Thomas M. Lachocki, CEO,NSPF
Thomas M. Lachocki, CEO,NSPF

It seemed an inevitability. Now it has become a reality — with a twist.

After taking certain steps the past couple years, it seemed the National Swimming Pool Foundation might be interested in forming a new membership trade association. It now has done so by joining with one of the pool/spa industry’s most prominent government-advocacy groups to create The Pool, Spa & Aquatics Alliance.

NSPF Board Chairman Bruce Dunn
NSPF NSPF Board Chairman Bruce Dunn

“I think this brings together the leading education programs, the largest membership organization in our field, and an organization with exceptional skills in government relations,” said NSPF CEO Thomas Lachocki.

Shorthanded as “The Alliance,” this group creates an association joining aquatics and waterpark professionals with the pool/spa industry — firms that build, sell, maintain and repair pools, spas and related products, both commercial and residential.

This development also gains the industry another national, aquatics-specific government-advocacy group meant to help shape legislation, codes and standards affecting pools, spas, waterfeatures and aquatics facilities.

To do this, NSPF joined forces with the California Pool and Spa Association (CPSA), a pool- and spa industry group mainly specializing in lobbying. The organization led the charge in preventing potentially onerous water-use restrictions that many jurisdictions proposed in response to the recent drought. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, it becomes part of The Alliance, though it will do business as CPSA.

The Alliance will operate as part of NSPF and will hire its own executive director at a time to be determined. However, NSPF, a 501(c)(3) foundation, and The Alliance, a 501(c)(6) trade association, will remain separate corporate entities, Lachocki said.

This marks another development in the clear growth trajectories recently undertaken by NSPF and CPSA. NSPF has been expanding its reach since 2015, when it merged with the design/construction group Genesis and officially entered the residential pool and spa arena. Since then, it also has launched a residential service certification program. But the organization now wanted a means to take part in government advocacy, said NSPF Board Chairman Bruce Dunn. “It came before the board a direct point that said, ‘If we’re going to round out the organization in total, this is an area where we definitely are experiencing a void,’” Dunn said.

For CPSA, this arrangement provides a more solid financial base, along with a vehicle to help carry out its intent to broaden into a full-fledged industry association. Though the organization announced this plan in 2015, it had to channel all resources toward combating water restrictions during the recent drought.

The development also allows CPSA Executive Director John Norwood to focus on advocacy. He will take the title of CPSA National Government Affairs Director and is expected to expand his services geographically beyond California and, at the very least, throughout the West.

Other than adding an executive director for the Alliance, the move is not expected to cause staff changes, officials said. NSPF and CPSA will retain their current boards of directors.

NSPF claims more than 120,000 individual and company members, as well as manufacturers and distributors. CPSA has more than 300 members, Norwood said.

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