Natalie Livingston
Natalie Livingston

   Elizabeth Kovar
Elizabeth Kovar

Aquatics International is slated to hold its first awards breakfast at the Association of Aquatics Professionals’ Annual Conference and Exposition.
It takes place Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego.

Those in attendance will have a chance to meet the honorees and hear two of them discuss the programs that earned them recognition in the magazine.

“We hope the shared expertise and education will broaden career development in the aquatics field,” said AI Sales Manager Gary Carr. “By providing a live, in-person event, we plan to give aquatics professionals the chance to acquire education from the facility perspective and on a personal level from their peers to help implement innovative and successful opportunities of their own.”

Honorees will include AI's 2014 Best of Aquatics winners, as well as some of the most influential people in aquatics, as named in the 2015 Power Issue.
“AI has recognized influential aquatics professionals and notable facilities of all types for many years,” Carr said. “For the first time, we have the opportunity to bring these individuals and facilities out of the pages of the magazine and beyond a digital website or newsletter image.”

Presentations will come from two San Diego-area Best of Aquatics designees. The Chula Vista (Calif.) Recreation Department was named in the Community Outreach category for its WARN program. Meant to carry the safety message beyond the facility, WARN educates parents and caregivers on keeping children safe around water and what to do in an emergency.

Aquatic Supervisor Elizabeth Kovar will explain how the program, which stands for Water Awareness in Residential Neighborhoods, leveraged the Internet, social media, local pool companies and the fire department to spread the message throughout the community.

WARN was developed after three drownings occurred in the community within a three-month period, but Kovar sees the value everywhere. “It’s not just Chula Vista that has suffered these drownings, but [they’re] nationwide, so if every single pool were to provide knowledge to their community, it would definitely impact the drowning statistics dramatically,” she said.

Kovar also will explain how the department obtained the backing and formed partnerships.

The Wave Waterpark - City of Vista, Calif., was honored in Best of Aquatic’s Management category. Natalie Livingston will show how this team developed a fun program for motivating its lifeguards and spurring them on to their best performance possible.

“We wanted to create a positive work environment and recognize our staff, but do it on a budget and in ways that they like to be recognized,” said Livingston, the facility’s general manager and a 19-year aquatics veteran. “So we do a broad range of activities and programs.

“Our biggest expense and resource is our employees. So my philosophy is to invest as much in them as I can and they will, in turn, do the same for our guests.”

The $25 fee includes the breakfast and awards program. For more information and to register, go to