In a move indicating the group's health, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) has once again created a paid position.

In 2014, facing financial difficulties, the group decided to restructure to remove paid staff and run with volunteers alone. Now, the group has grown enough that it requires more oversight and management. As such, the board of directors has move its president, Adam Katchmarchi, out of his volunteer position and hired him for the paid post of executive director.

"For a while we were a year-to-year organization and now we’re making strides to see what’s going to get us through the next four or five years," Katchmarchi said. “This is an exciting step forward for us. For the first time in NDPA’s history we’ve booked our conferences three years in advance.”

Katchmarchi served on the volunteer board of directors from July 2016 to June 2017 as its president. When NDPA had to eliminate the executive director position in 2014, Katchmarchi was finishing a graduate degree, which allowed him the flexible schedule to take on many day-to-day responsibilities of the organization.

In addition to day-to-day responsibilities, Katchmarchi’s new role will focus on leading the educational conference, sponsorship and fundraising development, growing partnerships, and developing strategies for moving forward. He will be the only paid member of the NDPA.

“Instead of leading the board, now I answer the board,” he said.

Katchmarchi’s role as president will be filled by Melissa Sutton, the group's former vice president. Blake Collingsworth, founder/director of the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation, will step in as vice president.

To fulfill the group's needs, NDPA also has expanded its board to include five new members: ° Kristen Beckworth, Manager Center for Childhood Injury Prevention Texas Children’s Hospital
° Matt Payne, EMT-P, CPR/Drowning Prevention Coordinator Rialto Fire Department
° Dr. John Fletemeyer, Executive Director Aquatic Law & Safety Institute
° Kenneth Gregory, Compliance & Safety Manager, Aquatic Systems, Pentair Water Quality Systems
° Paula DiGrigoli, executive director, NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County.

The 2018 NDPA Educational Conference will take place from April 2-7 at the Marriott Waterside in Tampa, Fla.