With 16 years at the American Red Cross and now nearly five years at Chicago-based YMCA of the USA as its aquatic safety and risk specialist, Mike Espino knows large-scale aquatic operations. (The Red Cross enrolls 300,000 people in its lifeguarding classes each year, and the YMCA operates nearly 3,000 local Ys.)

During his time at the Red Cross, he assessed and reworked its lifeguard training programs, an experience he carried over to the YMCA of the USA, where he was one of the staff representatives on the United States Lifeguard Standards Coalition. This multiyear effort brought together the YMCA, Red Cross, and the United States Lifesaving Association to establish scientifically based best practices for lifeguards; the final report was released in 2011.