Connie Sue Centrella, a well-known industry educator, has retired from one platform and refocused her teaching efforts on another, taking her career in a new direction.

On August 1, Centrella retired from her post as director of education at Team Horner, a manufacturer and exporter based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She will concentrate more on international education, as a training consultant working in the Public Health Division of cruise firm Royal Caribbean International.

Graduates of a CPO course taught by Connie Sue Centrella (front, far left) gather on the deck of the Azamara Quest in the Greek islands (photo courtesy C.S. Centrella)
Graduates of a CPO course taught by Connie Sue Centrella (front, far left) gather on the deck of the Azamara Quest in the Greek islands (photo courtesy C.S. Centrella)

“As I got older, I thought I’d slow down a little and not do the day-to-day routine for a company,” she explained.

Centrella will still be teaching on shore. Though officially retired from Team Horner, she will continue to provide educational services to the firm as a consultant. She also will lead technical and business seminars at trade shows such as the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo; The Pool & Spa Show, powered by NESPA; and Everything Under the Sun Expo in Orlando, Fla., as she has for years.

“The industry has been so good to me,” Centrella said. “I’m not giving up my commitment to the shows.”

As if all that weren’t enough, Centrella also is making a contribution on the regulatory front. She is volunteering as a recreational water facilities consultant to assist with the review and updating of the Vessel Sanitation Program, administered by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service. The VSP applies to all cruise ships that enter U.S. ports. Its recommendations are expected to take effect within the year.

In addition to her role at Team Horner, Centrella is known for her work at Keiser University as department chair of Aquatic Engineering Technology from 2004 to 2014. Centrella credits Team Horner's Bill Kent, Ph.D. with making her multifaceted teaching career possible. “He was always so supportive and recognized my passion for teaching,” she said. “He gave me time off to teach on ships.”

Her new career direction appeals to other passions. “I like to enjoy life and take more time to travel the world,” Centrella said. Working on cruise ships certainly makes that possible. In fact, she’s scheduled to teach on three ships in August and four in September in the Mediterranean.

In her role with the cruise lines, Centrella takes part in what is called ship-hopping: She gets off a vessel while in port, gets on another one and heads back out to sea, where she spends five or six days on board. On the ships, she will continue to utilize the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s CPO course while teaching personnel on those vessels that have pools and waterfeatures on board. Since 2010, she has taught officers, engineers and new hires on a total of 46 vessels from the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara lines.

What does she find particularly challenging about leading seminars on these floating classrooms? “Teaching the CPO course in the metric system of measurement,” Centrella said, but quickly added that she’s happiest when challenged.

Indeed, she said, “It’s not a job; it’s an adventure.”