On exhibit: Attendees enter the show floor at the Atlantic City 
Convention Center to check out the latest pool and spa products and 
On exhibit: Attendees enter the show floor at the Atlantic City Convention Center to check out the latest pool and spa products and services.

   Class in session: The education program at The Pool & Spa Show, 
powered by the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, offers technical 
and business seminars, plus specialty and general sessions.
Photo courtesy NESPA
Class in session: The education program at The Pool & Spa Show, powered by the Northeast Spa & Pool Association, offers technical and business seminars, plus specialty and general sessions.

It’s no secret that trade shows in northern climes in winter must contend with Mother Nature’s stormy moods. But this year it looks as if organizers of The Pool & Spa Show powered by the Northeast Spa & Pool Association can focus more on the elements that make for a successful event.

For example, everything is in place for a productive show-floor experience. The exhibit hall, say organizers, has been “designed to connect attendees with the companies offering the products and services they truly need to build their business.”

The 2015 show, slated for Jan. 27-29, is expected to draw over 400 exhibitors and 12,000-plus attendees to the 100,000-square-foot exhibit space in the Atlantic City (N.J.) Convention Center.

As for the classroom experience, organizers say that each company in attendance will be able to “create a customized education program for their entire team, from the new hires to the seasoned pros.” The seminar lineup features more than 50 technical and 25 business courses, not to mention specialty and general sessions. In addition, builders and service technicians will want to check out a key panel discussion on Tuesday morning titled “Pool Winterizations and the Effects on Cementitious Pool Interior Finishes.”

Returning show favorites include the Welcome Party, which will be at Harrah’s Pool After Dark for the fifth year in a row. And the NETworking Spot, which debuted last year and provided a relaxing space for industry members to connect and unwind, is back on the show floor as well.

The venerable Product Boardwalk — a staple since the show moved to the Atlantic City Convention Center — can be found once again at the exhibit hall’s only entrance and exit. New and innovative products available from the exhibitors are there for attendees to check out first thing. Indeed, the show has always had a new product area since it began 34 years ago, notes Kelly McKelvey, director of communications and marketing at NESPA.

Admission to the show floor is free for industry members, but to register for a show badge and to buy seminar passes, visit www.thepoolspashow.com.

The 2016 show returns to the venue Jan. 26-28.

Seminars Galore

As always, the education program offers seminars on a variety of topics of a technical or business nature, as well as specialty and general sessions. Among those expected to draw a crowd is “NEC 680: A Practical Guide for Pool Professionals” on Monday. Because the industry is dealing with a number of high-profile news stories about electrical issues in and around pools and spas, The Pool & Spa Show has brought in nationally recognized electrical code expert Mike Holt to lead the full-day session on the ins and outs of the 2008 National Electrical Code Article 680, and the 2011 and 2014 code changes.

On the retail side, expected standouts include “How to Put Sizzle on Your Sales Floor”; “Upselling at the Counter”; “Store Layout and Design — How to Create a Style and Flow for Today’s Demanding Consumer”; and “Improve Your Customer’s Overall Shopping Experience.”

Technical and business

The extensive technical education track covers all levels — beginning, intermediate and advanced. Seminars range from equipment and hydraulics to high-end construction techniques and more. Ever-popular chemistry courses include “Basic Water Chemistry”; “Beyond the Basics: Water Chemistry”; “Spa Chemistry — Differences That Make a Difference”; and “Chemical Safety and Storage for Dealers.” The technical panel discussion on Tuesday, “Pool Winterizations and the Effects on Cementitious Pool Interior Finishes,” will include panelists Greg Garrett, NPC; Ellen Meyer, Ph.D., Lonza; Chas Bogardus, Budd’s Pools & Spas; John Dongell, Pebble Technology Intl.; and Roberto Romano, David Cooke Plaster Co.

