9 Lessons Learned from the 2019 PSP Expo

Psp Tile

Last week, the pool and spa industry took over the Crescent City for the 2019 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo. After all the seminars and events were over, we departed NOLA with heads chock full of new knowledge and an appreciation for how far the industry has come. In honor of that educational spirit, take a look at just a few lessons we learned from the show below:


Builder Panel

1. The Power Panels were a huge hit

Before the show floor officially opened, retailers, builders and service pros filled conference halls to hear their peers discuss pressing industry issues at the Power Panels. The Builder Power Panel, for example, featured prominent builders Scott Cohen, Charlie Claffey and Tim Murphy, with moderator Steve Barnes, discussing the labor shortage, design catastrophes and nuances like when to pass off a pool project to a client.



Photo courtesy of GENESIS.Photo courtesy of GENESIS.


2. The service segment still shines

The Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy/Gal Competition is now in its 12th year. This year saw more entries (and an overall stronger quality of entries) than ever before, which goes to show the service segment continues to draw people devoted to excellence in technical skills and customer service.

This year’s winners of the Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy and Gal contest were honored at a special ceremony on the show floor, followed by a gala that night. From left to right: Jay Crittenden, Union City, Tenn., Pleatco Backyard Hero Award; Ed Zaborski, East Greenwich, R.I., Pleatco Lifetime Achievement Award; Katie Poppa, Irwin, P.A., Pleatco Community Leader Award; Averi Edwards. Rose Hill, Kan., Pleatco Perfect Pool Gal; Jim Hedlund, Hudson, N.H., Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy; Jeff Smith, Pleatco; Howard Smith, Pleatco; and Brian Van Bower, Genesis.


Pool Chasers

3. More and more pros are “chasing” this podcast

One of the hottest subjects on the show floor was Pool Chasers, the podcast hosted by two former service technicians that has gained a strong following in the industry. At the Expo, the Pool Chasers team hosted the first live taping of its podcast tour, which will take them to six trade shows across the country.



Photo courtesy of GENESIS.Photo courtesy of GENESIS.


4. Genesis is standing strong

Earlier this year, the world of pool design education took a surprising turn when two leading instructors, followed by the organization’s co-founder, left Genesis. Co-founder Brian Van Bower allayed any concerns in a speech at the Genesis Winemaker Dinner and affirmed the group’s future as a pillar of industry education.




5. The hot tub segment is at the forefront of technology

Bullfrog Spas wowed the show crowds with a multimedia presentation of its new M Series collection. Using augmented reality, a Bullfrog spokesperson could show off the line’s new features, simulate sitting in water and even bring in rendered models to illustrate possible seating arrangements. Like an Apple event, it left audiences craving more.



Million Dollar

6. The next generation of pool builders is looking bright

Those in attendance for the Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge casted their votes to name Alex Tyler of Alchemy Exteriors the 2019 winner. Tyler took home a $5,000 cash prize and an opportunity to judge next year's contest. This year, designers worked to blend the stunning views of a home on Lake Tahoe with a luxury industrial/rustic pool design.


Wu Dinner

7. Educational opportunities for builders are growing

At the PSP Expo, Bill Drakeley and Dave Peterson took time to celebrate their new education firm, Watershape University. Highlights of the notably raucous gathering included the announcement that the WU mascot will be a wolf.


Photo courtesy of PHTA.Photo courtesy of PHTA.


8. Interactive demos were big crowd-pleasers

While Bullfrog Spas entertained crowds with a high-tech concept, the PHTA booth was equally successful with a more analog demo of a pool build from beginning to end. Each day, showgoers could drop by the PHTA booth for demos on each step, and by the end of Day 3, they had completed a vinyl-liner pool complete with a Pentair pump system and a laminar jet feature.


Cy Adebate

9. The CYA debate rages on

AQUA hosted The Great CYA Debate on the show floor, wherein four voices of the pool industry — Ellen Meyer of Innovative Water Care; Roy Vore of BioLab; Richard Falk, member of the CYA ad-hoc committee of the CMAHC; and Rudy Stankowitz of Aquatic Facility Training and Consultants — discussed recommended CYA levels and how pool pros should manage them. The highly technical discussion drew a standing-room-only audience and continued well past the allotted hour.

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