturer, agent, builder, retailer, or service company, join today
to become part of the vibrant community of APSP members and
enjoy the many benefits of membership.
Industry promotion and market insights
Marketing can be a challenge, so APSP helps consumers find services
like yours through,,,
and You’ll reap the benefits of APSP advertising
that shows the value of buying from an APSP member. And, APSP
industry research helps you learn what your customers are thinking
so you can meet their needs.
Improve your bottom line
Get essential business products and services that will help you
save time, reduce expenses, mitigate risk, and maximize profits.
APSP membership gives you access to top-quality insurance
coverage and business services that will suit your needs.
Join today!
Learn more about APSP membership. Get a free DVD about
membership benefits by filling out the coupon below and faxing it
to 703.549.0493. Or contact us at 703.838.0083, ext. 301, or
[email protected] Visit to join today!
I’m interested! Please send me my free membership DVD.
Safety standards and advocacy
Safeguarding the public and looking out for your interests are all in a
day’s work for APSP. The ANSI/APSP standards help you protect your
customers, minimize your risk, and gain a competitive edge. And
APSP is your effective voice shaping the policies critical to your
business on the federal, state, and local levels.
Your Name
Professional development, training, and certification
Ensure your employees do things right the first time by involving
them in APSP education and certification programs for builders,
retailers, and service personnel. Plus, stay on top of the latest trends
and innovations and learn new ways to run and improve your
business operations using APSP publications.
Company Name
Zip/Postal Code
Maintaining Workforce
in the Pool Business
How the tides have turned. A moderately
buoyant economy that prevailed little more
than 12 months ago has degenerated into a
severe and likely prolonged recession. And now
the grief is not limited to one specific region of
the world. The effects of the economic downturn are being felt globally.
Many long-time labor market trends have
been obliterated. A worker presently seeking
employment faces a significant challenge in
that the employees’ (sellers’) market that prevailed for years has become an employers’ (buyers’) market, seemingly overnight. Due to the
increasing availability of labor, the focus of the
human resource manager (often the president
in small organizations) is changing. Companies
are taking advantage of this opportunity to get
the “right people” into the “right jobs.”
Despite the rising unemployment rate, there
continues to be surprisingly bullish demand for
workers who hold unique skill sets and diverse
toolboxes. Pool builders and installers might
well fit into this category. Regardless of who is
in the better negotiating position now or at any
time, the fundamental question remains: How
do we keep our present workers content and
our workforce intact?
To create a productive team and a healthy
workplace environment, the pool and hot tub
sector will need to address at least three monumental and persistent challenges. First, the
seasonal nature of much of the work – compounded in northern climes – tends to drive
workers off to jobs that offer regular paychecks
throughout the entire year. Second, “cannibalism” is commonplace throughout the industry, often resulting in chosen employees being
lured away to the competition. Third, the sector must overcome an ingrained mindset in
some circles that trained workers will necessarily choose to leave and start their own competing companies.
Many highly respected business management
gurus have been critical of the extraordinary
lengths some firms have taken to attract new candidates – in contrast to the often-paltry efforts that
have been invested in employee retention. While it
is obvious that a worker who is underpaid, unmotivated, unappreciated and maltreated would have
little reason to stay with any organization, what is
far less clear is how to create the ideal conditions
that bring about job fulfillment.
The departure of a key member of staff in a
small company creates a huge hole to fill. If turnover is an ongoing issue causing major disruption,
serious consideration should be given to offering
additional benefits to employees beyond standard
wages. Incentives can be strong motivators. In
addition to the need for a respectable wage, workers greatly value the following:
• increased job security
• job flexibility (e.g., hours, length of shifts)
• profit-sharing programs and bonuses
• improved vacation-time allowances
• fringe benefits (e.g., health, dental, insurance,
pension plans)
• the nurturing of a strong sense of belonging and self-worth within each individual
• recognition of a job well done and general
appreciation for responsibilities maintained
(awards and rewards)
• engagement – the opportunity to openly participate in decisions and provide input
• equitable treatment within the organization
• management styles that convey empathy,
understanding, and trust
• investment in professional development
(training, education)
Investing in human resources – your employees
– is absolutely critical to maintaining competitiveness. A well-trained workforce improves productivity and the overall efficiency of operations. Staff
should be encouraged to take courses offered by
associations, foundations, schools, and consulting firms. It is frequently necessary to convince
employees that it is in their own best interest to
upgrade their skills. The recent development of a
strategic plan by the Pool & Hot Tub Council of
Canada identified the need for both technical training and business education within our industry.
Staff recruitment can pose other challenges,
and while there is no quick fi x, promotion of the
exciting, challenging careers to be had in the pool
and hot tub industry is one way to start turning
things around. Seasonal employment tends to
result in an unstable, nomadic workforce with a
high job turnover, so attempts have been made to
lessen the effects of such seasonality. Horizontal
diversification into compatible product lines
(i.e., billiard tables, Christmas decorations) has
met with some degree of success.
Unfortunately, while extensive knowledge is
required of design and engineering disciplines
in this field, the industry as a whole still has
an undeserved reputation as a low-tech sector.
Furthermore, much of the pool and spa industry
is not known for being a highly lucrative sector
of the economy.
