AQUA 2023 Year in Review: News & Trends

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As we say goodbye to 2023, let's take a look back at some of the big news and noteworthy trends in the pool and spa industry that defined this past year.

1. AQUA hosted the inaugural AQUA Live 2023 Leadership Retreat in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which brought together top-level managers and leaders among the pool/spa industry for three days of education and networking to help take their businesses to the next level.

2. The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance announced a partnership with Cornell University to deliver a private, leadership-learning experience. In a series of four on-demand courses and two live-virtual events, attendees learn necessary leadership and management skills to elevate their career. 

3. The Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) certification program celebrated its 50th anniversary. In the last five decades, more than 500,000 pool, spa and hot tub industry professionals have earned this certification, awarded exclusively by PHTA.

4. The National Water Safety Coalition celebrated is 20th anniversary. Since 2023, members of the Coalition have worked to raise awareness and highlight the importance of public education regarding water safety practices. Float Like a Duck, which also helps to spread the importance of water safety, also celebrated 20 years.

5. The industry saw some major acquisitions this year, including but lot limited to: HASA acquired Orenda Technologies, expanding its product portfolio and geographic reach for recreational water treatment; Watkins acquired Sauna360 to further expand into the wellness category with saunas and steam showers; Heritage Pool Supply announced the acquisition of Recreonics, Inc., a leading distributor of equipment and supplies on institutional and commercial swimming pool facilities.

6. AQUA was proud to announce its fifth group of inductees into the new AQUA 100, all of whom are exceptional pool and spa retailers throughout the nation. Each of the retailers showed a deep passion for their customers, employees and the pool/spa industry as a whole.

7. PHTA launched its Business Operations Survey, an annual survey that provides comprehensive, detailed performance information to help companies identify important trends about pool and hot tub business operations. This year's survey showed growth across the industry.

8. ASR, an acronym that stands for "Alkali Silica Reaction," received national attention among the pool builder community this past year. The phenomenon, sometimes referred to as "concrete cancer," is a big deal but can sometimes be prevented via these helpful steps. 

9. The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance introduced the "Work in Aquatics" website, a workforce development campaign and hub for jobseekers to see the great career opportunities available among the pool/spa industry.

10. Devastating fires in Canada sent smoke/ash into the air, introducing dangerous pollutants and making pool maintenance more difficult, as well as effecting the air quality throughout the northern United States.

11. Due to an excess of exceptional submissions, AQUA was able to increase its winner categories in the annual Truck & Van Contest. It was an honor to celebrate these companies for their outstanding work vehicle designs.

12. Pool Nation hosted its second annual Women's Summit Networking Event at the Heritage headquarters in McKinney, Texas. Women within the pool/spa industry had the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, while simultaneously acquiring new business skills.

13. PHTA announced its second apprenticeship program, the PHTA Registered Pool Installer Technician Apprentice Program, with support from the U.S. Department of Labor, to help educate and train the next generation of pool builders.

14. A pool service technician tragically died while servicing a residential pool when a swimming pool filter top popped off, shooting up and shattering his skull. 

15. The 2023 Awards of Excellence program celebrated the top pool/spa builders and designers in the world, showcasing over 100 backyard universes, centered on water. 

16. California proposed new regulations impacting pools. If enacted, the new law would force water suppliers to reduce water consumption by 20%.

17. Pleatco announced the winners of the 2023 Pool Tech Search. These outstanding individuals stood out in the pool and spa industry, and were nominated and voted for by their peers.

18. GENESIS celebrated its 25th anniversary. The organization looked back on a movement that changed the pool/spa industry.

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