The Independent Pool & Spa Service Association has expanded its presence in the Southeast, adding a chapter in Georgia.

“Every time we can add a new state to our coverage area, we gain more respect as a service industry and as the largest swimming pool service organization in the world,” said Lane Clark, chairman of IPSSA’s Expansion Committee and owner of Big Sky Pool Co. in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Called the North Georgia Chapter, the new branch is located in Cummings, a suburb approximately 40 miles north of Atlanta. The chapter became official in February.

The 12 members of the new chapter hail from an existing organization called the Georgia Association of Pool Professionals. GAPP will remain in existence, though it is terminating its insurance program so members can become part of IPSSA’s.

The new chapter is part of IPSSA Region 11, mostly comprising Florida. However, the association hopes to add more Georgia chapters so that eventually the state can carry its own region, said Region 11 Director Todd Starner.

“We found a lot of interest in other areas outside Cummings, in places like Forest Park, Savannah, Brunswick and Macon,” said Starner, who is also CEO/president of Starner Pools in Bradenton, Fla.

The new North Georgia Chapter is only one part of IPSSA’s expansion plans. By year’s end, IPSSA hopes to double its Florida membership from the current 110, adding chapters in Punta Gorda, Melbourne and Ocala, Starner said.

In addition, IPSSA is exploring expanding to Oklahoma. The organization also is planning an initiative to increase membership in its existing states. “We’re having a lot of attrition just due to age,” Clark said. “So we have to focus on educating the younger people coming into the industry.”

The new Georgia chapter marks the fifth state with an IPSSA presence. The others are California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas.