Sometimes regulation is a good thing, and other times it’s not. In the past several decades, the number of nonprofit groups representing trade associations has grown considerably to address that duality. This corresponds directly with the expansion of government.

As part of that trend, the pool and spa industry has increased its advocacy involvement. But have you taken an active role in the process?

If left unchecked, public policy will serve the biggest and strongest interests, which too often means those with financial influence. What can you, as an individual member of the industry, do to get involved in the greater good and be part of a proactive effort? Too many of us sit idly by, reacting only after the fact.

First and foremost, it’s vital for industry members to work together and speak with one voice. A grass-roots, boots-on-the-ground approach is fundamental to our industry’s success.

This can be as simple as volunteering your time to work with a local building department in resolving a code interpretation, or writing to your legislators, or even alerting an advocacy group of an issue before it occurs.

Working to build relationships with government officials is key — they need to know who we are and that the pool and spa industry is an active participant in laws that will regulate us. Hold a “Meet Your Building and Health Inspector” event, or take a contingent to your state’s capitol. Developing these relationships before a crisis hits is vital, as we want them to come to us for our expertise when pool and spa legislation surfaces. If you don’t have a seat at the table, you may be on the menu, so get involved.

This is your industry, and you as an individual have a very real stake in the outcome of every regulatory battle being fought and each standard that is developed. Laws and regulations that are passed without consideration of their effect can burden you with unreasonable restrictions. It’s fitting this column is called “Voice of the Industry,” because voicing our position and our concerns to those who regulate us is imperative. I am not the voice of this industry — we all are.