The Foundation for Pool & Spa Industry Education is officially open for business.

But wait a minute, you may be thinking. Didn’t I just see that on the cover of this issue? Why is Pool & Spa News mentioning the same thing twice?

The article that appears up front is an unbiased news report. It would be against journalistic principles for us to write, “FPSIE, an extremely cool facility, just opened in Sacramento.”

But, in this case, I didn’t feel that a by-the-book news story could do the job. FPSIE is an extremely cool facility and deserves to be depicted that way.

For starters, there’s the building itself. The fact that it’s a permanent structure devoted entirely to educating pool and spa professionals gives the place a palpable sense of legitimacy. The very existence of those freshly painted rooms reflects well on the entire industry. FPSIE is here to stay and no doubt will help draw more newcomers into the business in the years to come.

Next, there is the leadership. Michael Orr, Phil Gelhaus, Mike Geremia, Don Aston and many others have invested countless hours bringing FPSIE from concept to completion. Their well-deserved pride is evident whenever they talk about the facility.

Finally, the educational materials themselves add a crucial component to the mix. Many industry members stepped up to the plate with sizable donations of money and/or equipment. The classroom is outfitted with state-of-the-art learning technologies, and their test vessel is the best one I’ve seen. During the tour I took, someone mentioned that the facility had hosted a group of inspectors and one of them looked at the rebar display on the model pool. “Oh, that’s how it’s supposed to be done,” he commented.

But I can’t do the place justice in an editorial column. If you’d like to learn more about this wonderful facility, contact FPSIE by e-mailing [email protected].

Better yet, if you want to help improve the pool and spa industry, consider donating to the nonprofit foundation. FPSIE is still looking for funds to help finance its distance-learning initiatives, and the facility also is in need of certain items, including bleachers and workbenches.

You’d be hard pressed to find a worthier industry cause.