Less than a month after losing its executive director, a leading water safety organization has named a replacement.
Kimberly Burgess was appointed interim executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance during the group’s annual symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., on April 13. The appointment follows the resignation of Kristin Goffman in mid-March.
Burgess, who is also drowning prevention coordinator at the Broward County Health Department in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will serve a one-year term while she and others are considered for the permanent position, officials said.
Burgess compared NDPA to a small company with great potential to grow. “I want to help them realize that potential. It’s very exciting to be at the beginning of what should be a really great program,” she said.
The NDPA was established in 2004, and has since become an influential voice for drowning prevention in swimming pools and open water.
Indeed, the scope of that influence is perhaps best reflected in the educational programming it is spearheading under the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely campaign, a byproduct of the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The NDPA was awarded nearly $1.3 million from the CPSC late last year for a range of public relations and training programs targeting consumers, first responders, swim schools, lifeguards, pool industry members and others through September.
The NDPA also is moving to new offices at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale. The board agreed unanimously to accept ISHOF’s offer, which includes the use of office space, meeting rooms, conference facilities and equipment.
“We are thrilled by the amenities the International Swimming Hall of Fame has made available to us,” said Robert Ogoreuc, NDPA president. “We’re really looking to build on the momentum from our speakers and symposiums that have carried us through to this point.”
This year’s 10th Annual National Drowning Prevention Symposium featured education sessions, networking and a trade expo area, with the goal of empowering attendees “with knowledge and materials so they can replicate successful events and educational activities in their own communities.”
Attendees included approximately 120 aquatics professionals and other water safety stakeholders.
Keynote speaker Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the CPSC, spoke about the agency’s role in drowning prevention and VGB-themed education. She also gave an update on the Pool Safely campaign, recipient of the NDPA’s 2011 Lighthouse Award.
“Our goal in 2011 is to realize the full potential of our collective efforts and create a positive change nationwide — a change that results in fewer drownings, nonfatal submersions and entrapments,” Tenenbaum said in her remarks.
Other speakers included U.S. Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines; Tom Griffiths, Ph.D., of the Aquatic Safety Research Group; and Carvin DiGiovanni of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.
“I really feel this is a great start of connecting the pieces of the ‘water safety puzzle,’” said Sue Nelson, aquatic program specialist at USA Swimming and co-chair of the symposium. “I hope people took away the fact that water safety and drowning prevention is very diverse. We all can be an expert in a certain area of the spectrum, but realize how your area might link to another.”