Steve Barnes, longtime chairman of the APSP Technical Committee, left his post at Pentair Aquatic Products and joined AquaStar Pool Products.

“I think Steve is a perfect fit for our company,” said AquaStar President Olaf Mjelde. “Him having 30 years of experience and a well-rounded [career], not to mention the fact that he’s chairman of the committee, makes a big difference to us.”

Additionally, Barnes has assumed the chairmanship of the APSP-16 committee, which writes the drain-cover standard used to determine compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

For nearly nine years, he was safety and compliance manager at Pentair, the Sanford, N.C.-based equipment manufacturer. During that time, Barnes was a key player on committees that wrote the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ anti-entrapment standard, significantly revamped the drain-cover standard and produced APSP’s first energy-efficiency standard.

“I feel we accomplished more maturing of the pool industry standards than had probably been done before,” Barnes said. “I wasn’t alone. There were lots of us working, but I feel good that I was able to play a significant role, and that was because of Pentair’s support. I will always be proud of what we accomplished and grateful to have worked for a company that’s so committed to going above and beyond for our industry.”

Before his tenure at Pentair, Barnes also served in research and development posts for in-floor pool cleaner manufacturers Paramount Pool & Spa Systems and Caretaker Systems, the latter of which has since been acquired by Zodiac Pool Systems. For two years, he owned a company that designed pool products.

Barnes now will serve as AquaStar’s director of science and compliance, a new position for the San Diego-based producer of suction outlet covers, fittings, chlorinators and other equipment. In this role, he will continue much of his committee work. He also will be responsible for ensuring all of AquaStar’s products are compliant with applicable codes and standards, and will contribute to product development. Barnes will continue to work from his home office in the Tucson, Ariz., area.

One of his first major tasks will be to oversee the design and construction of a new testing laboratory for AquaStar.

“The plans are to build a world-class lab to his standards,” Mjelde said. “It’s important for us to have good data. Without it, you can’t really push the limits of what can be achieved.”

Barnes took the helm of the APSP drain-cover standard committee as Leif Zars, chairman of the committee since approximately 2001, retired from the post. Barnes credits Zars for his ongoing push for empirical data.

“He’s tenacious in the way he kept the committee moving, and it was under his watch that we fixed the big, gaping holes in the standards …,” Barnes said. “Eighty percent of the core of that standard was developed under his leadership. … I found a kindred spirit in Leif when I joined the committee in 2002 because he didn’t like to hear talk — he wanted to see data.”