Public opinion takes years to turn around,
and one cannot completely mitigate all the factors at play in this new economy. One can only
dampen the intensity level of the threats. One
way to do this is by exploiting any overlooked
opportunities as we look forward and plan for
better times ahead.
W. Robert Wood is the executive director of the Pool
& Hot Tub Council of Canada, located in Vaughan,
Ontario. He has 30 years of experience in association
management. Wood is past chairman of Technical
Committee 6 of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO), and the former managing
editor of the Journal of Pulp and Paper Science. He is
currently a member of the board of directors of the
Canadian Society of Association Executives.
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 27
Spa Testing
The Devil’s in the
HE SAFETY OF portable residential spas contemplated by APSP-6 depends
greatly on the requirements in UL 1563, the Standard for Electric Hot Tubs, Spas,
and Equipment Assemblies. To give spa manufacturers maximum flexibility, the
manufacturers of the major components have worked hard to have their products
pretested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to help reduce the complexity and cost of the
final product investigation. This article will explore this “black-box component testing” and
what happens at UL when a really new component comes along.
Components are the major building blocks of many
products. They are usually covered by UL under its
component-recognition program. Since they are only
components of a larger system they cannot by themselves
be listed by UL. That is why components do not carry the
familiar mark of UL in a circle. These components are
“recognized” and carry a much different mark. Components
also have conditions of acceptability (CoA) associated with
them. The end-product designers must make sure that
each component is not used in a way that exceeds the limits
under which it was tested. The component manufacturer
is seeking an extreme testing simulation so the CoAs will
allow use in as many spas as possible without retest. UL has
a well-developed component program for the industry.
The pump is listed, so it’s okay, right? Well, maybe. The
biggest issue with any component used under the skirt of a
self-contained spa is heat. All the insulation used raises the
ambient temperature under the spa skirt to between 40 and
50 degrees Celsius (104 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit). This
2 8 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
elevated ambient temperature will cause most standard
swimming pool pumps to overheat because they are basically inhaling their exhaust. Pumps need to be tested while
installed in an enclosure (the black box) such that warm air
can be pumped in to simulate an actual spa installation. The
maximum ambient temperature the pump can handle without overheating is noted in the CoA for the pump.
Malfunctioning temperature controls could result in a
risk of hyperthermia or even scalding. Spas must also have
controls to deal with the spa water level dropping and the
controller calling for heat. If the heating element is on and
exposed to the air, it could burn up (called a dry-fi re). Heater
testing is therefore mainly concerned with temperature control systems and dry-fire protection. As with the other components, the heater and its controls are placed in an elevated
ambient temperature box and plumbed to a test tank. The
high ambient temperature is needed for two reasons – to
obtain the highest temperature on components and materials, and to see if the ambient temperature has any effect on
the temperature controller’s ability to sense properly.
Frequently, the spa controller includes the
heater and heater control and is referred to as
a “component equipment assembly.” An equipment assembly might also include the pumps and
a partial plastic alcove. The controller usually
includes some sort of time clock for fi ltration
cycles plus outputs for all loads, both present
and future. Controllers are not one-size-fits-all,
but they are frequently very close. A controller is usually available in many versions with a
range in the number and type of outputs controlled. All the heater testing noted here might
be needed in addition to a worst-case normal
use temperature test. This is simple if the controller is such that you can simply turn every
output on at once. If you can’t, multiple tests are
needed to obtain the scenario that results in the
highest temperatures in each internal area of
the controller.
Ozone Generators
Ozone generators, like other components,
need an evaluation when installed in an elevated
ambient temperature. Not all the ozone generated is dissolved in the water; some of it enters
the air around the spa. This off-gassing has precise limits.
Most spa ozone generators are negativepressure designs: the ozone is pulled into the
circulation piping by a venturi fitting. To obtain
a worst-case off-gassing simulation, the ozone
generator is plumbed to a test tank where the
flow through the venturi fitting can be varied.
The flow is adjusted to obtain the maximum
amount of ozone generation.
New Spa Components
UL both tests and certifies (lists) products.
UL is also a standards development organization
(SDO). Responsibility for the content of UL 1563
as well as membership on Code Making Panel 17
for Article 680 of the National Electrical Code
(NEC) puts UL staff in a position to understand
what the present requirements are and also why
each one is there. This allows UL staff to quickly
develop requirements for the latest innovation in
spa components and spa construction.
In order to reduce the time necessary to
interpret existing requirements or generate new
ones, a special process was developed. In this
case, skip all the intermediate steps and start
at the top with the principal engineer for the
type of product. These types of investigations
result in either a formal interpretation, called
a Certification Requirements Decision (CRD),
or the creation of an Outline of Investigation.
The CRD would quickly evolve into a proposal to change the standard. The Outline of
Investigation would be formally published.
Garden Prairie
Custom Pool Enclosures
Preliminary Investigations
CRDs and Outlines of Investigation are usually the result of a special class of product evaluation called simply a Preliminary Investigation.
These are useful for innovations to existing
types of spa components or components never
before used in spas. They can be conducted
on pre-production samples, hand-made prototypes or even pencil drawings. Early design
sketches can help prevent costly construction
changes when a new design challenges some
of the assumptions on which UL 1563 is based
or that might conflict with requirements in the
NEC. UL always encourages manufacturers of
components or spas to engage UL as early in the
process as possible so that any needed changes
can be made easily and at low cost.
