Back in 2005, when we started featuring the Power 25, the industry was flying pretty high. City coffers were full and aquatics seemed to be on a roll: A fledgling new sector known as waterpark resorts was coming into its own; the industry had begun embracing and embarking on important research; and manufacturers were producing exciting new products and amenities. The first Power 25 group was our way of saying, “These people are leading the way. And their vision can help us keep the good times flowing.”
Every year since then, the need for that vision, that inspiration, has become more acute. Nationwide, aquatic funding has dried up, and the industry has been dealt a succession of blows, most recently in the forms of unseasonably cool weather and an unforgiving, arguably unreasonable, federal law. Many industry veterans, including this editor, think it all adds up to more than just the gentle wave of occasional ups and downs. This time, the industry is being hit with a tsunami that will require fundamental change and rebuilding.
This year’s Power 25 honorees represent the people who can help make it happen. They’re our Reinventors — the aquatics professionals we think have the vision, the drive and the know-how to lead us into the next reincarnation of aquatics.
As always, we know they represent a fraction of the people who could be featured. All over the world, aquatics professionals labor in obscurity, fighting the good fight for their local pools, inspiring yet another generation of lifeguards to take to the stands with vigilance, or devising ingenious designs to make facilities more safe, fun and healthy.
These are the people I want to recognize today. And it’s all thanks to a reader who reminded me of something very important: Aquatics is a profession that’s built on mentors.
Think about it.
People certainly don’t get into aquatics for the money, or the fame, or the recognition. They get into it because they love aquatics. Why? Because they’ve been inspired by someone else who loves aquatics — they’ve seen through these people’s, actions, words and deeds what it means to make a difference in a community, a facility, a life.
So, as you think about what it means to reinvent aquatics, I hope you’ll remember that you’re as much a part of the solution as anyone else featured in this year’s Power 25. You have the power to make change happen. You have the ability to inspire a new generation of aquatics professionals.
In that spirit, I want to know: Who inspired you? Who was your mentor? Please go toAI Connect and share your stories in the blog titled, “Who’s Your Inspiration?”
The more stories we get, the more that inspiration will flow, and the more everyone will realize that reinventing aquatics is more than just a slogan or an idea. It’s a life’s calling.