Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center
Nehrams 2020/Wikipedia Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center

The Everything Under the Sun Expo is on the cusp of a milestone anniversary, but FSPA organizers aren’t waiting until next year to implement new features. When the 39th edition of the show returns to the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center on Feb. 10-13, attendees will find new features, as well as old favorites.

Indeed, around 4,000 attendees are expected to head for West Hall A1-A2 this year to view the wares of up to 250 exhibiting companies. Admission to the show floor is free for FSPA members.

“The number of companies exhibiting is right on track. Booth sales are way ahead of last year,” says Wendy Parker Barsell, executive director of the Florida Swimming Pool Association. “Business is good in Florida right now.”

As for new aspects of the show, organizers think the Conversational Cafes will hit the mark. Scattered around the exhibit hall, each 45-minute round-table discussion will be geared toward a particular sector — building, service, retail or commercial — providing participants with an opportunity to discuss topics affecting the industry, and share ideas and viewpoints. “People say one of the most valuable things from trade shows is being able to learn from each other,” Parker Barsell notes. The Conversational Cafes, she says, offer “something new and exciting for our show.”

More new developments this year: There will be two new awards for service professionals, to be given out at the Welcome & Awards Reception on Thursday, Feb. 11. The event itself will be in a different location this year. (For details, see page 52.)

And another event, the Industry Party on Friday night, Feb. 12, will be held at a new venue: Lafayette’s, a popular Southern-style restaurant and bar, offering great live music.

Among the returning favorites — a must, actually — is the extensive educational program, offered Thursday through Saturday. Free to FSPA members, the sessions include mandatory courses required by the state of Florida, and more targeted classes for pool and spa builders, retailers and service technicians, as well as solar professionals and others.

For golf enthusiasts, the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association is hosting a tournament at Falcon’s Fire Golf Club in Kissimmee on Thursday, with 10 a.m. shotgun start.

And we can’t forget the drawing for products from manufacturers. Winners will be announced over the loudspeaker in the exhibit hall and you must be present to win.

For online registration, click here; for information about Orlando attractions, click here.

Class in session
Education is the backbone of this show, and it’s easy to see why. Florida’s licensing requirements make continuing education a must, so most courses in the lineup offer Florida CILB credit.

With 70 technical and business seminars — 44 of which are new this year — students are sure to find what they need, whether they’re industry veterans or newcomers.

“If you need to, you can get all 14 hour requirements for license renewal at this show,” says Mary Anderson, FSPA’s education program manager. “It’s a great opportunity, besides getting CE for credit.”

Of course, there are bound to be standouts. and she offers some possibilities. Anderson points to “DBPR-CILB Laws and Rules” on Friday as one. And she calls the Saturday session titled “Prescription Opioid Abuse: Risk Factors and Solutions” a timely topic because construction back injuries are commonplace.

Also on her radar is a new class, “Customer Service — Giving the Customer What They Want,” on Thursday. “It’s not only about giving them what they want, but also covers interacting with customers, communicating skills — transmitting and receiving,” Anderson notes.

Another new class, “Green Technologies for Commercial Pools and Spas” on Thursday is a requirement by the state CE program. “We’ve had a lot of inquiries about it,” Anderson says. Speaking of commercial-oriented sessions, there’s “Commercial Subcontract Agreements” on Friday.

Anderson also includes these advanced, required classes on the must-take list: “FBC Advanced Module: ANSI-15 and ANSI-7 Flow Requirements and TDH”; “FBC Advanced Module: Swimming Pool Updates”; “FBC Advanced Module: Entrapment Protection.”

A two-day class, “Florida Public Pool Specialist,” runs Wednesday-Thursday and is approved by the Florida Health Department.

Last, but certainly not least, there will be Learning Labs on the show floor. These one-hour sessions are on Friday and Saturday afternoons and, as of press time, there were a dozen, with more being added daily.

Honor roll
The Welcome & Awards Reception is slated for Thursday, Feb. 11, starting at 6:30 p.m. Instead of a hotel banquet room, as has often been the venue in the past, this year it will be in the convention center’s Exhibit Hall Pre-Function Area.

Wendy Parker Barsell says that’s in front of the exhibit hall, but guests will not actually enter the show floor. “It will create anticipation for the show — it will be more lively,” Parker Barsell notes. Between 100 and 150 people are expected to partake of hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar during the welcome reception, while a DJ spins tunes.

The awards part of the evening will honor industry leaders for their work in 2015, as well as winners of the annual design competitions.

Two new service awards also will be bestowed: Tops in Trucks, which will recognize beautiful graphics on service vehicles, and Service Professional of the year (with multiple honorees from different regions).

Party central
The ever-popular Industry Party will be at Lafayette’s on Friday, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Tickets are required, and the $35 per person fee includes dinner, entertainment and an open bar.

Lafayette’s is situated on the second level of Pointe Orlando, within walking distance of the convention center. It is known for its Cajun-inspired food and excellent live music.


8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Education sessions

8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Show registration open

10 a.m.-4 p.m.
FlaSEIA Golf Tournament
Falcon’s Fire Golf Club
Kissimmee, Fla.

6:30 p.m.
Welcome & Awards Reception
Exhibit Hall Pre-Function Area

6:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Show registration open

8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Education sessions

10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Exhibit hall open

12:30-5 p.m.
Learning Labs
Exhibit Hall

2-5 p.m.
Education sessions

6:30-10:30 p.m.
Industry Party
Lafayette’s at Pointe Orlando


6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Show registration open

8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Education sessions

10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Exhibit hall open

12-3 p.m.
Learning Labs
Exhibit hall

Note: Events take place at the Orange County Convention Center’s West Hall A1-A2, in Orlando, Fla., unless otherwise noted. The information provided is the latest available at press time.