The Independent Pool and Spa Service Association, which has created more opportunities for its members and chapters to earn recognition for excellence, has now chosen the winners for its new awards.  IPSSA Chapter of the Year Region 7 San Diego Metro Chapter The Region 7 San Diego Metro Chapter is focused on inspiring other IPSSA members and service professionals throughout the industry. The chapter raised over $21,000 from several auctions and a regional picnic with funds going to the San Diego Drowning Prevention Foundation, two swim schools, a gift to a longtime PEP employee who recently passed away from cancer, gift cards to a family in the area who lost their home to a fire, donations to homeless students as well as funds to several other San Diego charities.  This chapter qualified for the award because 100% of its members have completed compliant water chemistry courses, provided sick route coverage for their members and members in nearby chapters, and it was also one of two IPSSA chapters to increase membership. See also The Pool Professional of Tomorrow Award Aden Dunne, Classic Pools & Spas, Encinitas, California  Having been raised in the industry, Aden Dunne exemplifies the IPPSA core values of community, education and support. Dunne works constantly to ensure members are updated on the latest technology and supports them as they further their education. These awards will be officially presented at the Weekend of Inspiration, which will take place at The Westin Long Beach in Long Beach, California, on Feb. 3-4. More information about how to join an IPSSA chapter can be found at
Helios Technologies, Inc., a global leader in motion control and electronic controls technology, announced its operating company Balboa Water Group has introduced the Clim8zone II technology. Master Spas has partnered with Balboa exclusively to use the technology for its Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tubs. The Clim8zone II’s auto-smart mode uses artificial intelligence and sensors to automatically adjust the compressor speed while offering quiet accelerated heating or cooling of spa water. The result is a drastic reduction in the cost of maintaining the hot tub’s desired water temperature while using less energy. “Clim8zone II is about half the size of its first-generation counterpart and remains the most energy-efficient and cost-effective way to heat or cool the water of your spa,” says Josef Matosevic, president and CEO of Helios. “ See also Additional features and benefits of the Clim8zone II include: Functions at low ambient air temperatures (- 5°C/- 23ºF) in colder climates Variable speed compressor with smart algorithm Operates quietly at less than 45dBA Operates from the SpaTouch3 panel or remotely from smartphones Fully integrated with the BP Systems and uses the same spa heating pump as the spa’s traditional electric element heater Features a typical energy efficiency of five times a traditional spa heater and may reach up to 10 times in certain operating conditions, using less energy to keep the water hot One heat pump efficiency mode setting: auto smart mode as default, which features high energy-efficiency Allows the spa user to set the spa BP Control System to use the Clim8zone Heat Pump alone, the spa’s traditional electric element heater alone or both simultaneously 19.6 inches long, 19.5 inches wide, and 19.1 inches high
Jerry Pasley, CEO of Bullfrog Spas, has announced his retirement, effective December 31, 2023. Since assuming the CEO role in early 2011, Pasley has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s trajectory and establishing Bullfrog Spas as an industry leader. Pasley remains dedicated to Bullfrog Spas’ mission and intends to retain his responsibilities on the company’s board of directors where he will serve for a time as executive director to ensure a smooth and successful transition. In light of Pasley’s retirement, Bullfrog Spas announced the promotion of Dan Sjoblom to the position of CEO. Sjoblom has most recently served as president and has led efforts in marketing, sales, retail, product development and operations during his 14 years with Bullfrog Spas.
The PHTA announced the winners of its 2023 awards. The winners are: Builder of the Year PHTA immediate past chairman Charlie Claffey, Connor Gibbs, Edward Gibbs, PHTA chairman Joe Laurino and Peter Friis Edward Gibbs, Gib-San Pool & Landscape Creations The Builder of the Year Award is peer-nominated and given annually to one PHTA builder member who has advanced the pool-building profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry. Edward Gibbs has a lifetime of experience in the pool industry and has proven himself as a leader through his active involvement in industry associations as well as his business management strategy. He is a past president of the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada and received its Industry Achievement Award in 2011. Gibbs is also a past chairman of the Master Pools Guild and currently serves as a member of its executive committee. He believes in the power of education and continually invests in training his employees. Service Professional of the Year PHTA immediate past chairman Charlie Claffey, Javier Payan and PHTA chairman Joe Laurino Javier Payan, Payan Pool Service, Inc. The Service Professional of the Year Award is peer-nominated and given annually to one PHTA service member who has advanced the service profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry. Javier Payan has over 35 years of experience, during which he has developed a deep understanding of the pool business. He is committed to providing his customers with the highest quality service possible. Payan Pool Service, Inc. has been named one of the top 50 pool service providers in the United States every year since 2019. In the last year alone, the company has completed 3,200 repairs and upgrades, 21,000 cleanings and maintained 10 million gallons of pool water each week. Payan currently serves as president of the PHTA San Diego chapter. Young Professional of the Year PHTA chairman Joe Laurino, Lance Irby and PHTA immediate past chairman Charlie Claffey Lance Irby, Premier Pools & Spas – Sacramento The Young Professional of the Year Award is peer-nominated and recognizes a