Two months ago, I traveled to NRPA’s conference and trade show in Nashville. It was the first commercial pool industry trade show I had attended since the Before Times, as I call it, and it was, overall, a very positive experience.

To be honest, I was nervous to be traveling again. Since I am in a higher risk category for COVID complications were I to contract it, I was anxious. But NRPA put several safety policies in place that were reassuring: All attendees and exhibitors had to be vaccinated, masks were to be worn at all times, and a COVID-19 screening protocol was implemented every morning before entering the convention center. Compliance was pretty much universal, I think, because most NRPA attendees are public servants and used to putting aside minor discomforts for the greater good.

Speaking of good, it was good to see fellow aquatics folks again! To connect and talk about what’s been happening at your facilities over the past two seasons and commiserate over ongoing challenges was both cathartic and comforting. To know that others were experiencing the same issues and dealing with them the best they could became yet another shared collective pandemic experience.

Since NRPA went so well, I looked forward to October's World Waterpark Association Show in San Antonio. It also did not disappoint! There was a great turnout of waterpark operators and experts, raring to get ahead for the next season. Despite COVID's persistent presence this year, many were hopeful that the 2022 season would be the one to shake off its depressing mantle and let us finally get back to some semblance of normal.

Lastly, November brought the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo back to rare in-person form. While primarily serving the residential pool industry, it was the big show to return for that market and, by all accounts, was a remarkable success. As with the other two shows, everyone was so happy to be at in-person events again, and networking took center stage as folks enjoyed catching up on the last two years.

There’s another reason this month is a good one: We celebrate Lifesavers columnist Pete DeQuincy’s 50th article in Aquatics International. I want to thank and acknowledge Pete for all of his hard work in contributing his expertise and knowledge with us over the years. Every month, he goes above and beyond in writing the column and providing photos to accompany it. Due to his efforts, Lifesavers continues to be one of our most widely read and popular columns. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, Pete!

We wouldn't be able to do what we do without the help of people like Pete. We know that many of you also have the experience and knowledge to better the aquatics industry. So if you have an idea for a column or article, I invite you to reach out to either myself at [email protected] or to Deputy Editor Rebecca Robledo at [email protected]. We’d love to work with you.