Joe Hunsaker
Joe Hunsaker

Joe Hunsaker has spent a lifetime making his mark in aquatics, first as a national level competitive swimmer, and later as a founder of one of the nation’s leading aquatic design firms, Counsilman-Hunsaker. He sold the St. Louis-based company to his son, Scot, in 1999. But before slowing down to enjoy life and spend more time with amily, Hunsaker left one more footprint. He was an original member of the Model Aquatic Health Code Steering Committee.

Hunsaker says he first learned about the MAHC through the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s Board of Directors, a group that he was a member of for more than 30 years. The NSPF helped jumpstart the MAHC project with a grant of approximately $90,000.

“Doug Sackett (MAHC project director) pulled me aside at a board meeting,” Hunsaker remembers. “I guess he thought I was pretty much a proactive person type of person who is willing to speak up with ideas.”

Though health issues and a desire to spend more time enjoying his retirement forced him to resign from the Steering Committee in 2009, that proactive approach (as a college swimmer he hitchhiked from St. Louis to Western New York to train with legendary coach Doc Counsilman, who later became a mentor and business partner) was an integral part of getting the project off the ground.

It was a lot of setting up structure and conference calls, Hunsaker says.

Today he’s looking forward to seeing the whole project as it is completed. The patchwork of different rules has been a source of frustration for decades, he adds.

“Even 10 years ago, just in the state of California, in Santa Clara County you did one thing and in Santa Cruz County you did something different,” Hunsaker notes. “It doesn’t take a very bright person to realize such a situation is out of place in the 21st century.”