What’s not to love about Long Beach, Calif.? Cool ocean breezes, white sands, top-notch restaurants, a world-class aquarium and, of course, the famous Queen Mary ocean liner-turned-hotel, which also boasts interesting exhibits and eateries.
There’s certainly no lack of things to do. And for pool/spa service and building professionals, there will be another must-see event in March.
The 37th Annual Western Pool & Spa Show returns to the coastal city on March 12-14. Organizers expect between 9,000 and 10,000 attendees to fill Hall C of the newly renovated Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. Indeed, people come from near and far for the show, says Peter Haverlation, WPSS vice president and owner of Peter’s Pool Service in North Hills, Calif. He notes that attendees have hailed from 32 states, even from as far away as Massachusetts and New Jersey. “Of course, they like California and, I hope, the educational program,” he says with a laugh.
“I worked hard to get over 30 new classes this year,” Haverlation adds. “We wanted to offer things that folks would enjoy and attend.” With 84 sessions slated for the 2015 event, that shouldn’t be a problem. The sessions are historically well-attended; in 2014, for example, 850 people took classes.
As for the 72,000-square-foot exhibit hall, Haverlation says booths are selling well. The space holds up to 220 booths of varying sizes, and attendees can expect to see an array of pool and spa equipment and devices of particular interest to the service and construction trades.
Speaking of the show floor, a new policy is being implemented this year. While admission is still free for those who register online, there will be a nominal fee of $5 for those who do not. It is in keeping with organizers’ desire to encourage folks to register on the WPSS website.
Besides the exhibits and seminars, organizers are bringing back favorites such as the daily drawings for choice prizes, which lead up to the much-anticipated truck giveaway on the last day of the show. Also, for the fifth consecutive year, a putting green will be set up in the exhibit hall. For exhibitors, there will be a welcome party right before the show floor opens on Thursday night.
To register for the show and to get information about seminar fees, visit www.westernshow.com; to learn about local attractions, go to www.visitlongbeach.com.
The extensive educational program has something for industry newcomers and veterans alike. This year, there are 84 sessions covering technical and business topics — and 37 of the classes are new. Also, this show may well offer more classes conducted in Spanish than any other, with 10 sessions for 2015.
WPSS’ Peter Haverlation says it’s hard to say which seminars will be most popular this year because “almost any chemistry class is popular, and not just because there are a lot of newcomers in the service business every year either. There may be confusion, or maybe people are having trouble solving problems. A lot of folks forget algae is a living organism that adapts very quickly. We must find new ways to kill it.”
So it is that there are two new classes focusing on basic algae control, in English and Spanish — plus four basic water chemistry seminars, an advanced water chemistry course, and a session on water maintenance myths.
Of course, there are other technical seminars, too. The lineup includes courses on electricity, variable-speed pumps, hydraulics, motor repair, gas pool heater installation and repair, plaster issues, acid washing and much more.
On the business side, you’ll find sessions on how to run a successful enterprise in any economy, how to avoid claims court, and ways a service technician can improve his/her profits and visibility.
New classes on the docket this year include “The Hidden Secrets to a Stain-Free Pool”; “Tips & Tricks for the New Pool Professional”; “How to Install and Repair Tiles”; “Using Quick Books to Run Your Pool Service Business” — to name just a few.
There’s also the “Open Forum, Pool Guy Round Table” on Saturday, noon to 1:45 p.m., where a panel of experts will answer audience questions.
The 10 seminars conducted in Spanish will cover the following topics: heater repair tools and tips, basic algae control, and business management on Thursday; heater troubleshooting, chlorine generators, gas pool heaters, and an introduction to QuickBooks on Friday; and hydraulics for service pros, basic chemistry, and variable-speed pumps on Saturday.
Finally, when it comes to education, Haverlation cannot stress its importance enough. He says some technicians skip the classroom because they believe they know everything they need to know. “I’ve been doing this for 45 years, and I don’t know everything!” he says, adding that it’s still a business and just because one has technical skills doesn’t guarantee success.
“We try to get people working smarter, not harder,” Haverlation concludes.
CALLING ALL GOLFERS
It’s year five and the WPSS putting green has become “wildly popular,” Peter Haverlation reports. Located near the back of the exhibit hall, the nine-hole course costs just $5 to play. The proceeds will be split 50/50, with half going to the winner and half to the California Pool & Spa Association, the legislative advocate for the California pool and spa industry.
KEEP ON TRUCKIN'
The truck giveaway is the highlight of the show. By participating in the daily drawings, service technicians get a chance at the grand prize of a Dodge 1500 pickup truck this year.
Three names are drawn on Thursday, three on Friday and four on Saturday. Ten finalists will take home a variety of prizes. The truck drawing is Saturday, around 5 p.m. You must be present to win, and WPSS officials will keep drawing tickets until the winner hears their name called.
WESTERN POOL & SPA SHOW
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, Hall C
March 12-14, 2015
Thursday, March 12
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
CPO Course (fee)
Friday, March 13
8 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
CPO Course (fee)
Saturday, March 14
8 a.m.-1:45 p.m.
IPSSA Water Chemistry Exam
Note: Schedule is subject to change without notice; for updates, visit www.westernshow.com