Entertainment giant of the Southwest:

That’s what Arlington, Texas, has been called since 

Rangers Ballpark (shown) debuted in 1994 as the centerpiece of a

270-acre complex. Folks heading to town for the Southwest Pool

and Spa Show in mid-February will find plenty of things to see

and do as well.
Entertainment giant of the Southwest: That’s what Arlington, Texas, has been called since  Rangers Ballpark (shown) debuted in 1994 as the centerpiece of a 270-acre complex. Folks heading to town for the Southwest Pool and Spa Show in mid-February will find plenty of things to see and do as well.

The 2011 Southwest Pool & Spa Show is big on training — so much so that most of the schedule is devoted to it. So for those wanting to gain more trade skills and/or get APSP- or IPSSA-certified, the Arlington (Texas) Convention Center is the place to be on Feb. 14-19.

Trade show manager Pam Vinje lists learning opportunities: 26 free technical and business seminars, seven technical certification courses, the Advanced Professional Builders Program and the Texas Residential Appliance Installers License Exam Prep Course.

Then there’s the CPSC Pool Safely training on Thursday, Feb. 17. The three-hour session will discuss what builders, service technicians and aquatics facility managers need to know to ensure compliance with the VGB Act and prevent entrapment accidents.

Vinje says the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals takes its educational responsibility seriously, so when APSP was awarded the ability to host a CPSC training event, it was seen as another way to bring various sectors of the aquatic world together.

“It’s about building bridges, bringing public health officials, public pool operators, and the pool and spa industry together under the same roof,” she says. “Formerly, [the show] was all about the residential pool and spa industry. I’m excited about this expansion of the scope of the show!”

Speaking of the show’s scope, more than 1,200 attendees from Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado are expected to converge on the convention center. Early exhibitor sign-ups were rather brisk, so Vinje says the exhibit hall capacity of 150 could well be reached. 

The show is free for APSP and IPSSA members; $35 for nonmembers. That fee includes two days of seminars and exhibit hall admission. The certification course fees are listed on the show

Website (www.swpoolandspashow.com).

Of course, information will be disseminated outside the classrooms, too. For example, on the show floor are pavilions devoted to VGB compliance and energy-efficient “green” products, as well as a New Products Showcase.

Then there are the APEC Breakfasts on Saturday. Hosted by the Austin-based Aquatic Professionals Education Council, the meetings (one for service techs followed by one for builders) will provide state legislative updates from lobbyists and a round-table discussion of issues important to the industry.

When it comes to education standouts, Vinje cites green seminars, social media marketing classes and the first-ever Pool and Spa Basic Electrical Workshop (Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.). She also points to the Advanced Professional Builders Program, the certification courses and the APEC Breakfasts as must-sees.

“Oh, and the prep course for the Texas Residential Appliance Installers License Exam is extremely important,” Vinje notes. “More Texas industry members need to take it.” She’s referring to the fact that the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration now requires every pool tech performing electrical work in the Lone Star State to obtain an updated appliance installer license — or face hefty fines. To make it easier for techs to fit the prep course into their show plans, it’s being offered twice, on Wednesday and Thursday.

All is not study, however. Look for fun show features such as IPSSA’s Service Pad Competition and the free networking lunch, a light repast that you can take with you while networking on the show floor.

Finally, Saturday night is devoted to honoring the region’s builders and industry members. The APSP Region 3 Design Awards reception/dinner and the IPSSA Industry Awards will unfold at a ticketed black-tie gala in the Sheraton Arlington Hotel, across from the convention center.