Several long-time aquatics professionals have come together to announce the formation of a new industry association.
The launch of the Association of Aquatic Professionals comes on
the heels of the National Recreation and Park Association’s
decision to end its stand-alone National Aquatic Conference. One
goal of the AAP is to launch a new conference next year, said
Farhad Madani, consultant, Aquatic Safety Experts LLC, who serves
as executive director of the new group.
“The difference is going to be this group will be very
inclusive; built for aquatic professionals by aquatic
professionals,” Madani said. The goal is to build unity
between all facets of the industry and provide a resource for those
who haven’t been represented in existing organizations, he
The AAP is officially incorporated and established as a 501C3
nonprofit organization; board members have been named and planning
is underway in a number of areas. The other AAP founding board
members are: Juliene Hefter, founder and consultant, Safety First
Aquatics, LLC, and Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association
deputy director; Charles Logan, director, Texas Swim Center in
Austin, Texas; Kathie Lueker, vice-president, Lincoln Equipment
Inc., in Concord, Calif.; Kelly Schmidt, Anderson Mill Limited
District parks & recreation director and president, owner, The
Parks and Recreation Consortium, and lecturer-adjunct faculty at
Texas State University; Stephanie Shook, senior associate with the
American Red Cross; Mike Espino, aquatics safety and risk
specialist at YMCA of the USA; and Terri Smith, designer, Water
Design, Inc., Salt Lake City. Many have held leadership positions
with NRPA and the NAC.
“We’ve got some pretty big goals,” said Smith,
who was head of the NAC planning committee.
Other plans include work on advocacy and research, which
eventually will lead to creation of a curriculum for
Formation of the new association comes after months of
dissatisfaction with NRPA. It started last summer when NRPA decided
to do away with its branch structure in favor of networks. Then in
the fall, disagreements with NRPA about education and its aquatic
show led Smith and others on the AAP Board of Directors to resign
their positions with the NAC.
“We want to provide a home for those aquatic professionals
that maybe weren’t being served before, or maybe are saying
‘where do we go now?’” Smith said.
Charter AAP memberships are now available to the first 100 for
$40. Regular membership is $30 and there is an agency rate of $25
for additional members from the same organization. Student
membership is $20. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org