Dr. James Amburgey is a tenured engineering professor at UNC Charlotte with more than 20 years of research experience in aquatics. He has a M.S. and Ph.D. from Georgia Tech and did post-doctoral research at the CDC in Atlanta. Dr. Amburgey always prefers and encourages safer recreational water venues.
Courtni Anderson has 15 years of working with Arlington Parks and Recreation. She is currently the Aquatics Manager. Her responsibilities include operating six outdoor pools, one indoor pool, and four splash pads. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and collegiate softball player, Courtni began her employment with Arlington Parks and Recreation as a Day Camp Leader. She made her way up the career ladder with highlights in Center Programs as the driving force behind the opening of the EAST Library and Recreation Center. Her commitment to the Arlington Community is evident in her career growth.
Kirsten Barnes is Missouri born and raised and lives with her family on the plains of Kansas. As a graduate of the Missouri State University Recreation & Leisure Studies program, Kirsten's career in recreation has included overseeing programs serving a variety of populations including aquatics youth sports leagues, summer camps, senior programming, ice arenas, golf courses, and special events. Kirsten also oversaw lifeguard management at 24 aquatic facilities and water parks with a private management company before taking the reins at a private fitness and wellness center serving over 17,000 members and overseeing a budget of almost $10 million in annual revenues. Prior to joining the Counsilman-Hunsaker team as the Director of HydroApps digital documentation software, she worked with recreation agencies to provide customized professional development and frontline trainings. Kirsten has also spoken at national and regional conferences and has trained frontline teams at facilities throughout the country. She is a Past President of the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association, was a member of the National Recreation and Park Association Annual Conference Program Committee for three years, and is a current member of the Association of Aquatics Professional Board of Directors Team.
Karllee Barton of Solenis, LLC, is a technical expert on chemistry and sanitization for the pool industry and has decades of experience. He serves on the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee (RWAQC) and has given a plethora of presentations at various conferences and expos for the aquatics industry.
Terry Brannon began his career in public works, beginning with the Cities of Irving and Tyler, Texas, before founding The Brannon Corporation. He continues to specialize in public works projects, but the firm has carved out an aquatic niche using their expertise in water conveyance and treatment and structural design. Terry is registered in 23 states as a licensed professional engineer. Now in semi-retirement from the engineering consulting business, 50 years total in engineering and 40 years in aquatics, he keeps himself busy sharing his experiences by writing and training engineers and contractors in the design and construction of aquatic facilities from public fountains, to splash pads, water parks, competition venues, lakes and streams, and private pools. He continues as a consultant to various construction management companies, hotels and resorts, municipalities, and branches of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Celebrating over 20 years of full-time service to the aquatics industry, Dewey Case serves as the Technical Director for the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC). His career started as a part-time lifeguard, evolved into servicing pools, and then into aquatic facility management while in college. Upon graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, Dewey worked in the pool management industry and then transitioned to work with the YMCA at the local and national level, where he served as the volunteer project lead for the 2011 revision of the Y-USA Aquatic Safety Guidelines. He has also served on multiple aquatic safety committees, including the American Red Cross local Preparedness, Health & Safety Committee and State Quality Assurance Committee. Dewey has earned multiple instructor trainer certifications from the American Red Cross, as well as instructor credentials with PHTA, and was recognized as a "aquatics lifer" by Aquatics International in the 2018 Power Issue. Dewey was a member of the Lifeguarding and Bather Supervision Technical Committee for the MAHC 1st Edition and the Technical Review Committee for the MAHC 3rd Edition. In addition to his duties at CMAHC, Dewey is the Commercial Division Manager for Adcock Pool and Spa in Hattiesburg, MS. He enjoys helping other aquatic facilities improve operations and helping young aquatics professionals hone and develop their craft, whether in rescue and response, pool operations, management, training lifeguards, or teaching swimming. Dewey resides in Hattiesburg, MS, with his wife Lisa.
Michael Debrecht has worked in parks and recreation for 30+ years. He is currently the Assistant Director with the City of Arlington's Parks and Recreation Department. His responsibilities include Forestry and Beautification, Park Operations, Asset Management, and Park Planning. He is a leader in the NRPA Gold Medal winning department as best parks and recreation agency in the country.
