The Florida Swimming Pool Association and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals are ending their affiliation.
The split will be finalized when the current agreement between the
two groups expires June 30. After that date, FSPA’s estimated
700 members will no longer receive automatic joint-membership in
“Keeping 100 percent of everyone’s dues in the state of
Florida will help us provide more benefits to our members,”
said Wendy Parker, FSPA’s executive director. “We can
spend all of our time making sure our interests are
This was not the outcome that either group expected when the year
FSPA’s affiliation agreement was due to expire June 30. Upon
a request from APSP, FSPA agreed to extend the existing terms for
one more year while the groups renegotiated a new contract.
APSP then sent FSPA a letter dated Feb. 26 announcing that it was
terminating the affiliation contract. The “Dear John”
document was a legal necessity to open the way for the new
renegotiations, according to APSP’s CEO, Bill Weber.
But officials at FSPA were shocked, Parker said. The group had not
been warned of the letter, which read as if APSP no longer wanted a
relationship at all.
Shortly after that, APSP made it clear that this was just a matter
of housekeeping, and the organizations agreed to meet in May to
discuss a long-term affiliation.
But in March, FSPA sent a letter informing APSP that it wanted
complete independence and, in particular, was no longer willing to
give the national association any portion of its membership dues.
At the May meeting, both groups agreed that this arrangement would
not constitute an affiliation, according to Weber.
“We will continue to work cooperatively with APSP, especially
on legislative issues that affect both groups,” said Steve
Bluds- worth, a member of the FSPA Executive Committee and past
FSPA president. “I think it will actually be healthy for both
associations now that our membership is more
For its part, APSP hopes to continue to cooperate with FSPA in
areas of mutual interest as well.
“We have verbally agreed to a new cooperative agreement to
replace the existing affiliation agreement,” explained Gene
Fields, APSP’s chairman of the board. “Our new
agreement will … provide a framework for working together on
areas of common interest, particularly in legislation and
regulatory matters affecting the industry.”
But some think APSP should have taken a different approach.
“I think APSP made a strategic mistake,” said John
Romano, a longtime leader of NESPA who is also on the APSP Board of
APSP now will go without the benefit of the 15 percent to 20
percent of FSPA’s Category 2 dues, which were funneled to the
national organization —a total of approximately $40,000 to
$50,000 a year, according to Parker.
Before becoming an affiliate of the national organization, FSPA was
known as Region 7. In 2000, the group signed an affiliation
agreement with APSP (then NSPI).
Now FSPA will be focused 100 percent on Florida, with less
attention and effort directed at helping out with other issues
around the country.
FSPA will continue to promote the idea of dual membership in the
organizations, said Bill Kent, FSPA’s Affiliation Task Force
chairman. He expects most Florida-based manufacturers to belong to
Yet some observers expect builders, retailers and service firms
with smaller pockets to let their APSP memberships lapse and send
their money only to FSPA.
It seems clear, however, that APSP membership rolls, which insiders
say have shrunk in recent years, will get even smaller.
APSP is expected to move forward with establishing a new presence
in Florida. Essentially, the organization would reconstitute the
old Region 7 as part of APSP proper.
For this year’s renewal campaigns, both organizations are
sending out materials to Florida members for them to re-up their
That would involve canvassing the Sunshine State and competing with
FSPA for members. “They are welcome to do that,” Kent
said. “We’ll see how that works out.”
While the affiliation with FSPA may have ended, APSP has worked out
an agreement with the Northeast Pool & Spa Association to
maintain that group’s status as an affiliate. The new
three-year deal is expected to be finalized soon.