Last year’s first technical seminar conducted in Spanish — “Pool Water Chemistry” — went over so well that there will be two in 2015, “Pool Heater Basics” on Tuesday is followed by “Pool Chemistry Basics” on Wednesday.

Not to be outdone, the business track has its share of informative subjects, including “Service Call Scheduling: Make Your Business More Efficient”; “Magic 8s of Selling”; “I Don’t Have Time to Plan, I’m Busy Running a Business”; and more.

Specialty sessions

There’s something for everyone here. Besides the “NEC 680” session mentioned earlier, there’s “The Power of Money: Understanding Your Company’s Finances,” a day-long class on Monday for business owners, project managers and key personnel; a calculator is required.

For the NSPF-certified CPO two-day course on Sunday and Monday, the fee includes a handbook, class materials and exam; a calculator is required.

The National Plasterers Council certification course and exam is all day Monday for industry members who start up the water chemistry and care for newly constructed or refinished plaster pools. Offered for the first time is the NPC start-up recertification review and exam on Wednesday.

Spa & Hot Tub Hands-On Simulator Training will cover troubleshooting spa packs and equipment controls on Monday, and electronic controls for spas/hot tubs on Tuesday-Wednesday. Limited to 30 attendees each; not part of the four-day technical training pass.

The APSP Certified Hot Tub Technician course and exam is a 2½-day course Sunday-Tuesday. Other APSP certification prep courses and exams include APSP Pool & Spa Construction Course, Sunday-Tuesday; APSP Certified Building Professional Prep Course, Monday; and the APSP Certified Service Professional Prep Course, Monday. All exams for APSP courses will be Wednesday, 12-4 p.m.

Note: Specialty sessions require separate registration and seating is limited.

General sessions

For those seeking insights about consumers, especially of the affluent type, there will be an exclusive Market Research Briefing led by Doug Harrison of YouGov on Tuesday. He’ll look also look at industry and consumer buying trends, show how other industries capture the imagination and money of the luxury consumer, where opportunities lie in 2015 and beyond, and more. This free session is open to NESPA and APSP members.

“Stay Informed: Affordable Health Care Updates” is slated for Wednesday. Led by David Oscar of BenefitMall, it will examine how the federal health-care law affected the industry last year, review changes that occurred, the responsibilities of business owners and more.

Registration for seminars and specialty sessions is available at www.thepoolspashow.com.

Welcome Back

Harrah’s Pool After Dark, a popular nightclub in Atlantic City, once again will host The Pool & Spa Show’s Welcome Party on Monday, 7-10 p.m. — and it’s no wonder. The tropical setting encourages guests to relax, network and dance surrounded by palm trees, exotic greenery and a free-form indoor pool. Tables on the ample deck typically are loaded with island-inspired food and beverages (cash bar, with two complimentary cocktails per guest). The $20 cover charge per person is payable in advance during online registration. Guests must be 21 or older and have their show badges to enter.

How Apropos

For convenience, it’s hard to beat the free mobile app for smartphones, available for The Pool & Spa Show. It debuted last year and provides attendee-friendly features such as show floor maps; an exhibitor list (including “visited” tags, request meetings and personal notes); the ability to download a personalized walking map; and more. Updates, notifications and blogs from show management can be accessed as well.

Need info about Atlantic City? The app has that covered, too, providing data about transportation options, hotels and more. To find the app, go to www.thepoolspashow.com.


Sunday, Jan. 25
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operators Course, Day 1

Monday, Jan. 26
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operators Course, Day 2

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
“The Power of Money: Understanding Your Company’s Finances”

7-10 p.m.
Welcome Party
Harrah’s Pool After Dark

Tuesday, Jan. 27
8:30-11:45 a.m.

11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Exhibits open

Wednesday, Jan. 28
8:30-11:45 a.m.

11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Exhibits open

Thursday, Jan. 29
8:30-10 a.m.

10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Exhibits open

Note: Events take place at the Atlantic City Convention Center unless otherwise noted. The information provided is the latest available at press time.