Three longtime employees of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals recently were let go, and another exited earlier this year, as part of a staff realignment. The positions have been eliminated, according to association officials. Other jobs are expected to be restructured.

“At the end of the day it’s the right thing for the organization and the industry,” said Rich Gottwald, APSP’s president. “I think we’re going to be stronger for it.”

The dismissals, part of a larger reorganization, were needed so the association could adapt to realities such as the shifting economy and industry needs, he told members. “None of the employees are being let go for performance issues. We’re just repositioning the organization for success and growth,” he told Pool & Spa News.

The affected personnel included Bernice Crenshaw, director of standards and technical information, who had reportedly been with the organization for multiple decades. Crenshaw served as a key facilitator in the writing of APSP standards. Gottwald said the organization will not reduce its standards writing: “We will continue to provide the quality standards development … that we always have.”

Michael Reed also has left the company. He served as APSP’s director of professional development for five years and oversaw the organization’s training and certification programs.

“Our education is extremely important to us,” Gottwald said. “We plan to execute the programs we have and deliver them as needed, and I think you’ll be seeing just as much education delivery as in the past.”

The responsibilities of Reed and Crenshaw are to be taken over by Carvin DiGiovanni, senior director, technical and standards, and Crenshaw’s manager. Nina Schwartz, APSP’s education publications manager, also was let go after serving since 2004.

Another staff member, Director of Operations and Strategic Support Terry Brown, was reportedly let go earlier this year. Brown, a past APSP chairman of the Board, worked in the industry before taking the association position, which he held nearly three years. The changes do not mean the organization has budgetary issues, Gottwald said. “That’s not why these changes are being made,” he said. “They’re being made to allow growth and success.”

Still, balancing the budget was named as a primary focus for 2014 in a document circulated to key APSP volunteers. Gottwald stated that he presented the first balanced budget that the association’s finance committee has seen in several years. It will be up for Board approval in June.

The document also showed APSP membership dropping from 4,642 in 2007 to 2,718 last year and cited the precipitous drop in sales of inground and aboveground pools, as well as hot tubs.

APSP has seen major changes of late. Gottwald joined last fall after the retirement of former President Bill Weber. Additionally, the structure of APSP’s volunteer leadership also is changing, with the Board of Directors trimmed from 24 to 9 members who have tighter term limits. Segment-specific councils will see a similar shrinking, and more work will be taken over by small, task-specific committees.

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