Black-Box Component Testing –
the Key to Spa Design Flexibility
UL and the spa-component manufacturers have worked together to generate a wealth
of spa-component test data. This allows spa
manufacturers maximum flexibility to do what
they do best – build attractive, comfortable spas
to meet a wide range of customer needs. When
all the major components have established test
simulations (Component Recognition), UL can
quickly adapt to address the latest innovations
and expedite certifications.
Gary Siggins, P.E., is the principal engineer for
pumps, swimming pool, spa, and whirlpool bath
equipment at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
(UL). He is responsible for the requirements used
to test and certify all products related to these industries. He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering
from San Jose State University and is a registered
Professional Engineer (electrical) in the state of
California. He is also a member of Code Making
Panel 17 for the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Siggins has worked in the fi eld of product safety
certifi cation for more than 30 years.
Garden Prairie Pool Enclosures are
designed to give you a light, crisp garden
setting, letting you enjoy summer activities
all year, guaranteeing a relaxing and
enjoyable environment.
CCSI International, Inc., is proud of its longterm acceptance by architects and builders,
who have recognized the structural
integrity and longevity of Garden Prairie
Pool Enclosures, as well as its detail in
fabrication. CCSI has served the leisure
industry for almost four decades with
quality residential and commercial
We offer consultation
service and design assistance.
CCSI International, Inc.
Manufacturing - Distribution
8642 Hwy. 20, P.O. Box 98
Garden Prairie, IL 61038
Email: [email protected]
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 2 9
Not Any
Employee Will Do The Right Employee
Drives the Best Results
OUR TEAM’S PERFORMANCE is just average; they do just enough
to get by. Customers don’t excite them. Their work doesn’t excite
them. They have to be constantly watched, even to do the basics. You
are afraid to travel and leave them on their own. You catch them playing on
the computer and hear them talking of what other jobs are paying. Achieving
performance and financial targets is a constant struggle.
Sound familiar? Sound the alarm. You are suffering
from smoldering employees; they have the embers of
performance, but no fire.
Today, employees change jobs every 18-36 months.
Statistics by the Gallup Organization indicate approximately 60 percent of your employees do just enough
at work to not be fired; only 20 percent actually come
to work committed to making a difference. There are
too few people properly hired into the right jobs. This
mismatch of talent is killing performance. Today, not
any employee will do; organizations must have the right
employees in the right roles.
This mismatch of talent is more a management than
an employee issue. Most employees want to perform,
3 0 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
but do not know where their best fit is; they rely on their
managers to hire them into the right jobs. But most of
today’s managers are stuck in industrial-age thinking –
they believe any employee can do any job. But when our
workplace changed from the industrial age of making
things to today’s intellectual age of providing service,
it significantly changed what we want and need from
our employees. “One-size-fits-all” jobs no longer exist;
thinking is personal and not all employees think the
same way. To maximize employee performance, managers now must know the talents and strengths of each
employee or candidate to be able to cast the right person
into the right role. When done, employees become more
engaged and passionate about what they do and perform
at greater levels; boredom, discontentment and average performance disappear from the workplace.
To find, hire and retain the right employee, consider doing what
Mike Miller of the Miller Davis Agency of Salisbury, N.C., does:
1. First, create an employee-focused workplace culture. Build a workplace culture that is openly employee-focused – one that appreciates, values and develops employees. This creates a powerful
workplace brand that attracts great candidates – and when you
have many candidate choices, you significantly improve the
chances of hiring the right employee. Limited choice almost
always ensures hiring the wrong employee. In today’s networked society, word also gets out very quickly about organizations that actively support employees and help them succeed.
Build a powerful employee-focused culture and the best will
apply and, once hired, they will remain.
2. Hire and promote based on talents. Once you have a greater choice
of candidates, it is important to remember that you “hire for talent, but train for skill.” Each employee possesses distinct talents
and strengths (talents and strengths are based on the natural
hardwiring which is unique to each of us). Not every employee
is a good fit for every role. Consider the impact on performance
of hiring a more social sales person into an analytical accounting role, or vice versa. Each would be very unhappy in his or her
role – yet both would excel in roles that better matched their
talents and thinking. Learn the language of talents by going to and taking the Talents and
Thinking Style Assessment. It will explain 16 major talents and
help you to identify your primary four talents or strengths. By
having your employees go through an assessment, the results
can be used to realign employees into roles that are a better fit
for their talents, and to clearly define the talents needed by role
when hiring future employees.
3. Customize each role around what employees do well. Once employees are well matched to their roles, you can still encourage even
greater performance and loyalty by customizing each job. All
employees have talents, values and interests. The more their
roles relate to what engages them, the more emotionally connected employees feel and the better they perform. Critical
to the success of job sculpting is to identify those tasks and
responsibilities that both appeal to the employee and address
a business need. This way, the employee is actively involved
in an area that he or she enjoys, which also makes a significant
difference to the business. Spend time job sculpting with each
employee, adding new responsibilities that address the employees’ interests and passions, and critical issues for your company.
Create a customized job for each employee. Remember – no
employee quits a dream job.
