Education at the 2009 International Pool Spa Patio Expo

Bubbles1109November is upon us, and it's time to finalize your plans for this year's International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, Nov. 16-18, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where the pool and spa industry will reconvene to network and gain valuable knowledge. And making the most of the opportunities available to you this year is one of the most effective ways to better your business in 2010.

"Everyone's aware we are in a down economy," says Brian Van Bower, president and co-founder of Genesis 3 and president of Aquatic Consultants, Miami, "and the pool industry has felt it probably more than most. Lots of people are sucking wind, a lot of people are hurting. And that offers a couple of opportunities.

"Most of the time people don't go to shows and get smarter because they don't have time. A large number of the people who are still busy today are the people who have invested in getting better at what they do and have gone through educational programs - like the Genesis program at the Expo.

"Can anyone afford not to get smarter? The answer is no."

When Opportunity Knocks

Consider attending the 2009 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo as an opportunity in itself. For many, trade show budgets may be the first thing cut in a tough economy. By making the most of your time at the show and maximizing all of its avenues of growth - educational courses, seminars, demonstrations and networking possibilities - you will already be one step ahead of the competition.

No matter if you are the employer or the employed, it's time to set the bar higher by taking advantage of all this year's show has to offer, including the Genesis 3 Design School.

What normally would take nearly two years to complete is being offered as a 20-hour course prior to the expo opening its doors Monday morning. Registrants can choose one of four courses offered, including Design Communication - Measure Perspective, The History of Water in Architecture, Designing and Creating Natural Looking Ponds, and Water Features and Advanced Fluid Engineering.

According to Bower, the Genesis Society of Watershape Designers course is the only accredited detailed design and construction course available in the industry. Not only does it provide a challenging curriculum, it also puts students in a position to learn from some of their best colleagues, all of whom have completed the courses themselves.

So why find a way to stretch the budget to allow for education? Because it's a worthwhile investment.

"We welcome everybody, and certainly anyone who is willing to attempt to get better will find that they've improved," says Bower. "However, if they come in close-minded or believe that they already know it all, they certainly won't."

Bower recalls Skip Phillips equating the Genesis 3 classes to an attempt to hit a moving target, in that they want the information to be the highest quality but they know that everyone who attends is at a different stage in the education process.

"We always try to tell people there will be parts of our programs that you certainly will already have a good grasp on, and there will be parts of it where you'll be completely lost and it'll be totally new to you," says Bower.

"All we ask is that when we cover the parts you know, help the guy next to you, and when you don't know what's going on, the guy next to you will know something.

"And when we leave, we will all be better. That's been our M.O. We are willing to accept anyone who wants to make education important."

Self Improvement

Don't fret if you are on a limited budget this year because the show is still offering an abundance of accessible seminars depending on your registration package. Be sure to read on to find a complete listing of the seminars, and the dates and times they are being offered.

The Expo also features education programs from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, including the Builder and Technical Service Institutes, the Certified Pool-Spa Operator Course and the Executive Academy. All require registration, so visit for more information.

There will be a lot of opportunities at this year's show to learn and take back important information to your home base to make 2010 a year to remember. So make sure to take advantage of all IPSPE has to offer - from the new Power Panels to the Welcome Party to the Genesis 3 Lifestyle Program. Walk the aisles, visit the Product Showcase to familiarize yourself with the new, cool and green products, and stop by the Genesis 3 Pavilion to introduce yourself to the founders and faculty and see builder- and designer-specific products that can help you better your craft. And as always, make it a point to stop by the AQUA booth. We're looking forward to seeing you there.

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