Sean Dingman, Ph.D., is the Sr. Technical Service Specialist for the Isocyanurates Business Unit of OxyChem. OxyChem Isocyanurates manufactures ACL® Brand Chlorinated Isocyanurates, used in pool and spa sanitation. Sean has a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to OxyChem, he has held roles in Technical Service, Business & Product Development, and R&D with BASF, Sigma-Aldrich, and Mississippi Lime. He has been with OxyChem since 2020.
Jim Egan, Ph.D., has worked for LaMotte Company for more than 30 years. During that time, he developed reagents, test kits, and instrumentation for testing pools and spa water. Currently he is VP Research and Development at LaMotte Company. He is also a long-time member of U.S. Pool &smp; Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee (RWAQC).
Megan Ferraro is the Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation, where she oversees programs, directs philanthropic partnerships, and represents the nonprofit as a subject matter expert in aquatic sector initiatives, and at industry events, with both legislators and the media throughout the country. Megan is also a Steering Committee member of the National Water Safety Action Plan, Co-Chair of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Advisory Board, and founding member and Steering Committee member of Families United to Prevent Drowning.
Dr. Julie Gilchrist is a pediatrician and researcher who retired in 2017 from CDC's Injury Center after more than 20 years guiding research and programmatic efforts to prevent common childhood injuries such as drowning. She graduated from Rice University, attended UT Southwestern Medical School, and completed her pediatrics residency at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She joined CDC's Injury Center in 1997 as an EIS Officer. She focused on the prevention of childhood injuries after caring for too many children in the emergency department or intensive care unit following drowning or other injury incidents, often without desired outcomes. She has authored numerous research articles and book chapters and worked with many national and international water safety organizations. She has co-authored the last two American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statements and technical reports on drowning prevention. Since retiring from CDC, she has continued to support drowning prevention research and programs through work with national organizations like AAP and NDPA and foundations that focus on water safety.
Ken Gregory presently works for Pentair Water Quality as the Compliance and Safety Manger. Prior to this, he was a Commercial Pool Contactor with over 40 years of experience in the design, sales, construction management, and maintenance of residential and commercial pools. He has designed and built pools ranging from a few hundred square feet to several thousand. This includes filtration, chemical controls, UV light systems, variable frequency drives, flow controls, and heating systems of all types. He was directly responsible for all facets of the design process, cost estimating, specifications, and construction management of all commercial projects. He has served and is serving on many various boards and committees.
Michele Hlavsa is chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program. Her areas of expertise include recreational water–associated illness, particularly when caused by Cryptosporidium. She has worked on a number of investigations of outbreaks of recreational water–associated illness and collaborates with U.S. and international public health authorities and the aquatics sector to develop science-based prevention and control measures. She has a bachelor's degree in nursing from the College of New Jersey and a master's in public health/epidemiology from Emory University. Michele was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at CDC prior to joining the Healthy Swimming Program.
Stacey Hoaglund is the president of the Autism Society of Florida, educational advocate, statewide coordinator of Partners in Policymaking, author, disability consultant, and parent. She trains on a wide range of topics related to autism, including water safety, behavior, communication, and collaborative processes. Stacey has initiated autism water safety training programs and community engagement. She has trained thousands of swim instructors and other water safety professionals through her presentations for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, World Aquatic Health, and Association of Aquatic Professionals. She represents the autism community on a wide variety of drowning prevention committees and task forces, and is a member of the United States National Drowning Prevention Action Plan Blue Ribbon Panel.
Brian Howell is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Life Floor. After initially having had a decades-long career in the document management and office technology space, he joined the Life Floor team 8 years ago. Since then, he has served as our National Director of Waterparks, then in an educational role as our Director of Design Partnerships where he assisted a wide range of Architectural firms helping them better understand the significant benefits that safety surfacing provides to every guest. Today, Brian collaborates directly with a wide range of State Public Health Departments through education about aquatic safety surfacing and representation of Life Floor's safety innovation for both the NSF/ANSI/CAN Standard 50 task group and ASTM F24.61 regarding aquatic play environments. He enjoys being a resource for the expansive number of professionals we serve across the aquatic industry including engineers, manufacturers, park operators, health inspectors, certified installation partners, architects, and designers as we create beautiful and safer aquatic play areas around the world.