4. Provide recurring and effective performance feedback. Employees
who feel confident and competent remain with an organization.
Key to this is recurring and effective performance feedback.
As employees control more of their performance, the manager
acts more as a coach and educator, encouraging employees to
continually improve their skills to advance their performance.
The more contact managers have with employees in a positive
and supportive way, the stronger the personal connection. This
connection drives employee loyalty and encourages greater onthe-job learning. Providing constant and supportive feedback
encourages employees to continually learn, own their performance, and drive results.
The world has changed; it is time to write a new chapter on performance. This one has to be bolder, more engaging and feature
the employee. Employees are the brains and heart, the knowledge
and emotions, the actions and passion of the organization. This
powerful new organizational asset must be well understood and
well managed. Many of today’s managers misunderstand the
performance power of this asset and never ignite its potential.
Exceptional employee performance starts with great management.
Engage and inspire them. Listen to and care about them. This is
what Mike Miller does with his team – he fires them up! And in
return, they smoke his competition.
Jay Forte is an author, speaker, performance consultant and president of
Humanetrics LLC. He has more than 20 years of experience in teaching
adults, with a focus on employee development. See his daily BLOGucation at and his new book, “Fire Up Your Employees
and Smoke Your Competition,” at
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 31
How Pool Professionals
During a
T THIS WRITING, more than 5 million laid-off Americans are receiving unemployment benefits.
First-time claims are at the highest they have been since October 1982, and an additional 1.4
million people are now receiving benefits under an extended compensation program approved
by Congress last year, bringing the number of jobless Americans collecting unemployment to 6.5
million. With consumer confidence dipping toward an all-time low, it’s not surprising that the pool
industry is dealing with a myriad of challenges, including how to – or even whether to – maintain a
workforce during a potentially lengthy recession.
Within that context, P.K. Data recently spoke to 200 swimming pool
industry professionals, including business owners, managers, and executives. The sample included pool builders, dealers, and a mix of manufacturers, reps, distributors, and service techs. Seventy percent of the sample
came from California, Florida, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, and Texas,
with the remainder reporting in from across the U.S.
We asked each survey participant how his or her company’s performance this past year impacted human resource decisions; for example,
whether the recession has necessitated layoffs to-date and, if so, how the
separations have been administered. We also asked our respondents—
who collectively averaged more than 11 years of experience running their
respective businesses—what advice they might offer others in the industry
with regard to hiring practices, separation procedures, and related issues.
To set the stage, it should be noted that the builders in our panel experienced an average sales decline of 13% in 2008. (The average revenue loss
was 27%, no small drop.) Only 23% of the builders claimed an increase in
sales. Moreover, our panel collectively experienced a 25% decrease in sales
leads last year.
On the other hand, dealers actually cited a 4% increase in sales from
2007 to 2008 while still reporting an average 3% decrease in store traffic. Upon closer analysis, however, only 10% of dealers reported increased
traffic while 40% described their floor traffic as “flat.” One reason for the
wide discrepancy here is that more than half sell other lines besides pool
products (e.g. backyard goods). Also, several suggested that their service/
repair business “saved” their year.
Faced with projects that have been canceled, orders that have been
postponed, and new housing starts that have all but dried up, our survey
participants have already taken a number of steps to manage their payroll.
Saddled with sales decreases, 68% of the builders we surveyed opted to
reduce their staff.
Among dealers, product line diversification enabled the majority of
them to maintain the status quo in terms of existing staff. Still, 20% of
dealers surveyed did make staffing cuts in 2008.
When separations were deemed necessary, 37% of builders offered severance, but this treatment was typically reserved for senior staff and supervisory personnel. Dealers rarely offered severance, with the exception of
Participants by Segment
Average Number of Employees
32 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
Service Tech
Service Tech
Manage Staff Change
Average Years in Business
Service Tech
New York
• Get it right the first time because turnover is a costly drain on your
• When you screen applicants, remember that you are evaluating
potential as employees, not marrying them or picking friends.
Always take an unbiased look at their strengths as potential workers
and decide whether they are a good match for your company’s needs
as well as its corporate culture.
• Consider hiring older salespeople. Maturity not only makes for better presentation skills, but also for more stable relationships.
Fostering strong employee-employer relations:
• Don’t get so wrapped up in promoting your business that you forget
to promote your employees.
• Reward performance and pay commissions on time.
• Invest in training your people; it always pays off.
• Don’t put off terminating people who are performing below your
standards. One “screw-up” can have a negative impact on morale
and the productivity of the whole operation. If you let things fester,
soon enough everyone will think sub-par is standard.
occasional packages to senior staff (larger firms). Only 7% of builders consider their separations as furloughs, while 47% define layoffs as permanent
terminations due to lack of work; 46% let the circumstances dictate the
terms of the separation.
This survey demonstrated that builders and dealers exhibit varying
degrees of rigor in their screening and hiring practices. For example:
• 68% of the builders and 74% of the dealers say they always check
applicant references.
• 39% of the builders and 47% of the dealers require pre-employment
drug screening.
• 19% of the builders and 21% of the dealers perform background
Some of the best-practice suggestions from our panel:
• Builders who fear losing business to former employees should consider the use of non-compete agreements (but always discuss this with
an attorney).