forward-thinking leader under the age of 40 who will be the voice for the next generation of pool and spa professionals. Lance Irby is a detail-oriented and goal-driven professional. He has proven his ability to implement business plans, meet deadlines, hit targets and achieve critical sales objectives. He has worked for Premier Pools & Spas for more than 10 years and earned his Certified Master Pool Builder & Design Professional designation from PHTA and GENESIS. Irby can excel at all facets of the business, from developing client relationships to designing and constructing beautiful pools. Retailer of the Year LOU president and CEO Dan McManus, Travis Hogan, PHTA chairman Joe Laurino and PHTA immediate past chairman Charlie Claffey Travis Hogan, Fiesta Pools & Spas LLC The Retailer of the Year Award is peer-nominated and recognizes one retailer who has advanced the retail profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry. This award is sponsored by LOU.See also Travis Hogan purchased Fiesta Pools & Spas in 2005 and, for nearly 20 years, has kept the company on the leading edge of the industry by continuously networking and learning from colleagues, builders, manufacturers and suppliers. Hogan and his retail team attend many meetings and training opportunities to learn about new products and services they can offer their customers. Fiesta Pools & Spas has been the recipient of the Master Pools Guild Leading EDGE Award. Hogan shares his expertise with others by serving on the PHTA Retail Council. Volunteer of the Year PHTA chairman Joe Laurino, Bob Blanda and PHTA immediate past chairman Charlie Claffey Bob Blanda, Mill Bergen Pools The Volunteer of the Year Award is bestowed upon one person each year who has made distinguished contributions that raise professionalism in the aquatic community through their volunteering with PHTA. Bob Blanda is a long-time member of the PHTA and has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles, including chair of the PHTA education committee, three-time chair of the PHTA metro chapter and member of the PHTA board of directors. He is a generous mentor and teacher who is always willing to share his knowledge with others. He will be taking on a new volunteer role in 2024 as the builders’ representative on the PHTA Technical Advisory Council. Blanda is a tireless advocate for the industry with an unmatched passion and enthusiasm. Chapter of the Year PHTA chairman Joe Laurino, Dan Lenz, Nadine Nuzzo, Melanie Brzozowski, Mallory Bjekich-Wachowski and PHTA immediate past chairman Charlie Claffey PHTA Midwest Chapter The Chapter of the Year Award recognizes one chapter that has set a stellar example for the organization, advancing and enhancing the industry through strong leadership, community outreach and providing its members with the highest quality of programs, activities and services. The PHTA Midwest chapter serves as a model for other chapters through its strong leadership, increased activity and creative member engagement programs. The chapter has a strong focus on raising the professionalism of the industry through thoughtful networking focused on best practices and educational programs that improve its members’ knowledge and skills. The chapter hosts dinners, an educational spring training event, design contests, service awards and much more.
AquaStar Pool Products, a designer and manufacturer of pool equipment, has promoted Todd Pieri to the role of president.  A veteran of the pool industry, Pieri joined AquaStar in 2010, holding several sales leadership roles before being promoted to chief operating officer in 2021.  See also “[Pieri] has been an integral part of AquaStar’s success, and we are thrilled to elevate him to president,” says Olaf Mjelde, CEO and founder of AquaStar.  As president, Pieri will oversee all facets of the operation. He will work closely with leaders across the organization to execute strategies that will enable AquaStar to continue its growth trajectory.  
Bathing Brands, North America’s largest distributor of experiential bathing products, announced Mark Raisanen as its vice president of retail programs. Over his three decades at Saunatec, Finnleo and Sauna360, Raisanen held the roles of regional sales manager, national sales manager, general manager and director of sales and marketing, among others.  Raisanen credits his Finnish heritage for his original passion for sauna. All four of his grandparents were born in Finland, where sauna is a way of life, and he is thrilled to get back in the business of sharing the benefits of sauna and heat bathing.
APi Water, Inc., a specialty manufacturer of stable oxidizer treatment products, announced Jody O’Grady has been appointed as director of commercial sales. O’Grady has multiple decades of experience including large account and product management, sales representative management, technical solutions and customer experience. See also She is also the current chair of the Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee for the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and was recently elected vice-chair of its Technical Advisory Council. In 2022, she received the Chairman’s Award. Tasked with managing and growing the EZPRO lineup of commercial water care products, O’Grady will work closely with the company’s manufacturer sales representatives’ group, The Grit Game, to promote the products to recreational water facilities and institutions.
Backyard Leisure, a leading retailer in premium hot tubs and swim spas, launched its fourth store in Peoria, Illinois, on July 28. Backyard Leisure currently operates four showrooms; three located in Illinois — Springfield, Champaign and Peoria — and one in Terre Haute, Indiana.  For more information about Backyard Leisure and its newest hot tub store, visit
Bathing Brands, North America’s largest distributor of experiential bathing products, has announced Rob Neal is joining the company as director of dealer development.  Neal began his career in 1983 in the hot tub industry selling HotSpring Spas in Denver, Colorado, and San Diego, California. He later joined Watkins Manufacturing Corp. as a regional sales manager in 1989 and crossed over into the sauna industry in 2008.

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