Jenn Huang holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Truman State University. A dedicated scientist and auditor practiced in technical and regulatory support, product analysis, method development and implementation, and GLP, ISO, and cGMP documentation and quality standards, she has over 15 years of experience in biotechnology, healthcare, manufacturing, immunology, and biopharmaceutical research with over six years in the water treatment industry. She has contributed to over six peer-reviewed publications, with two as a co-author. Some professional affiliations include American Chemical Society, Association of Water Technologies, American Water Works Association, CMAHC, and PHTA. She is currently an active member of Alpha Chi Sigma Professionals chapter (national professional chemistry), a former member of CMAHC Chlorine Stabilizers Ad Hoc Committee, and Technical Director of the Isocyanurate Industry Ad Hoc Committee, in addition to being active with the PHTA Recreational Water Quality Committee.
Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) and also serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Adam completed his Ph.D. in Coaching and Teaching Studies with a cognate specialization in Sport Management from West Virginia University. He received his M.S. in Sport Management from IUP and completed his B.S.Ed. in Health and Physical Education with a minor in Aquatics from Slippery Rock University. Adam currently serves as a steering committee member for the forthcoming U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan, as an organizational representative to Water Safety USA and the Aquatics Coalition, represents NDPA in the planning for National Water Safety Month, and serves on numerous industry committees and councils. Adam holds provider, instructor, and trainer certifications from multiple safety and aquatic organizations and is a licensed teacher in the state of Pennsylvania for grades K-12. He received a National Swimming Pool Foundation Fellowship Award in 2014 and has been recognized twice by Aquatic International as a Power Award recipient, first in 2012 as a "Next Generation Leader in the Field of Aquatics" and again in 2017 as one of the "Most Influential People in the Aquatic Industry." Most recently, Katchmarchi received a Recent Alumni Award from Slippery Rock University in 2019 and the NDPA President's Award in 2020.
Alan Korn, J.D., is the executive director of the Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation, where he assists the organization in its management, public policy, marketing, and public relations efforts. Before joining AHCF, he was the executive director and general counsel for Safe Kids USA, a member of Safe Kids Worldwide’s global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under. He is a member of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance governing board and its General Counsel.
Alan makes presentations around the country on government’s role in child injury prevention, nonprofit management, and governance and liability issues associated with community-based safety programs. He has testified many times before Congress, federal agencies, and state legislatures on issues of injury prevention and has appeared as a child safety expert on the Today Show, Good Morning America, the CBS Early Show, Fox News, CNN, and NPR, as well as in dozens of magazines and newspapers.
Alan is an attorney and a member of the Missouri and District of Columbia Bar. Prior to his work for many non-profits in both Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN, he practiced law for five years in St. Louis, MO, specializing in health law, consumer protection, and litigation. Alan received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his J.D. from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He is married, has one child, and resides in Washington, DC.
Dr. Tom Kuechler has over 30 years of experience in the water treatment industry, chiefly with chlorine and bromine biocides. His responsibilities include product and application research, field trials, technical service, manufacturing support, and regulatory support. He has coauthored 10 peer-reviewed publications, 6 U.S. patents, and 11 presentations at water treatment conferences.
Commander Joe Laco is an active-duty service-member of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and is stationed at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. CDR Laco is an Environmental Health Scientist in the National Center for Environmental Health's Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch. He provides Env Health technical support and expertise to State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal entities. CDR Laco works closely with the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, the Center for Preparedness and Response, the Center for Global Health, and the CDC Emergency Operations Center. His work focuses largely on Recreational Water, Emergency and Outbreak Response, Food Safety, Drinking Water, Wastewater, Vector Control, Safety and PPE, and Hazardous Materials. CDR Laco has been deployed numerous times and has responded in roles to support: hurricanes, Zika Virus, Ebola, Covid-19, floods, wildfires, infectious disease outbreaks, HAZMAT spills, unsafe drinking water, and rural area health. He was the recipient of the USPHS Environmental Health Officer 2019 Edward Moran Award. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Environmental Health Officer Responder of the Year Award. CDR Laco has over 26 years of experience working in federal and state governments, clinical and research laboratories, and private industry. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Ohio University in 1995, and a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Health from East Tennessee State University in 2001. He is a Registered Sanitarian and Registered Environmental Health Specialist through the National Environmental Health Associations.
Dr. Joseph Laurino is the President and founder of Periodic Products Inc. and frequently conducts educational programs on water chemistry, metal staining, and surface remediation. During his career, he has held positions in both industry and academia, and has authored numerous scientific publications. He is the past chair of PHTA's Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee (RWAQC), the current chair of its Technical Advisory Council, a member of PHTA's board of directors, and its current chair-elect.