• Hire the best people you can afford.
• If you pay competitive wages and offer good benefits, you are building
loyal employees from day one.
Average Sales Change 2007-2008
Bil Kennedy is president of
P.K. Data, an Atlanta-based
market research fi rm specializing in trade and consumer
surveys, competitive assessments, industry reviews, and
merger and acquisition advice.
P.K. Data has served clients in
the swimming pool and hot tub
industry since 1992.
Service Tech
New Jersey
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 33
is in another recession. A
faltering financial industry,
high unemployment levels,
and sky-high material costs
all play into the economic
instability. Not surprisingly,
the pool and spa industry
is experiencing fewer
orders, slower-paying
customers, and tighter
credit restrictions. The
first reaction by many
businesses has been to
batten the hatches and
prepare for the worst. But
is that the right approach?
Does it make sense to
downsize your business
when an economic upturn
could be right around the
3 4 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
What’s important to remember is the basis for savings is less about refining the
current practices and more about completely changing the way you do business.
The good news is that recessions are a normal phase in every business
cycle – one that often follows a period of economic exuberance. Simply
put, they are a natural reflection of the market to close one cycle before
starting another. Instead of fearing recessions, business owners should
actively position themselves to leverage the next logical step in the economic flow – innovation and corporate growth. This article offers several ways to proactively move your organization into a position that will
help you achieve higher levels of corporate value.
Offering Relevance
Do your products and services still make sense, or have they gone
the way of the wagon wheel – still useful, but hardly appropriate for
today’s market? Most businesses cling far too long to treasured products
and services, hoping that new customers can be found to revive ailing
revenue. But with revenues slowing down, pool and spa professionals
are in an ideal position to invest in simple forms of market research and
predictive analysis.
Your customer marketplace is always evolving in response to economic factors. Where will your new customers come from? What products and services will be needed to satisfy your evolving marketplace?
How can you get your offerings ready to meet the next business cycle?
Asset Usability
In periods of economic exuberance, businesses waste corporate
resources. After all, when times are good, why should business owners try to squeeze a little more out of their assets? However, when a
recession is looming and fi nancials start tumbling downward, owners
frantically seek to exploit hidden value from their organizations – sometimes mistakenly jettisoning assets that may appear worthless. Although
maximizing corporate value should be a full-time effort, regardless of
the business phase, it’s only during recessionary periods that owners are
motivated to take action.
The biggest mistake pool and spa industry professionals make when
a recession hits is to fi re trained employees on a last-in, first-out basis.
Instead, take a critical look at your workforce. Do you have long-term
employees that are, at best, marginal workers? Likewise, do you have
some new employees, hired during the last economic peak, who show
a great deal of promise but lack seasoning? Ask yourself: On which
employees do you want to bank your next business cycle?
Under-performing customers are another area that should be
reviewed from an asset usability standpoint. Many pool and spa industry professionals sell one-time offerings to their customers – that is,
they only sell a single product, with no form of follow-up selling. What
results is a large customer base with a relatively low revenue-per-customer metric (total fi rm revenue divided by the number of customers).
The goal should be to mimic your largest customer – where all customers attain the same revenue figure as your largest customer.
A Time to Buy
Recessions create wonderful opportunities to buy undervalued businesses. Debt-wary business owners are often stuck between declaring
bankruptcy and fi nding a suitable buyout partner. Like well-groomed
vultures, investors carefully pick at folding business carcasses – looking
for any morsel that can be had for a song. Low-cost growth – the result
of buying undervalued assets – is a legitimate and attractive growth
What type of business should you look to buy? The answer revolves
around the principle of horizontal and vertical market expansion.
Horizontal expansion is defined as moving into markets that are logical extensions of your current business model, while vertical expansion
relies on maintaining a subset of your existing customer base and adding
niche offerings that satisfy a smaller percentage of that base. Although
there is no single right answer for how to expand, most business owners
have found success in horizontal market expansion as a ready means to
quickly grow in a recessionary economy.
Non-core Distractions
In periods of economic slowdown, owners spend an inordinate
amount of time “trying to optimize” the sales, marketing, fi nance, and
administrative activities – an effort akin to shuffl ing deck chairs on a
sinking ship. It’s a nonproductive use of time, as these functions are
non-core activities that have little (if any) impact on overall corporate
value. Instead, resources should be expended on refi ning the core functions of the business: operations and delivery. These are the real value
and differentiation that set your business apart from its competitors.
Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t opportunities to reduce costs
and increase productivity in these non-core functions. After all, operational gurus know it’s possible to reduce the cost of any business by
20 percent without negatively impacting the entity’s productive output.
What’s important to remember is the basis for savings is less about refi ning the current practices and more about completely changing the way
you do business. Are you really willing to significantly overhaul your
non-core functions during a recessionary period?
Although the prudent answer to the question is “no,” many of you
will still seek to extract some level of savings from these non-core activities. Should you venture down that path, consider outsourcing. For
nearly every business there is an ability to completely outsource your
non-core activities. Online (on-demand) accounting systems can now
be leased for as little as $20 a month, allowing you to pass off all the
responsibilities of technology ownership (i.e., upgrades, backups, maintenance). Other applications associated with customer relationship databases, inventory, and warehousing can all be found in solution packages
that eliminate the need to maintain any software at your site. The cost
savings and operational advantages are substantial – but are you willing
to make these changes during a recessionary period?
