It a meeting held in August, the leadership of the Central Arizona Chapter of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals voted to break away from APSP and form a new organization.
The move still must gain the approval of the general membership.
In late spring, chapter leadership petitioned the national organization to become an affiliate, stating that the chapter had been underfunded for years and needed more control over the books. APSP National declined, but offered a loan of $25,000 to help the group until its APSP Regional Service Center was established. The Central Arizona board then resigned and scheduled the August meeting.
“I think we should take the driver’s seat. I’m tired of asking,” said Barb Eaton, vice president of Cal Plastering Co. in Phoenix, a chapter member.
Approximately 25 chapter members were present. When the vote came, they had three choices:
- Give APSP’s new reorganization a chance.
- Become an independent group.
- Form a new organization, with the intention of ultimately becoming an APSP affiliate.
The group chose the third option because many weren’t ready to give up on the national body. “We need to get together as a unified industry,” said recently resigned Chapter President Kevin Woodhurst. “But we need them to come to us and say, ‘We want you.’” John Mortensen, the former chapter president-elect who conducted the meeting, said that the leadership would canvas the remaining 82 member companies to see if there’s a consensus, then schedule another meeting in September to decide if a new organization would be truly viable.
They will first poll the “Big 5” builders in Phoenix: Shasta Pools & Spas; Paddock Pools, Patios and Spas; Presidential Pools and Spas; California Pools of Arizona; and Pacific Pools and Spas. The membership of those companies is crucial for financial viability. At press time, neither Shasta nor Paddock was prepared to comment about the possible secession. Tim Murphy, CEO of Presidential Pools and also a former chapter president, said his company would support the move.
Prior to the meeting, APSP sent a letter to its Phoenix area members regarding the unrest. It addressed the funding issue. “One of the major goals of this reorganization is to reallocate our limited resources from inactive chapters … to chapters, such as yours, who struggle to meet the needs of a very active chapter and local membership,” the letter stated.
The letter also reminded members that APSP is the largest national organization for the industry. “The more we stay united … the more influence we will have with those who write and enforce the laws that impact our businesses,” it stated.
APSP President/CEO Bill Weber said the national association is willing to regroup in the Phoenix area. “These are good people, but ultimately we have a responsibility to our members in the region, and we fully intend to [fulfill] that,” he said. “If it requires that we establish others to step up and help lead the APSP efforts out there, then we have no choice.”
In the meantime, he said, it will take time for a new organization to gain its legs. “I would hope that would allow us some more time to [show] them what we’ve been trying to demonstrate, that there’s really no need for this,” Weber said.