interest in aquatics was sparked by a big pipe that squirted water
around a playground at the Newark, N.J., housing projects where she
grew up. Friends and family would spread a picnic blanket and lie
on towels on what she calls their “asphalt beach.”
Today, Judith Leblein fondly remembers whiling away hot summer days
by that water pipe, and coming to admire the playground directors
who ran the park.
operations analyst for Beaver Dam, Wis.-based Water Technology Inc.
has spent the past 30 years trying to mold equally admirable
facilities and operators. In the process, she’s become a
popular speaker and consultant, and one of the aquatics
industry’s best-known personalities. Indeed, the sunny
50-year-old embraces the aquatics community like a large family
Leblein works from her home in northern New Jersey, where she lives
with her husband and two teenage stepsons.
of her career came in 2003, when she was inducted into the World
Waterpark Association Hall of Fame. “For a long time, public
parks weren’t taken seriously,” she says, noting that
her induction meant her efforts to bring municipalities to light
were not futile. “That was pretty
it’s still that water pipe from her childhood that underlies
Leblein’s passion for aquatics — and her desire to
spread that passion.
“There’s great social
value in aquatics other than a paycheck,” she says.
“They never know whose life they’re going to touch
through aqua-tics or recreation, and whose life they’ve
changed.” — Rin-rin Yu