Category Archives: Industry Mentions


“United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning.” While this short mission statement seems like just simple words, they are the essence of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s core values and beliefs. The NDPA is U.S. based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a simple mission to attack a complex problem.  According to the World Health Organizations’ Global Drowning Report, drowning takes the lives of an estimated 372,000 individuals each year and countless more experience a non-fatal drowning. In the U.S. specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 3,602 fatal drownings and 9,001 non-fatal drowning victims seeking emergency department care in 2015. With these staggeringly high numbers something must be done to combat drowning and increase water safety.

As mentioned above, drowning is a complex problem due to the multitude of factors that can contribute to a drowning. Swimming ability, supervision, socio-economic status, the environment, and lack of barriers are just some of the factors that can contribute to a drowning. So the question becomes; “how do you effectively prevent drowning?” While there isn’t a magic pill that can prevent drowning, we do know it is 100% preventable. The NDPA believes that we all must work together to prevent drowning and must attack the problem for all angles. The Alliance is comprised of members, partners, and sponsors who all have a vested interested in preventing drowning. This is operationalized by a structure of four distinct internal pillars working together towards a common goal. These pillars include NDPA’s Educational Partners, Corporate Partners, Task Force and Coalitions, and Families United to Prevent Drowning. Additionally, the individual members of the NDPA work in their communities every day to prevent tragedy. By bringing everyone together to fight for a common goal the NDPA believes they can positively impact drowning prevention and save lives.

In addition to their unique structure, the NDPA also hosts the only national conference solely dedicated to the topic of drowning prevention in the U.S. each year. In 2017, NDPA hosted one of their most successful events to date in Pittsburgh, PA. The NDPA is already hard at work planning for their 2018 Educational Conference in Tampa, FL. which is scheduled for April 2-7, 2018. Over 35 speakers have been selected to present on over 30 unique and informative topics. The NDPA has partnered with the Aquatic Law and Safety Institute to host the Aquatic Law and Risk Management Symposium and the International Rip Current Symposium in conjunction with the 2018 conference. The NDPA is also excited to announce that they have selected New Orleans, LA. as the host city for the 2019 conference and Fort Worth, TX. as the host city for the 2020 conference. For more information on NDPA’s annual conference, you can visit

Another important aspect to the NDPA is its leadership. Dr. Adam Katchmarchi took over as NDPA’s newly minted Executive Director on July 1, 2017. Dr. Katchmarchi is no stranger to the NDPA. He served on the organization’s board of directors for 4 years and held past positions of Secretary, Vice President, and most recently as President before taking the helm as the Executive Director. Dr. Katchmarchi is an academic and researcher by trade as he is an Assistant Professor and the Aquatics Director for Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). IUP has served as NDPA’s national headquarters since 2016. Melissa Sutton of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona replaced Dr. Katchmarchi as president this year. She brings years of experience to the NDPA along with a passion for water safety, as Arizona continues to be a hotspot for drowning. Blake Collingsworth of the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation is serving as Vice President. Mr. Collingsworth joined the NDPA after losing his son to a drowning in 2008. The NDPA also has 14 board members representing a wide spectrum of experience and expertise.

The NDPA truly believes that drowning and aquatic injury numbers both in the U.S. and abroad can be substantially reduced. It isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to happen overnight. However, we can and must succeed on this goal. The NDPA will continue to work on new and innovated approaches to drowning prevention and water safety in the coming years. If you would like more information or would like to join the NDPA as a member, please go to or email

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The 12th Annual WAHC, I can’t wait!

As the National Swimming Pool Foundation begins to celebrate its 50th year anniversary, it is busy preparing for the 12th annual World Aquatic Health™ Conference (WAHC). Everything that the Foundation does, helps people live healthier lives. Since its inception, the WAHC has established itself as the preeminent scientific conference for the aquatic industry. There are many things that give me life changing experiences at this annual event. From the inspirational keynote speakers to those individuals that have dedicated their lives to helping others. One of this year’s keynote speakers is Rowdy Gaines, a three time Olympic gold medalist. I can’t wait to hear Rowdy speak. Every time I have attended, the conference has delivered. Sometimes it is hard to choose which session to attend, with so many excellent seminars. As I always tell my colleagues, this is a must attend event if you want to stay on the cutting edge of the aquatic world.