John Mason is a registered environmental health specialist (REHS) working for the public health division at Deschutes County in Bend, OR. He has over 20 years of pool regulatory experience and has been a CPO® Instructor since 2006. Mason currently runs the Swimming Pool and Lodging facilities inspection program for the county and his goal is to keep his clients out of the court system by working cooperatively to solve problems and meet the intent of the law. He has served as the voice for public health on the PHTA Commercial Code Council for the last three years and was named the Oregon Public Health Specialist of the year in 2018.
Dr. Larry Newell is the Chief Operating Officer for Ellis Aquatic Innovations, LLC and Vice President and Medical Operations Director for Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc, International Aquatic Risk Management Consultants, and Jeff Ellis Management, LLC. In his roles, he leads the expansion of technological services to clients involving the use of a proprietary artificial intelligence video surveillance platform known as EAVS to reduce the likelihood of drownings. He also directs educational services, regulatory affairs for safety & health, and emergency response protocols for Ellis companies. Prior to his current positions, Dr. Newell served as Executive Vice President of Jones and Bartlett Learning; National Executive Director for the Emergency Care & Safety Institute (ECSI); Director of Program Development for the American Red Cross, NHQ; and Director of Undergraduate Physical Education at Baylor University. In his positions then and now, he has been responsible for the development and delivery of national education, certification, and licensure programs impacting millions of people annually. Dr. Newell holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Master's degree from Baylor University, and Doctoral degree from Texas A&M University. He has also been licensed for over 25 years as a national registry paramedic and critical care transport paramedic. He has authored extensively; has been an invited presenter at many state, national, and international conferences; and has provided expert consultation and testimony in more than 200 incidents involving drowning and emergency medical services operations.
Johnathan Nies is an accomplished Project Director and Manager with extensive experience in safety services, new facility pre-opening training, the Aquatic Examiner Service, and Operations Consulting. He is currently a Project Director for CHAMP, where he manages projects from initial kickoff to its final completion. He has overseen and managed multiple initiatives, such as equipment purchasing for new and existing facilities, the delivery of the Aquatic Examiner Services, pre-opening training, loss control surveys, and operations consulting. Johnathan has also worked as a Project Manager for HydroApps, where he managed the sale development of new software to users and internal staff.
Earning her B.S. in Chemistry from Allegheny College (Meadville, PA) in the last century, Ms. O’Grady has been able to apply her degree working for a leading chemical manufacturer of water testing supplies, Taylor Water Technologies LLC, which was recently acquired by Fluidra. Her numerous jobs throughout the company over the last several decades have included customer and technical services, large account management, product management, and is currently the Director of Customer Technical Support. Taking an idea from concept to supporting it out in the field has allowed this proud Taylor employee to interact with every department in the company along with the customer who it is intended for addressing all technical aspects. Ms. O’Grady is currently the chair of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee (RWAQC).
Dr. Alison Petri was always the child at school who had her name written on the board as punishment for talking out in class. As the years have passed, her energy, enthusiasm, and talkativeness have not dwindled but have been focused. With her background in education and advocacy, Alison has worked to use "her big voice to make the world better for its smallest people." With drowning being a preventable tragedy, Alison is eager to use her energy and talents to make a difference. Alison's formal education includes a double major in education and public relations from the University of St. Thomas, and a master's and educational doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Dayton. Alison has taught children from toddlers to middle school and worked in educational public policy for nearly 2 decades. Alison currently is also the Program Manager for Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation in Minnesota. Alison loves the mission of Abbey's Hope: "Safer Pools. Safer Kids." and is honored to work with the NDPA to further prevent childhood drownings. In 2020 Alison received the NDPA President's Award with the virtual conference team for their excellent pivot to present a virtual conference. In 2021 Alison received the Hennepin County Sheriff's Distinguished Service Award for her partnership efforts to promote water safety in the Minneapolis area.
Sai Reddy, Ph.D., is the Founder and CEO of CamerEye, a leading AI Smart Pool platform and recipient of the Best Smart Pool Products Award at PSP Expo 2022. Sai is an accomplished technology entrepreneur who previously was part of the founding team at PXISE, an AI-based data software that pioneered the use of prediction and smart controls for large renewable power plants. PXISE was acquired by a giant automation manufacturer, Yokogawa, in 2020. Sai is a passionate water lover and an avid swimmer, surfer, and sailor whose vision is to bring game-changing tech solutions to outdoor spaces. Sai is an inventor of 8 patents, 15+ publications, and sits in various advisory committees and boards such as ASTM, NDPA, PHTA, etc.