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 35
Reinvesting in Your Short-term Future
This is not the time to buy long-term assets like new office furniture
or technology. However, with lower levels of employee productivity, it
may make sense to upgrade the skills of your workforce. Most business
owners can rationalize the value of employee training, but are hesitant
to take those employees away from revenue-generating activities in
periods of high productivity. Now, as customer markets cool, employees
are looking for ways to increase their value to your business.
Employee training can take many forms, although technology training appears to generate the most valuable return. Whether it’s learning
how to master new products in your industry or interacting with new
computer applications, keeping employees abreast of industry changes
only increases their value once the recessionary period passes.
Training also serves another purpose: it takes the employees’ mind
off the recession and settles their fears of losing their jobs. Nervous
employees will often jump to a competitive fi rm in hopes of retaining
a paycheck—taking with them both corporate knowledge and, in some
cases, customers. Employees who see their employer actively increasing
their value to the market are less likely to leave – feeling a moral indebtedness to their employer.
Resolve the “Need vs. Want” Argument
When an employee enters my office with a purchase request, the
immediate argument in my head is whether this purchase solves a need
or a want. In simple terms, a “need” is an item that will increase the
productivity and revenues (or profits) immediately and has an established return on investment that can be measured. Conversely, a “want”
often replaces an existing item that has fallen out of favor due to style or
age. I will always listen to a “need” argument and very quickly silence a
“want” discussion.
Recessions have a way of moving the demarcation line between need
and want. Although your business may want new computers, the reality
is that your current technological setup, though aged, will certainly do
the job until the recession breaks. Technology represents a long-term
asset – a purchase that has a professed useful life of at least three years.
But here’s an interesting fact: even though IT experts will tell you it is
prudent to replace your computers every three years, most fi rms are able
to effectively conduct business on the same technology platforms for fi ve
to seven years. Therefore, technology purchases are rarely a “need.”
Recessions are periods of corporate rebirth. Although many owners
flounder while seeking resolution, it’s the prudent owner who realizes
recessions are part of every economic cycle and an opportunity to reestablish one’s fi rm in a new competitive light. Focus on predicting your
next market demand, and position your fi rm to reap the benefits of the
next upswing.
Brad Dawson is the managing director of LTV Dynamics and has more than 28 years of
management-consulting experience. He is a frequent lecturer to international entrepreneurial businesses and contributes to several national and international business and
leadership magazines. You can contact him at [email protected]
Innovation in Cabinetry.
3 6 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
Pool Tile
TILE CAN ADD so much beauty to a pool – but what do you do when
pool tile or stone falls off, or an installation goes bad? Tile and stone
installers need to closely follow product instructions and know the
industry standards established by the Ceramic Tile Institute of America,
the Marble Institute of America, the Tile Council of North America,
and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) committees.
Tile installers need to understand which tile or stone is most suitable
for a particular application. Tile or stone that is installed correctly will
perform well and last the life of the pool. To avoid problems and ensure
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 37
a successful and lasting tile installation, one can have a qualified consultant evaluate the application and the tile selected, prepare detailed installation guidelines, and provide a quality-control plan and daily monitoring
during the tile installation, says Donato Pompo of Ceramic Tile And
Stone Consultants, Inc. (CTaSC), an APSP member company in Jamul,
Calif. “Our seasoned tile installers end up training the tile installer on
the job, showing them how to install correctly, and making sure they do
so throughout the installation.”
When tile failures occur, it’s often because the wrong installation
products were used, or the installer did not prepare the pool surface
properly. These failures are often compounded by several factors, including the weather.
The installer or builder should always consider the climate conditions and the suitability of the material when selecting pool tile or stone.
Glazed or glasslike porcelain ceramic tiles are very dense and durable
and are the most common tile used in swimming pools. Natural stone
is becoming more popular today, but it is not always suitable for pool
applications, especially in colder climates. Water in the permeable stone
can freeze, causing the stone to flake and deteriorate.
Most kinds of tile expand when subjected to heat and moisture and
contract when conditions are cold and dry. Because tile moves, there
must be “soft movement joints” (expansion joints) within the tile work.
Debonding failures occur when there are no expansion joints, leaving the
tile nowhere to go but up.
The density of porcelain tile requires that only a good quality polymer or latex-modified thin-set mortar be used, meeting the ANSI
A118.4 Standard. According to Pompo, “Tile industry standards require
between 95 percent and 100 percent of thin-set contact between the tile
and the substrate. Often, installers don’t use enough thin-set and don’t
apply the tile properly. That results in substantially less thin-set contact and greatly diminishes the overall bond strength.” In addition, it is
critical for the installer to prepare the substrate properly, with a suitable,
waterproof coating (browncoat).
What can the pool builder do to ensure that pool tile is installed correctly? Pompo recommends the following:
1. Make sure you are using suitable (and compatible) products and
methods for the surface preparation and tile installation.
