I'm looking for your guidance and council....

I'm preparing today to chair APSP in November. You may already know we are deeply involved in strategic planning, searching for our CEO's successor in 18 months, and trying to become more relevant to the swimming pool / recreational water industry as a whole. I'd like your council. Please answer the following: What is your vision for a better future for the industry? (Rank order your reply 1-10 or as few or as many as you like)

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    I have noticed there have been zero comments in a long time so I hope this is still a usable response.

    This is how I have instructed every employee of mine on how to make a decision; “If it's good for the customer, good for you and good for the company, then do it." If you understand my point it will be equally as true in any situation. The customer is first, then the dealer then the manufacturer not the other way around. Too many in this industry are not clear in the priorities of the system. If you really spend the time digging deep you will see our industry groups are too concerned by the effects to the manufacturer by the decisions made. The manufacturer is more worried about selling across different channels and increasing the holy dollar, the dealers don't evolve or train the employee and the employee loves the word "no" or "I can't do that". The customer? They just get the failures of the rest of the mess. We can no longer do business as we have for the last 75 years, change is good. The focus needs to be the customer, the customer rewards the industries and companies that respect them. A bottom up redesign is in order. Our world has changed and for some reason we choose to stay the same.

  • I've noticed that other trade associations such as the one for playgrounds has an educational structure much like APSP with training for technitions and installers.

    the difference is that they offer training for certified inspectors. When a project goes out for bid the engineers and municipalities stipulate that you have to be a certified installer to even bid on the project. The trade organization has great clout with the consumer and engineering community. Specifying the qualifications of the installer and designer is a great way to assure that the municipality is getting what they pay for and one of the main focuses of the contractor is safety for the patrons. Right now to bid on a municipal pool or sprayground project the engineers are not specifying any formal type of training and they're using guidelines that are 50 yrs old. No concrete , plumbing, plaster, filtration, education required. Just low bid...If getting the engineers to specify trained personel to do the work maybe they could at least specify that a trained proffessional needs to inspect the installation once complete. I see so much work that is completed on another contract when I am contacted to prepair a budget for other work in the facility that is sub par at best and just wrong. Missing hangers,pipe supports, you name it. These are places of the highest education in the land and nobody is checking the work. All the other trades are inspected and that work looks nice and neet. The mechanichal system and pool work...forgetaboutit.; In defense I also see alot of work that is done properly but it's the ones that you see that turn your stomach that you remember. As a bonus I get to feel like as a tax payer I am getting screwed.

    Might be a direction to look into.

  • Kelly,

    Thanks for the kind words. Check out the White Paper at www.StepIntoSwim.org if you want to get a broad "Why" is it important to create more swimmers. More swimmers, more healthy people. More swimmers, less health care inflation. More swimmers, less drownings. More swimmers, more pools and spas. It is really a win, win, win for our world. 


  • Steve,

    Wow, many great comments, obviously from people that truly love this industry!

    I don't see many "subcontractors" as members of APSP.  I think some effort could be added to pull more in.  Several comments below state membership is too expensive... I agree, especially for the very limited benefit that a sub sees from APSP.  With a larger member base, couldn't the annual dues be greatly reduced?  When you look at the vast number of subs for each phase times 10; 15 phases in the construction of a pool... 

    It sounds like NATIONAL STANDARDS are in the works and that's awesome to hear.  On a local level I would like to see Standards adopted and conformed to by every City and County.  I don't know of much if any lobbying is done on the local level, but this would greatly help our industries image in Arizona. 

    When I tell a potential customer I'm a member of APSP they say, "What's that?"  People know what the BBB is, though not that great... Branding... the public has no knowledge of who they are and why they exist.

    One last item, as stated in several other blogs below, standards are a very important part of APSP, I believe that they would be adhered to on a much higher level if they were given as part of membership!  At least to the pool contractors that need to know them. 

    As someone else stated, I too admire your courage in asking the question!  Shows you to be a true leader... something greatly needed in our industry.

  • Hi All 

    I agree with most if not all of the previous comments. I would add the biggest disconnect is the failure to promote the lifetime of enjoyable memories safe and responsible use of our industries products (namely pools and spas) create for their owners and families. This is a priceless aspect of the equation that has been overlooked for far to long.

