Show attendees taking in a class near the Genesis booth. There were a number of classes on and near the show floor at the International Pool Spa Patio Expo.
Scott Younker Show attendees taking in a class near the Genesis booth. There were a number of classes on and near the show floor at the International Pool Spa Patio Expo.

As astute, Pool & Spa News readers may have noticed, I am new to the pool industry. I’ve only been involved for a little less than a year. Perhaps you first noticed my byline appear in our issues as far back as March.

Why is this important?

Well, when the International Pool Spa Patio Expo rolled around in mid-November, this meant it would be my first pool industry tradeshow.

When you ask coworkers about the IPSP Expo, they all say, “Oh, you’ll do a lot of walking.”

This, it has become clear to me, is a wild understatement of the actual amount of walking that occurs during the show. In a sense, it might be considered a lie of omission.

For reference, I wore a Fitbit steps tracker during my time in Las Vegas. Over two and a half days, I walked nearly 30 miles. For a desk-jockey like myself, that is quite a lot. Though, I imagine, for those in the field, 30 miles over three days would be a bit much for them as well.

That said, IPSP was an awesome experience. I saw a number of interesting new products and I was finally able to truly contextualize how big a fiberglass shell can actually be. For some reason, out of the ground, the shell seems far larger than it has any right to.

Most importantly, as the writer for PSN who covers the west coast service technician beat, I was able to meet a number of service techs that I’ve spoken with throughout my first year at the magazine.

On day one, I was able to attend the APSP Service Council meeting, where they discussed several, I believe, exciting possibilities for service pros in the future. Unfortunately, at this time, I can’t speak on those possibilities but I will be on hand to report on them as they become more solid.

Additionally, I met several chapter directors and region directors from IPSSA, including Jason Briggs, Elias Duran and Joe Lukacik. It was great to actually put names to faces and have sit down discussions with people in the field.

I was invited to ongoing IPSSA chapter meetings and hope to attend a few to meet more people in the industry and see the chapter process in action.

UPA’s Steve Homer and Ron Carlson where also at the show. Both were polite and shared their future plans and hopes to grow their service organization, including their new push to incorporate as a nonprofit. They’re good guys and I wish them luck as they work on growing UPA further.

During the show I spoke with several service pros and builders, including Josh Buzzell of Regal Pools in Houston, and many had a similar message for the future of the pool industry: education.

From the chapter levels at IPSSA and UPA to programs via APSP, NSPF and other organizations, there is a push to get more training, more knowledge and more communication out there.

Will this educational optimism produce anything? I believe so, but there has to be solid plans on the ground and at the moment, many things appear to be in fledgling states.

It was an interesting learning experience and I hope next year’s show proves much the same.