2. Have the tile supplier provide assurance in writing that it is suitable
for the application; and
3. Only use installation products with both a labor and materials warranty. This guarantees that the products will perform as advertised,
ensures product compatibility, and clarifies how the tile should be
installed. It does not cover incorrect installations. It is the installer’s
responsibility to install tile correctly per the manufacturer’s directions and industry standards.
CTaSC does forensic investigations of tile failures, qualifi es suitability of surfaces, tile products and applications, writes installation guidelines and quality
control plans, provides testing and on-site quality control inspections, and provides tile and stone training services. The fi rm has worked on large Olympicsized competition swimming pools, small and large residential swimming pools,
spas, refl ection pools, and swimming pools that have only waterline tile.
Carolina Olivieri has authored or contributed to articles in APSP publications,
including AQ and APSP Industry Currents.
3 8 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
APSP news & resources
APSP Supports Energy Law Amendment
to Include Title 20 Test Procedures for Portable Hot Tubs
A PSP met in March with legislative aides for the U.S. Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in support of S.598, an
amendment to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Amendment
S.598 includes the test procedures and methods for portable electric spas
contained in section 1604 of Title 20, California Code of Regulations
(as amended on December 3, 2008). APSP Senior Director Carvin
DiGiovanni delivered the message that the APSP wholeheartedly supports this language and APSP is committed to making pools, spas, and
hot tubs more energy efficient. APSP offered to assist the Senate Energy
Committee with energy-efficiency initiatives relative to industry products.
Manufacturers Council Funds Consumer Supplement
to Promote Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs
The Manufacturers Council funded an industry promotion for consumers that appeared in major media outlets in May. Entitled “Backyard
Fun Guide,” the newspaper supplement contained pool and spa safety tips
and stories about the benefits of pool and spa ownership. The newspaper
supplement was published throughout the U.S, including San Diego, CA,
Miami, FL, Kansas City, MO, Sacramento, CA, Hartford, CT, Las Vegas,
NV, Palm Beach, FL, and Naples, FL. Since May is National Water Safety
Month, four pages of the 12-page supplement were dedicated to water
safety. This year APSP jointly sponsored National Water Safety Month
with the World Waterpark Association and the National Recreation and
Park Association.
Opportunities to Sponsor the APSP Live Workshops
The Builders Council and Service Council will be presenting the APSP
Live Workshops on November 16-18 at the 2009 International Pool | Spa |
Patio Expo in Las Vegas. If your company is an Expo exhibitor, sponsoring
this hands-on interactive education can give you a unique opportunity to
display and demonstrate your products for 30-40 minutes at a demonstration site on the show floor – and to have your company name listed on
signage and in the Program & Event Guide. From $500 to $1,600 – you can
find the sponsorship level that’s right for your company. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Tracy Beaulieu at [email protected] or 972.536.6366.
and a wealth of knowledge of the industry. Among Kirstin’s responsibilities
are AQ magazine and the APSP SmartBrief e-newsletter.
New VGB Toolkit Available with Discounts for Purchasing
Several Products
A new toolkit is available from APSP to help your company understand
and comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The
toolkit provides discounts when buying several products. Featured products
are a new APSP brochure that explains to consumers how to avoid suction
entrapment; a brochure that provides industry professionals a step-by-step
guide to VGB compliance; an updated “Field Checklist to Identify Suction
Entrapment Hazards;” and the ANSI/APSP-7 suction entrapment avoidance
standard. Plus there’s a free bonus. You will also receive a free copy of the
new “Verification Procedures for Suction Outlet(s) Safety.”
Generate new residential business while promoting safety by purchasing the APSP consumer brochure “Entrapment Avoidance Guidelines.”
The brochure lists requirements for pool/spa drain covers and lists backup
systems for single main drains. You will want to purchase copies to inform
your customers about the requirements of the VGB Act. To order copies of
the consumer brochure and the VGB compliance brochure, contact APSP
Member Services at [email protected]
Two New Energy Standards Launch
for Portable Hot Tubs/Swimming Pools
APSP is developing two new standards related to energy efficiency:
APSP-14, energy efficiency standard for portable hot tubs, and APSP-15,
energy efficiency standard for residential swimming pools. APSP member
companies that would like to help write the standards should contact Carvin
DiGiovanni ([email protected]) for more information.
APSP and FedEx Announce a New Member Benefit
As an APSP member, you are eligible to receive valuable discounts on
select FedEx® shipping services. Save 15% to 26% on select FedEx Express®
services and 4% to 12% on select FedEx Ground® services.To enroll, visit and enter passcode PM2YPB.
Questions? Call 1.800.MEMBERS (1.800.636.2377), 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST,
New APSP Membership Options in Effect
Advanced Education for Builders and
Service Professionals
The 2009 Expo in Las Vegas will be held on November 16-18 (MondayWednesday), but you also will want to mark your calendar for advanced educational opportunities during the weekend immediately before the show.
The APSP Builders Institute will take place on November 14-15 (SaturdaySunday) and the APSP Technical Service Institute will be presented on
November 15 (Sunday). Look for more details about these outstanding and
popular programs - featuring instructors among the very best in their field
- in the APSP Smart Brief e-newsletter and on the website.
