In the crisp early days of October, after months of preparation, the AQUA team bid Wisconsin farewell and headed for North Carolina. It was the launch of a new show, the beginning of a new era, and then, in the blink of an eye it seemed, the first edition of AQUA Live was over.
“What a week!” said AQUA Editor Scott Webb, as the last of the show signage was packed away and the last of the exhibitors cleared out of the convention hall. “It’ll take some time to process everything we learned. Luckily, we have some time before we start gearing up for next year. Right now, I’m just so grateful for the turnout and the enthusiasm. People really brought the energy.”
It all began with inspirational wisdom from AQUA Live Keynote Speaker, Olympic swimming legend Rowdy Gaines. Moments later, the show floor opened, and attendees poured into the aisles. “Quality,” was the descriptor on many lips. Quality discussions, quality attendees, quality take-home ideas.
But AQUA Live was designed for more than education and trade, it was fun. The greetings of old friends rang out all day, and the festivities continued with an unforgettable opening night Welcome Party at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Throughout the three-day event, discussions filled the AQUA Backyard and the classrooms — everything from chemistry to KPIs to pricing strategies — as the industry shared experiences and grappled with the unique challenges facing builders, retailers and service pros.
The photos on the next few pages offer a glimpse into the magic, but in short: You had to be there. It was a special time in Charlotte.
A range of talented industry professionals offered up their wisdom during AQUA Live’s pre-conference and regular education sessions in the convention center classrooms. With topics tailored specifically to the retail, builder and service sectors, there were nearly 50 different selections for eager learners to choose from.
Forget the postcards and knick- knacks: There’s no better souvenir than knowledge. Seminar attendees were able to pack up plenty of newfound ideas and strategies to use in business back home.
Inside the doors of Charlotte’s airy, state- of-the-art convention center, AQUA Live attendees strolled around the show floor to check out new products, share new ideas and create new connections. From water treatment to pool and spa covers, from financial services to vinyl liners, from pool apps to safety products, there was something for every industry professional to explore.
Over in the AQUA Backyard, attendees dropped in for casual education sessions and a few happy hour drinks. Those who completed an AQUA Bingo card — filled with fun tasks to complete — had the chance to win a range of prizes, including restaurant gift cards, Charlotte-themed prize packs, 2023 registration packages and more.
After a day full of classes and camaraderie, AQUA Live attendees flocked to the NASCAR Hall of Fame for an epic Welcome Reception, sponsored by Lyon Financial.
Our AQUA 100 alumni were treated to a special pre-reception event inside the Hall of Honor. As the clock struck seven, a live outdoor band welcomed the rest of the partygoers into the Hall of Fame, where they were free to enjoy countless activities and exhibits (and of course, plenty of drinks and appetizers).
Some got behind the wheel to burn rubber in the Racing Simulator, while others rolled up their sleeves to compete in the Pit Crew Challenge. Countless displays containing uniforms, trophies and other iconic memorabilia dotted each floor of the Hall, allowing attendees to immerse themselves in the stories of NASCAR’s 74-year history.