Timely and accurate information is a requirement to make knowledgeable decisions that protect lives and enhance aquatic experiences, which results in more users.  This information is available to owners, operators, manufacturers, and environmental health officials at the 2015 WAHC on October 7th – 9th in Scottsdale Arizona.  The latest in aquatic research will be shared with attendees so you can be prepared for the future.  The 2015 Conference for the Model Aquatic Health Code will also be held in conjunction with the WAHC where recommendations for code improvement will be discussed and voted on.  I encourage you to attend and become one of the most knowledgeable in the aquatic industry.

Networking is key to the success. The WAHC allows for the opportunity to meet and connect industry leaders, scientists, policy makers, and so many more. Bring a stack of business cards with you. Registration for the conference opens at See you there and together, let’s shape the future through aquatics!

PlayCore Acquires Fountain People

 Chattanooga, TN – September, 29, 2014 – PlayCore Holdings, Inc. (PlayCore), a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad range of play and recreation products and services, and a portfolio company of Sentinel Capital Partners, today announced the acquisition of Fountain People, Inc. and its aquatic playground division Water Odyssey.

Fountain People, founded in 1987, is a leading designer, manufacturer, and supplier of architectural and interactive fountain equipment and systems. Their Water Odyssey Division was established in 1996 to provide the market with the highest quality aquatic playground equipment available. Fountain People and Water Odyssey will become a part of PlayCore’s Aquatics Group. Day-to-day operations will continue from Fountain People’s office and manufacturing facility in San Marcos, TX. It will continue to be managed by current President Jerry Elbel, and will be supported by the Aquatics Group management team located in Loveland, CO.

“We are excited about the addition of Fountain People and Water Odyssey to the family of PlayCore brands as well as the opportunity to increase our product offering architectural aesthetic fountain solutions to commercial, recreation, and themed entertainment environments. The company aligns greatly with PlayCore’s mission and values based culture. This expansion of our commitment to the aquatics industry is an important new opportunity for PlayCore and supports our mission of building communities through play and recreation,” said Bob Farnsworth, President and CEO of PlayCore.

Jerry Elbel commented, “We are extremely excited to become a part of the PlayCore family. PlayCore’s commitment to quality, innovation, and excellence blends seamlessly with the core values that Fountain People and Water Odyssey were built on. We look forward to expanding their industry leading product lines as well as our capabilities in support of our distribution channels.”

About PlayCore

PlayCore helps build stronger communities around the world by advancing play through research, education, and partnerships. The company infuses this learning into its complete family of brands. PlayCore combines best-in-class planning and education programs with the most comprehensive array of recreation products available to create play solutions that match the unique needs of each community they serve. Learn more at

About Fountain People

Fountain People, Inc. was founded in early 1987 with the goal of providing a complete package of products and services previously unavailable from a single source. Bringing over 60 years of collective experience, the principals of the firm developed the Total Services Approach to water feature design. Today the company is located in San Marcos, Texas and is a leading designer and manufacturer of architectural and interactive fountain equipment and systems. Learn more at

About Water Odyssey

Water Odyssey, by Fountain People, was established in 1996 with the goal of providing unique and leading edge aquatic playground equipment to the industry. With its strong base in water effects design, Water Odyssey is a leader in innovation, providing a full line of design services and a unique product offering. Learn more at

NEWSFLASH: The 1st Edition of the long-anticipated Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) has officially been released.

Click here to download a copy.

As the MAHC now moves into the next phase, local and state health jurisdictions will be able to implement all or portions of the code as seen fit.  The CDC will work with national partners to periodically update the MAHC to ensure it stays current with the latest industry advances and public health findings.