Kirstin Pires new APSP Director of Communications
Kirstin Pires, former editor of AQUA magazine, joined the APSP staff in
March as director of communications. In addition to her journalism experience, Kirstin brings to the APSP team a strong public relations background
The APSP Board of Directors has approved the implementation of several
new dues options for members that will make their dues payments easier to
understand and budget. The membership dues cycle is now on an anniversary
date rather than an annual July 1 through June 30 year. New memberships
begin the month in which dues are paid and run for 12 months. Members
may now pay their annual dues on a monthly or quarterly basis, or in one
payment. Dues for builders, retailers, service companies, and professional
pool management companies are no longer based on annual sales volume.
New members from these segments of the industry now pay a flat $550 dues.
In addition, one-year enhanced membership benefits valued at $392 will be
provided to those paying dues at the $550 level, including a CD containing all
of the ANSI/APSP standards and the Workmanship Guidelines and Practices for
Residential Inground Swimming Pools and Spas, and gift certificates for APSP
publications, webinars, and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Hotline
service. Members who paid $350 dues in 2008-09 may renew at the same dues
SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 39
amount; however, by upgrading to the $550 dues level,
they will also receive the $392 in enhanced benefits.
Hot Tub Council Votes to Launch
Growth Initiative
The APSP Hot Tub Council voted at their meeting at the Atlantic City show to launch the Hot Tub
Industry Growth Initiative (HTIGI), and the APSP
Board of Directors at their March meeting authorized APSP CEO Bill Weber to execute the necessary
legal and management documents including articles
of incorporation for the new entity, called “HTIGI
Inc.” The new HTIGI, Inc. and APSP are to be separate but affiliated 501(c)(6) organizations. The two
organizations will have independent governance policies and boards of directors with separate fiduciary
While the current economic climate creates new
challenges for this initiative, it also increases the need
for a unified industry-wide effort to grow the hot tub
market by boosting sales and enhancing the image of
hot tubs.
The components of the HTIGI are as follows:
• Increase current sales that bring in customers
through global, tactical sales initiatives. More
than 6 million U.S. households say they would
be very likely to buy a hot tub if approached
(1,260 tubs per retailer). To increase current
monthly sales, the HTIGI will offer innovative,
customizable, monthly industry-wide sales initiatives; consumer lead generation marketing; and
specific skills and selling tools with each sales
• Create continuous demand by funding a national
hot tub awareness campaign conducted via the
internet, public relations, and advertising that
will increase consumer awareness of the experience and the benefits of hot tubs. The initiative will also create ongoing demand through
research of the medical benefits of hot tubs and
consumer buying habits and lifestyle awareness.
• Build consumer confidence by setting and delivering quality standards for products, services,
industry best practices, and enhancing the professionalism of people in the hot tub industry.
This component will include sales, service, management, and business education and certification. HTIGI, Inc. will also benefit from APSP
IN the educational programs, APSP standards
writing, and APSP advocacy efforts.
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4 0 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
APSP news & resources
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SU MME R 2 0 0 9 | 41
George Risk Industries Inc. ................................................................42
Advantis Technologies................................................................. 17, 36
Vacless Systems Inc ...........................................................................22
Poly Solutions, Inc. ............................................................................41
Maytronics US, Inc. ....................................................Inside Back Cover
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
Federal Stone Industries Inc ..............................................................42
Cover-Pools, Inc. ................................................................................41
Danver ...............................................................................................36
Coverstar Inc......................................................................................16
BeeSafe Systems ...............................................................................23
Lawson Aquatics ...............................................................................21
Paddock Pool Equipment Co., Inc. .....................................................23
The Unblockable Drain Cover Company.............................................17
Advantis ...................................................................17, 36
Aqua Products ............................................Inside Front Cover
BeeSafe Systems ..................................................................23
CCSI International, Inc./Garden Prairie Pool Enclosures ................................................................................29
Cover-Pools, Inc. ..........................................................................41
Coverstar .............................................................................16
Federal Stone Industries .......................................................................42
Flexible Solutions, Inc.
George Risk Industries Inc.
Lawson Aquatics ..................................................................21
Loop-Loc, Ltd.
Maytronics US, Inc. ..............................................Inside Back Cover
National Pool Tile Group
Paddock Pool Equipment Co., Inc. ......................................................................23
Pentair Water Pool & Spa ........................................................................20
Poly Solutions, Inc. .................................................................41
Pool Cover Specialists National, Inc. ..........................................................................41
The Unblockable Drain Cover Company .....................................................17
Vacless Systems Inc ................................................................................22
Water Tech ......................................... Outside Back Cover
Waterway Plastics .................................................................6
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42 | AQ A P S P Q UA R T E R LY
Pentair Water Pool & Spa ..................................................................20
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Raypak, Inc ........................................................................................24
Flexible Solutions, Inc. ..................................................................... 40
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
A.O. Smith............................................................................................8
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
Aqua Products Inc. ...................................................Inside Front Cover
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
Pool Cover Specialists National, Inc. ..................................................41
CCSI International, Inc./Garden Prairie Pool Enclosures ....................29
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
Latham International ..........................................................................4
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Loop-Loc, Ltd. .....................................................................................3
Pool Cover Specialists National, Inc. ..................................................41
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
Water Tech..............................................................Outside Back Cover
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
National Pool Tile Group....................................................................38
Waterway Plastics ...............................................................................6
[email protected] • (800) 445-5218

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