The Monterey Bay Aquarium

attracts approximately 1.8 million visitors annually — and

this month, some are bound to be PIE attendees. If you plan to

explore this world-class facility, be sure to catch the newly

renovated Open Sea Exhibit, featuring old favorites such as green

sea turtles and stingrays, as well as new species such as colorful

puffin birds.
PHOTO BY JOHN LOO The Monterey Bay Aquarium attracts approximately 1.8 million visitors annually — and this month, some are bound to be PIE attendees. If you plan to explore this world-class facility, be sure to catch the newly renovated Open Sea Exhibit, featuring old favorites such as green sea turtles and stingrays, as well as new species such as colorful puffin birds.

Among travelers of all stripes, Monterey, Calif., is known for beautiful beaches, delicious food and a quaint seaside atmosphere. For pool professionals, it’s also famed as the longtime home of the Pool Industry Expo, a trade show geared toward all segments of the pool industry.

The crowds that flock to Monterey for this year’s PIE, which runs from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, will find plenty of learning opportunities, as well as many ways to kick back and enjoy themselves. As the event enters its 25th year, organizers have pulled out all the stops to ensure it has something to offer every pool professional.

Last year’s show focused heavily on “green” technology, and organizers plan to embrace that emphasis even further in this year’s show. In addition, PIE Executive Director Bill Hoy hopes the event’s seminars will help industry professionals stay abreast of the latest legislation.

“We’re really focusing on new governmental regulations this year,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of new requirements coming into the industry right now, in terms of pump efficiency, drain covers and so on — so we want to make sure to address those.”

But regulatory education is just the beginning of what’s in store for class attendees. This year’s show features 47 educational sessions — many of them hands-on — adding up to a total of 105 classroom hours. Technical seminars will cover topics such as water chemistry, equipment repair, automation and electrical engineering. Business sessions will address such fields as employee relations, accounting, marketing and business law.

The show also offers some special certification seminars. Those who wish to run a commercial facility will have a chance to earn their Certified Pool Operator certification; meanwhile, the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association will offer water chemistry certification classes.

Premiering this year is a builder symposium on engineering large pools and waterfeatures, which will review the design of seven major residential projects, focusing on materials and engineering requirements for large structures. Also new for 2011 is a class on pool access lifts and other requirements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Monterey Marriott, which hosts the expo, will provide more than 56,000 square feet of meeting space — and much of that space is expected to be filled. Between the show floor and 27 meeting rooms, attendees will have room to roam, and plenty of sights to take in.

Speaking of sightseeing, the Marriott is just a short walk from many of the city’s popular tourist spots — Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are minutes away. Downtown Monterey — home to many of the area’s most popular restaurants and bars — also is within easy reach.

But show organizers also are planning lots of fun exclusively for the pool industry, just as they have in earlier years. Throughout PIE’s run, they’ll be awarding a total of $2,000 in cash prizes to attendees — $500 prizes will be handed out on Thursday and Friday, and the big $1,000 winner will be announced on Saturday.

It won’t be until the last day, though, that the biggest prize of all is given away. On Saturday afternoon, one special guest will be chosen as the winner of a week-long Hawaiian vacation for two, including all airfare and accommodations.

Also returning this year is PIE’s antique equipment showcase, which collects and displays classic items from throughout the pool industry’s history. Since 1990, this unique exhibit has featured prototypes and one-of-a-kind relics.

Another popular tradition is back to kick off this year’s show: The famous PIE golf tournament. The scramble will be held on Sept. 28 at Poppy Hills, a challenging, top-ranked course winding through the famous Pebble Beach area. The registration  fee for the scramble is $175, and includes a wrap-up awards dinner at 6 p.m. at the Marriott Sports Bar. Space for the scramble is limited, so be sure to preregister at www.poolindustryexpo.com.

All in all, 2011 is looking to be another action-packed year for the industry’s “education vacation” — and if this show is any indication, PIE will be going strong for years to come.