Pictured (from left): Alan

Beaulieu, Case Braskamp, Bob Czechowicz, Thom Dammrich, Doug

Harrison, Gene Marks and Robert Tucker.
Pictured (from left): Alan Beaulieu, Case Braskamp, Bob Czechowicz, Thom Dammrich, Doug Harrison, Gene Marks and Robert Tucker.

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals is gearing up for its 2012 Industry Summit. The event, titled “Making Today’s Consumers Tomorrow’s Customers,” takes place in Chicago Aug. 14-15 at the Hilton Rosemont Hotel.

“This is an opportunity to bring leaders together to talk about important issues,” said Bill Weber, APSP president/CEO. “The information will be extraordinarily meaningful to everyone.”

In preparation, APSP commissioned The Harrison Group of Waterbury, Conn., to conduct a year’s worth of research, the results of which will be at the core of the event.

The information will help industry professionals budget and plan more successfully in 2013 and beyond, say association officials.

“The APSP invested $150,000 in consumer research not to tell the industry what was or what is, but what the consumer will look like in the future,” said Rich Garbee, summit committee chairman and vice president of sales/marketing at GLI Pool Products in Youngstown, Ohio. “Ideally, they are going to come out of it and say, ‘Wow, I thought I knew the consumer I was dealing with, but there’s a 70 percent piece that I am not clicking with.’”

Sponsored by the Manufacturers Council, the Leadership Summit is geared toward upper management, owners and key personnel. The event will feature seminars and workshops such as “Understanding the New Consumer,” “Top 12 Technology Trends for Business in 2012 and Beyond,” and “Driving Growth Through Innovation.”

The research comes at a crucial time as the industry continues to mature while also competing for customers.

“We need to galvanize the industry and meet consumer needs so five years from now they are talking about pools and spas as something they have on their wish lists,” Garbee said.

This issue will be addressed by the summit’s presenters, including Doug Harrison and Case Braskamp of The Harrison Group; Thom Dammrich, CEO, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Alan Beaulieu, Institute for Trend Research; Bob Czechowicz, Masco Corp., parent company of Watkins Manufacturing; Gene Marks, Marks Group; and Robert Tucker, The Innovation Resource Consulting Group.

“The goal is to bring together the brain trusts to hear information that will impact business, and devise strategies to take advantage of opportunities,” said Lauren Stack, APSP’s director of industry relations.

This year’s summit is limited to 250 registrants, and nearly 150 had signed up as of press time.

“The group already registered is a who’s who of the industry and we want to round it out with a blended approach to include dealers, service techs, retailers, wholesalers and others so they can have their voices heard, too,” Garbee said.

APSP member companies may register up to four attendees; nonmembers are limited to two. For more event information or to register, visit www.apsp.org.