Beth Root has spent more than 25 years working in marketing and communications building buzz and driving engagement for brands such as: A&E, AMC, Blue Man Group, Cartoon Network, MTV Networks, Disney on Broadway, Nickelodeon, and Showtime. In 2009, the World Waterpark Association (WWA) was looking for an idea that would help drive media attention to expand the National Water Safety Month initiative. Beth responded with the World's Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) – pitching it as an event that aquatic organizations around the globe could utilize as a platform to spread the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives™. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, the program has served as a powerful initiative for more than 4,800 facilities, hosting more than 350,000 participants in 49 countries – who, together, have set 8 Guinness World Records and helped generate more than 2.5 billion Swimming Lessons Save Lives media impressions. Beth's connection to the aquatics industry goes back to her early days of competitive swimming, working as a lifeguard and WSI, and summers spent leading aquatic teams in the waterpark industry.
Tom Schaefer is the Technical Sales Director of Clear Comfort and brings over 20 years of experience in the commercial pool treatment industry. Prior to Clear Comfort, he promoted medium pressure U.V. As an accomplished speaker appearing often at aquatic industry and environmental health events, Tom is an expert in water sanitation technologies and resource efficiency. Aquatic industry events where Tom has presented include the National Environmental Health Association Conference, AOAP Annual Conference, WAHC, World Waterpark Association Show, Texas Public Pool Council Conference, NRPA Annual Conference, National Aquatic Safety Council, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo, and more.
Laura Suppes, Ph.D., MPH, REHS, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She received her MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota and Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Arizona. Her research interests are chemical and biological hazard identification and remediation in water, exposure assessment, and Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment, (primarily in recreational water environments). Dr. Suppes has served on the Model Aquatic Health Code Technical Review Committee, Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Education Cadre, and is a Pool & Hot Tub Alliance instructor of the Certified Pool Operator course. She has consulted for the National Environmental Health Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assisting health departments compare state and local pool codes to the Model Aquatic Health Code. Her most recent research focuses on assessing the impact of cyanic acid on gastrointestinal illness risk among swimmers, exploring float tank facility operating practices, and assessing risk associated with PFAS exposures.
Miklos Valdez is a Studio Director for the aquatics consulting firm Counsilman-Hunsaker. Miklos directs the Counsilman-Hunsaker Aquatic Management Program services which help make facilities safer and more sustainable. Miklos is a certified Aquatic Examiner, Lifeguard Instructor, and Lifeguard Instructor Trainer for the American Red Cross. Miklos is also a PHTA CPO Instructor and has served as a member of the Technical Review Committee for the 2021 MAHC edition, a Technical Support Committee member for the 2018 MAHC edition, and is a current member of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) Education Committee.
Dr. Roy Vore has been a CPO® and PHTA Instructor for over a decade. He began developing treatments for microbial growth in recreational water in 1991. Roy was a major contributor to the Disinfection Water Quality module of the CDC's MAHC, and the lead author of PHTA's RWI handbook. Roy holds a Ph.D. in bacterial physiology, as well as a Master's and Bachelor's in microbiology. He has over 100 scholarly papers and presentations on the selection and use of industrial biocides, biocide testing methodology, the microbiological of swimming pools and spas, and the governmental regulation of biocides.
John Weber is a Senior Formulation Chemist with BioLab where he is primarily responsible for new product development, supporting existing products, and evaluating new technologies. John has been in the pool and spa industry for over 26 years. John has been a manager in quality control, technical services, as well as new product development. John has worked with and/or been a member of the Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee (RWAQC) of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) for many years, and teaches numerous courses on water quality at trade shows annually. John earned his B.S. at Old Dominion University and M.B.A. at Georgia State University and holds 2 patents for new product development.
Justin Wiley has been with the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) since February 2022 and serves as Vice President of Government Relations, Standards, and Codes. In his role, Justin leads advocacy efforts for the pool and hot tub industry on federal, state, and local levels. He is also responsible for the development and maintenance of PHTA’s safety and performance standards and their adoption into codes and regulations across the nation.
Prior to joining PHTA, Justin served as Vice President of Government Relations at the International Code Council, a leading source of model building codes and building safety solutions. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Technology Management from Westminster College and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Southern Utah University. Justin resides in Washington, DC, where he and his wife Melissa are parents to a six-year-old.