    I know Steve Gorlin well he has a passion for this industry that is truly incredible, speak up as he will listen to your thoughts and comments in his unending effort to better the industry we all love.

  • Kelly,

    Thank you for your passion and great comments. You will be hearing lots about the tremendous newly formed partnership between APSP and the ICC. Our standards are now INCLUDED in the uniform construction code. The ICC will be lobbying every state to adopt their code and our standards are included. This has already been completed and the announcements are just coming out. THIS IS A MAJOR SUCCESS FOR THE NATIONAL INDUSTRY. This was years in the making and it could not have happened without the great work of the APSP staff, specifically Carvin DiGiovanni. 

    As you state there are so many opportunities to marry recreational water and medical benefits. This is a big undertaking which will require planning, direction and funding. It also may need a "CHAMPION" to drive it home to the industry. Much of the data is already there. As you said, Tom and the NSPF have done a wonderful job trying to get the word out. There is so much more that can be done. Please keep in touch

  • Dear Mr. Gorlin,

    The swimming pool/recreational water industry, I feel needs more education and unified standards as Rex has stated. The varying standards from state to state cause confusion and are costly but most importantly, do not serve the families that frequent spas and swimming pools. I realize that is a tall order but one that if we remained united could be achieved.

    Achieving the united front can only start and finish with education and outreach to the community.

    The divide between recreational and medicinal and exercise, I feel holds the industry back. To understand fully the true benefits, the science of the water industry must be fully communicated to the community at large. Recreational is medicinal. Our society is plagued by obesity and stress. Recognizing these two go together and the true benefits of this industry requires a paradigm shift for the community at large.

    Tom Lachocki has done a great job of educating. I just wish his voice was broadcast to more decision makers.

    Helping the retailers who are your members can only started and end with education of community managers, hotel operators and government officials.

    We must communicate effectively the many scientific benefits of the water. Providing the statistics that showcase the effectiveness of this industry and shouting them across the Internet is needed.

    Interviews with corporate giants such as Bill Gates who maintains a weekly family recreational pool party is what we need to hear more about. Every community leaders, every owner of a swimming pool, every pool operator should understand the water is a better environment for relaxing and for exercising. How many of your family and friends know your resting heart rate goes down 18 beats per minute just by immersion chest high? How many people know that diseases, surgery and mental illness can be substantially lessened by stress relief? One study on movement showed that Parkinson may be prevented with movement. This means the value of the water environment just went up because movement in the water is simply fun. Imagine having fun and being healthy too - yet, we think of the water for therapy and don't equate recreational use of the water to real health.

    Marrying recreational water with medicinal benefits can help our society effectively combat many problems facing our pocket books. It is afterall, all interrelated. If we are stressed, we are unhealthy, if we are unhealthy, our medical bills and the burden upon government is higher. We have a duty to expose the many benefits of recreational water - it is the best medicine to start with stress relief.

  • Quality education of ALL employees in our industry is the key to increasing our professionalism and adding more "WORTH" to our entire industry. Let's make the basic water flow and chemistry easy and available, that'll be a huge step in the right direction.

  • To all,

    Please see the post by Tom Lachocki. It is important that everyone understands the CPO program is not an APSP program. It is under the guidance, development and promotion of the NSPF. 


    Thanks for the kind words. I will find the time off line to contact you directly.

    Steve Gorlin, CBP, CSP, CPO

  • Richard,

    The CPO certification handbook is not published by the APSP. Thus, it is probably not helpful to them to provide feedback on that educational program since is under the control of NSPF - a completely separate organization.

    This is a tough question. You are a very strong leader and courageous to ask. I admire you for that. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the APSP better. Most of my time is focused on how to make NSPF better.  WIth that caveat, my impression is that the culture and philosophy is that the industry reports to the APSP. I'd be happy to talk with you some time to try to clarify what actions have given me that impression. Maybe I am wrong.

    I do think that Bill Weber deserves a lot of credit for creating a spectrum or products and services that benefit many of the members.  It is a much stronger organization now than it was eight years ago - when I was more closely engaged. Some major steps were taken in the right direction.  It will be interesting to see how the organization further transforms in the coming years.

    With greatest respect,


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