Conference for the Model Aquatic Health Code:

The Conference for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC; is a non-profit organization and will be the vehicle for recommending code modifications to the MAHC moving forward.  The CMAHC will be suggesting MAHC revisions as well as identifying research opportunities for the CDC’s final determination.

The CMAHC’s role will include:

  • Collecting, assessing, and relaying national input on needed MAHC revisions back to CDC for final consideration for acceptance
  • Advocating for improved health and safety at aquatic facilities
  • Providing assistance to health departments, boards of health, legislatures, and  other partners on MAHC uses, benefits, and implementation
  • Providing assistance to the aquatics industry on uses, interpretation, and benefits of the MAHC
  • Soliciting, coordinating, and prioritizing MAHC research needs

The CMAHC members will meet biennially to gather, assess, and decide on the need for proposed changes to the MAHC. This first meeting is planned for October 2015, which will be 1 year after CDC’s release of the MAHC 1st Edition.

Individuals and organizations can become a member or sponsor the CMAHC and help the organization become the driving force for improved health, safety, and fun at the nation’s public swimming facilities.

MAHC Background:

The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) effort began in February 2005 with the 1st Edition now being completed and published in August 2014.  The MAHC will have a significant impact on the aquatic industry and we strongly encourage all industry members to take an active role in supporting the effort, identifying opportunities for improvement, as well as areas that could benefit from future research as this will be a living document.

The first industry standard was issued in 1958. In the subsequent 50 years, there have been at least 50 different state codes and many independent county and city codes. What was required in one jurisdiction may be illegal in another. It is clear that this historic approach is not working. Thus, the National Swimming Pool Foundation took a leadership position and provided funding to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for the creation of the MAHC and now supporting the legacy and implementation efforts through sponsorship of the CMAHC. The MAHC is intended to transform the patch work of industry codes into a data-driven, knowledge-based, risk reduction effort to prevent disease, injuries and promote healthy water experiences.


PlayCore Announces New Investment Partner

Chattanooga, TN – May 30, 2014 – PlayCore is pleased to announce its acquisition by Sentinel Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm focusing on middle market investments. The company was previously held by Irving Place Capital (IPC).

Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, PlayCore is a leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad range of commercial play and recreation equipment. The Company offers a diverse family of brands and markets custom designed playground, recreational amenities, aquatic, performance, and specialty recreational products. Widely recognized as the industry thought leader, PlayCore’s product offering is complemented with highly differentiated value-added services such as research, curriculum-based education programs, and advocacy resources to help customers align with funding sources.

Under IPC’s ownership, PlayCore successfully executed on a strategic plan to drive growth both organically and through compelling acquisitions. During this period, PlayCore completed nine strategic acquisitions, further strengthening the company’s brand portfolio and enhancing its product offering, entering new end markets, and expanding PlayCore’s reach to a broader customer base.

Douglas Korn, a Senior Managing Director of IPC, stated, “PlayCore has achieved impressive expansion and we have enjoyed working alongside the company’s talented management team to strengthen the business and position PlayCore as not only the innovative market leader, but also the acquirer of choice in its sectors. We wish the company and its management team continued success.”

PlayCore’s President and CEO, Bob Farnsworth commented, “We have been fortunate to work with Irving Place Capital for the last 7 ½ years. They have certainly supported the Company’s organic growth and acquisition strategy and have been instrumental in supporting the success of the Company. We are now very pleased to partner with Sentinel Capital Partners as we take PlayCore to the next stage of growth. Sentinel has a reputation as a value added partner and we look forward to working with them as we continue to focus on the continued success of PlayCore and our vision of building communities through play.”

“PlayCore is an innovative leader and possesses a strong portfolio of leading brands in the playground and recreation market,” said Eric Bommer, a Sentinel partner. “We are very excited to partner with PlayCore’s management team and support the continued growth of this great business.”