Credit: Pete Bobb/Wiki Commons
Credit: Pete Bobb/Wiki Commons

The California Pool & Spa Association will soon create regional chapters.

CPSA officials have decided to make this move to allow the lobbying organization to operate more efficiently and better attend to more local matters.

The maneuver also may help in the group’s recruitment efforts. The association’s membership roster took a hit during the recession. And though it has attracted more than 160 new members over the last year to combat drought-related restrictions, it needs to further bulk up its ranks. There are currently 400 active members.

“Our goal is to be the voice of the pool industry in California,” said Mike Geremia, CPSA’s chairman of the board. “To do that you need a sustainable membership, and one of the best ways to do that is to create a chapter system.”

Geremia expects CPSA’s first chapter to consist of several former members of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals’ Sacramento chapter — a key location to more effectively lobby for the industry’s interests, as it resides in the state capitol. By aligning with CPSA, Sacramento members are hoping that they might have better leverage with state lawmakers than they had previously.

“The closer you are to the governance, the easier it is,” he said.

CPSA expects next to plant seeds in Southern California.

CPSA leaders stress that it’s not their intention to poach members from other trade groups.

“We are not doing anything to compete with any other association,” said CPSA president John Norwood.

That’s especially true of the Independent Pool and Spa Service Association.

“We are not going to compete with IPSSA, that I can guarantee you,” Geremia said. “They’re too much of an important partner.”

There are no plans to offer insurance at this time — a benefit members belonging to other trade groups enjoy. But Geremia isn’t ruling out the possibility. He said CPSA may eventually explore insurance programs that do not compete with IPSSA’s, which strictly covers service technicians. That leaves the possibility of providing coverage to another segment of the industry — builders.

“I kind of hate to speak to a board that isn’t seated yet, but … if there’s a call for something that serves the builder population, then something may creep in,” said Geremia, who is also the president of Sacramento-based Geremia Pools.

The association doesn’t plan to have its own trade shows or educational program either. Any educational programs would be developed in partnership with other organizations, Norwood said.

In addition to forming chapters, CPSA will restructure to a more traditional association model. It will winnow its 24-person board of governors — which Geremia described as “unwieldy” — down to a more manageable board of nine to 11 directors and several regional liaisons.

The organization is currently looking to fill those board seats.

Norwood and his firm, Norwood & Associates, will continue to manage the CPSA and lead its public-policy efforts.

The move to a chapter-based model comes on the heels of a recent rebranding. The group formed in 1973 as the California Spa & Pool Education Council to thwart a ban on gas pool heaters. It changed its name to the California Pool & Spa Association in 2014.