Category Archives: Industry Mentions

Are Aquatic Wheel Chairs Flawed?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Regulations for public swimming pools define two primary means of access for aquatic facilities. These are swimming pool lifts and sloped entries.


The reason that these two means of access are designated as primary is that they can provide assistance to a wider variety of users then the secondary means of access. The secondary means of access are transfer walls, transfer systems, and accessible stairs.


One thing to keep in mind when selecting a primary means of access for a swimming pool is the ability of potential swimmers to use the selected means of access independently. The primary goal of the ADA is to create an environment where people with disabilities can independently participate in society. This is why one of the requirements for swimming pool lifts is that they be capable of independent operation. Sloped entries are a primary means of access, and serve as an excellent way to enter and exit a pool for ambulatory swimmers. Sloped entries are much safer than either steps or stairs, especially for seniors.


Some wheelchair users, however, may have a difficult time trying to independently enter a swimming pool using a sloped entry. The combination of the slope plus the added buoyancy and friction created by the water, make independently exiting a pool a real challenge for wheelchair users. Additionally, the design of most aquatic wheelchairs compounds the problem, by creating additional instability.


Please see the attached two videos that demonstrate the problems discussed in the previous paragraph. The first video shows the general problems with trying to independently use a wheelchair on a sloped entry. The second video was shot to present a better designed aquatic wheelchair. The second video was shot while the wheelchair was in its design phase.


In conclusion, sloped entries are wonderful means of access for ambulatory swimmers.  However, keep in mind who will be using this means of access, as it may not be the optimal way for some wheelchair users to get into a pool.

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PPG Commodity Chemicals Business Merger

Effective January 28th, 2013, PPG Industries, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA) manufacturer of the Accu-Tab® Chlorination Systems separated from its commodity chemicals business which was then  merged with Georgia Gulf Corporation (Atlanta, GA) to form a  new company, Axiall Corporation.  Axiall is expected to have annual revenues of approximately $5 billion and be the third-largest chlor-alkali producer and second-largest vinyl chloride monomer producer in North America.   

The Accu-Tab calcium hypochlorite tablet chlorination system brands are now part of Axiall Corporation’s Water Treatment business unit.  The calcium hypochlorite management, customer service, sales and technical teams remain unchanged; effective January 28th the chlor-alkali and derivative employees of PPG became employees of Axiall. In addition, the PPG calcium hypochlorite manufacturing plant, including the employees, will now become part of Axiall; the product availability as well as the Accu-Tab distribution and specialist networks remain intact. To learn more about the Accu-Tab chlorination systems click here.  View the official Press Release.

Deborah Phelps to Keynote 2013 World Aquatic Health Conference

Counsilman – Hunsaker will be sponsoring Deborah Phelps Keynote session at the World Aquatic Health Conference to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 16 – 10, 2013. Ms. Phelps, an educator and author of the book, A Mother for All Seasons, is also America’s most well-known “Swim Mom”.  She is a highly sought after motivational speaker who addresses a range of topics related to education, child development and life lessons. Ms. Phelps is currently Director of the Education Foundation of the Baltimore County Public Schools and has earned significant honors for her business and community work. Counsilman – Hunsaker looks forward to welcoming Mrs. Phelps to the World Aquatic Health Conference.

NSPF Evolves to Foster Greater Impact

The Board of Directors for non-profit      National Swimming Pool Foundation® elected new officers, announced the retirement of one Board member, and appointed three new Board members. All changes took effect on November 1, 2012.

Mr. D. Scot Hunsaker, President, Counsilman-Hunsaker & Associates, St. Louis, Missouri, was elected President of the Board. He succeeds Mr. John Puetz, Director of Technology at Advantis, a Lonza Company. Ms. Franceen Gonzales, Vice President, Risk Management, Great Wolf Resorts, Madison, Wisconsin serves as Secretary and Mr. G. Bruce Dunn, President of Mission Pools, Escondido, California serves as Treasurer. Mr. Don Witte retired, and the Foundation thanks him for his nine years of wisdom and dedication.

The Board and CEO Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., welcomed new members Mr. Rob Butcher, Ms. Diane Dahlmann, Mr. William Kent, and Judy LaKind, Ph.D. They join a Board that governs the Foundation’s activities as they continue to further the organization’s mission. “The National Swimming Pool Foundation has a 47-year history of enhancing healthier living by increasing aquatic activity through education and research,” said Mr. Hunsaker. “The new members’ unique skills complement the existing Board’s talents to help NSPF continue to define and refine strategic goals and grow in our impact,” he added.

“Our Board brings together strong minds and caring hearts that set our future course and act as our conscience. It is an honor to serve under their direction,” stated Dr. Lachocki.

Meet New Board Members

Rob Butcher is Executive Director of USMS, a swimming national governing body that caters to adults aged 18 and over. USMS, with 58,000 members, is organized with 1,000+ facilities offering Masters programs at 52 Local Masters Swimming Committees (LMSCs). Mr. Butcher is also a competitive swimmer, is recognized for his community activism, and is well connected throughout the sports and swimming world. Since he joined USMS, he has positioned the organization to be a leading advocate in the continued growth of swimming.

Diane Dahlmann, M.S, is the Director of Recreation Services & Facilities, Director of Mizzou Wheelchair Sports, and available on call for the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Faculty at University of Missouri-Columbia. She brings 30 years of successful, creative, visionary experience in leading organizations to implement award-winning services, programs, education, facilities and events that serve communities and organizations. 

Mr. William Kent has been Owner/President of Team Horner, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida since 1972. Mr. Kent was welcomed back to the Board after a one-year departure. His extensive leadership experience in the recreational water industry will continue to help NSPF achieve its mission. Mr. Kent served as President of National Swimming Pool Foundation Board of Directors; he has also Chaired the NSPF Grants Committee and held other leadership positions with the Foundation. Over the years he has served as President of the industry trade association, NSPI (now APSP), and held numerous positions at the Chapter, Regional and National level. He has been recognized many times, including as Man of the Year in Florida, the Florida Hall of Fame, Presidential Honor Award by ISHOF, the US Department of Energy, and TEC Innovation Award.

Judy LaKind, Ph.D., President of LaKind Associates, LLC, is a health and environmental scientist with expertise in strategic risk management, assessment of human exposure and health risks, biomonitoring, scientific and technical analysis for regulatory and state-of-the-science reviews. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine. 


Bench Strength

Counsilman – Hunsaker continues to expand its ownership structure to support the future of the aquatic industry. 

Since our beginning in 1970, the Counsilman – Hunsaker team has combined the art of innovation and the science of swimming to create the best aquatics centers in the world.  To build on this strong foundation, in the late 1990’s we created a leadership structure that re-invests in the future of the firm and industry.  Unlike many aquatic design firms with a single leader, Counsilman – Hunsaker has created a studio team approach in leading the company, harnessing the collective knowledge of the members in producing the best deliverables in the industry, and empowering all team members to own their project solutions and influence the firm’s decision making.  This modern and adaptive leadership structure has attracted the best of the industry including world record holders and leaders from some of our competitors.

In the mid 2000’s the firm had 11 shareholders with 3 classified as major shareholders.  Building on this foundation of success, the firm has recently increased the number of major shareholders.  These include Doug Cookand Scott Hesteras existing major shareholders with the addition of Carl Nylander, Kevin Post, Jeff Nodorft, and Darren Bevard.  Each of these individuals is a leader in the field and is the future of our firm for many years to come.