I've recently returned from Lyon, France, where I attended Piscine Global Europe, a well-rounded exhibition encompassing residential, commercial, outdoor and wellness aspects of the swimming pool industry.

It's a show that really embraces aquatics. Not only were aquatics products well represented on the show floor, but one of the dedicated demonstration areas, Aquafitness, focused solely on showing off aquatic exercise equipment in use. In addition, two of the five categories in the show's prestigious pool design competition showcased commercial pools (Most Beautiful Public Pool and Most Beautiful Pool for Tourism and Leisure).

Another thing the show stresses is its importance in facilitating meetings and networking opportunities. And one of the ways in which it does this is through its Pool Summit, a gathering where leaders of international pool associations and federations, along with the industry’s leading media groups, can meet. This year’s Summit focused on the importance of pools in culture and architecture. But it was at the reception afterwards where I got a glimpse of what the future might hold for a global pool industry.

To backtrack a bit: When I attended this show in 2016, I was able to spend some time with Rich Gottwald, then APSP's president. This time around it was Larry Caniglia. It’s funny, but with all the running around we do at our U.S. shows, it turns out traveling halfway across the world to Piscine Global Europe is the best time to catch up.

Back in 2016, Gottwald was just laying down the foundation for what is now called the World Alliance of Pool and Spa Associations. Now, after watching Caniglia in action, I could see how he just might be the perfect person to make the fledgling group into a relevant organization, one that will serve the global needs of all its members.

The reason? Ultimately, Caniglia is a unifier. He has the unique ability to bring people together in service of a greater purpose. His amiable nature, infectious enthusiasm and years of industry experience will go far in helping to oversee the organization’s growth.

Of course, only time will tell. I’ll be sure to share further thoughts after Piscine Global Europe 2020.