In The News: October 2005

FSPA To Hire Gov't Relations Staff

In June, the Florida Swimming Pool Association's Board approved a one-time $250 assessment fee to be paid by its approximately 1,000 members to establish a full-time government-relations department. The money will be used to hire a staffer to represent the association and its members to the Florida Legislature and regulatory agencies such as the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB), the International Code Council (ICC) and the Florida Building Commission (FCB).

"We're the most regulated state in the country, along with California, in terms of the codes and regulations we have to deal with," said John Schwartz, executive director of the FSPA. "Those issues are critical to our members and we can't expect the IAF (International Aquatics Foundation) to deal with all of it. They have to represent the entire country."

Among the recent pieces of legislation the association has worked on - ones in which Schwartz said he himself has been the de facto GR person - is a bill that will allow certain battery-operated alarms to be used in pools and one that will create special licenses for subcontractors, thus allowing builders to be in compliance with the state's licensing requirements. A third bill, which was unsuccessful in 2005, would require people who clean and service pools to be licensed. Schwartz said he's optimistic that the measure will be passed in 2006 with the help of the new GR staff.

"Our members have their own problems daily," he said. "And this is a nice way to funnel the problems to the top. And what pops out the top? Legislation.

"There's going to be routine things dealing with codes and standards. And since there are more and more pools and lawsuits in the state, this is an important step for us. It behooves us to be involved. There will be a constant need."

According to Schwartz, the special assessment was the association's "only mechanism" to address the funding issue. In the future, the FSPA is counting on other revenues to fund the government-relations effort. "Our longer-range goal is to increase our revenues," Schwartz said, citing the FSPA's successful trade show as an example. "Through the show and other revenue-generating measures, we hope to sustain it." He said the association will move quickly to fill the position and that a person could be hired by Jan. 1, 2006.

SCP Pool Corp. Stays Ahead Of Katrina

As the images of devastation on the Gulf Coast unfold, the effects of Hurricane Katrina are sure to be felt in many lives and in every industry. Covington, La.-based SCP Pools has been more fortunate than most, due to forethought and dedicated employees.

SCP, a $1.3 billion wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies and related equipment, credits three years of disaster-recovery planning with keeping 200 out of 204 nationwide service centers in operation. In 2002, Tim Babco, senior director of information technology for SCP, decided to flip-flop SCP's primary and secondary data centers, moving primary data from Covington to the company's Dallas facility. "It may prove to be the best thing I ever did in directing our IT operations," Babco told InformationWeek. "We decided we needed to take disaster recovery seriously with respect to our hurricane potential." Babco also created an IT disaster recovery team, comprising employees skilled in coordinating help desk functions and relocating hardware.

SCP's headquarters were not damaged by the flooding, according to the company's Web site, and had power restored within a week of the storm. Fifteen of the company's 40 IT workers have relocated to Dallas while the region begins to rebuild.

California Superior Court Rules In Favor Of Cal Spas

A lawsuit threatening the planned expansion of Cal Spas' manufacturing facility has been settled in the Southern California company's favor.

The lawsuit, filed by the City of Pomona in 2004, alleged that Cal Spas had entered into a secret deal to sell land that the city wanted to utilize as a waste transfer station. The court's ruling allows Cal Spas, Pomona's biggest employer, to continue with an expansion that will double its manufacturing facility to over 1 million square feet and create a workforce of over 1,200 people.

"There was no basis for this frivolous lawsuit to begin with," says Casey Loyd, president of Cal Spas. "Now that we've had our day in court, we can put this matter behind us. Judge Fruin's decision will allow Cal Spas to continue to supply the growing demand for our products, and, of course, to help build a stronger workforce in Pomona."

APSP And Better Homes & Gardens Promote Pool Industry

The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) has joined with Better Homes & Gardens (BH&G) special interest publications in a cooperative advertising program. Through the new program, any time an APSP member advertises in Better Homes & Gardens special interest publications and places the APSP logo in its ad, 15 percent of the net cost of the ad will be set aside for the APSP to use for further advertising.

"At no additional cost, the member who chooses to advertise will be able to help spread the message of the APSP to the marketplace," says Pat Tomlinson, category manager for BH&G special interest publications. "In 2006, there will be six issues featuring pool, spa and outdoor living products for them to consider. These publications target outdoor living enthusiasts who are especially receptive to information about these products." Issues available to advertisers include Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living; Garden, Deck & Landscape; Landscape Solutions 2006; Home Planning Ideas; Pools, Spas & Outdoor Kitchens 2006; and Outdoor Living Resources Guide 2006.

"The APSP is proud to offer this benefit to its members and will be promoting it to new and renewing members in ongoing membership drive activities," says Suzanne Mackenzie Barrows, senior director of communications and marketing for the APSP. "This co-op advertising is unique, as it benefits both the pool and hot tub segments of the aquatic industry. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved."

FSPA Adds New Board Councils/Committees

The Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA) now has two new Board Councils/Committees. The FSPA Safety Council, chaired by David Oxley, is working to promote water safety throughout Florida. The council is asking for local representatives from each FSPA Chapter to serve on the council.

The new FSPA Consumer Awareness Committee is looking for ways to heighten consumer awareness of the benefits of choosing an FSPA member. The committee is asking for local representatives from each Chapter to serve on this committee, as well.

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