The Association of Aquatic Professionals boasts a dynamic group of leaders working hard throughout the year to support the Association, to provide information and benefits to our members, and to bring the biggest and best annual conference and exposition to the industry! AOAP’s Board of Directors includes several experts with years of professional aquatic management experience. Each month, we will feature a different AOAP Board Member with the goal of sharing information about their aquatic positions and offering advice to those members who may be new to the field.
Our second feature highlights Mark Foote!
BOD Member’s Employer/Organization:
- City of Chandler, Chandler, Arizona
- Aquatics Superintendent
How long have you worked in the aquatics field?
- FOREVER (picture the police officer in the Sandlot and say it real slow)…Not really….18 years.
What are you most passionate about with regard to the Aquatics Industry?
- My “why” is the staff development side of the operations. When I started lifeguarding and coaching I was similar to many of the millennial staff we have coming through our programs today. However, I had a few great leaders who saw potential in me and really helped shape who I am today. We have the power to influence staff coming through our programs and to help shape their future work and leadership abilities….I don’t think we recognize that enough! Our job is as much about running good quality programs as it is helping these staff grow into good competent citizens and leaders……”a rising tide raises all ships”
How long have you been a member of AOAP?
- 6 years
As a current BOD member, what do you love most about serving the members of AOAP?
- I’m really selfish….I love the energy and excitement for our profession that I am able to absorb by being around other aquatics professionals. One of the greatest joys of serving our members is watching people leave our annual conference with a different attitude and energy. They have attended sessions and learned from some of the best speakers and professionals from around the country and world. Knowing they are going back to implement ideas in their facilities and agencies to make our industry better is exciting and gives me energy to keep pushing as well.
If you could provide advice to a young professional in the field, what would you tell them? And why?
- Get actively involved! I am where I am today because someone pushed me to be an ACTIVE part of an association. Membership is great and will help without a doubt, but the best way to learn, grow, develop and succeed is to get active, surround yourself and work with other motivated and positive aquatics professionals…….I may be biased, but the AOAP is a really great group of motivated, positive aquatics professionals and we need your enthusiasm, ideas and talents.
Our first feature will highlight Debbi “Deb” Davidson!
- BOD Member’s Employer/Organization
Arkansas City Recreation Commission, Arkansas City, Kansas
- Current Position/Title
Aquatic/Special Programs Director
- How long have you worked in the aquatics field?
I started in the field of Aquatics at the age of 12 as a lifeguard for 25 cents an hour.
Professionally, I started with the Arkansas City Recreation Commission 20 years ago this year.
- What are you most passionate about with regard to the Aquatics Industry?
Drowning Prevention will always be my most passionate goal. I think this is why I feel so honored to be part of AOAP with such like-minded individuals who are dedicated to saving one life at a time. The water is such a beautiful environment to be in and has such benefits both physically and mentally for all people, and it can be a safe place if people are trained with swimming lessons and supervision. It’s that simple!
- How long have you been a member of AOAP?
I have been a member of AOAP since the beginning. I am a founding member.
- As a current BOD member, what do you love most about serving the members of AOAP?
The opportunity to serve the membership has been one of my biggest blessings. The chance to have a leadership role with an organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and providing support to each other has been life-changing for me. The people who have mentored me for many years have made my career more successful than I could have ever imagined. It has provided me the tools to serve my community in many ways I would not have been able to without the professional members this organization brings together.
- If you could provide advice to a young professional in the field, what would you tell them? And why?
RUN!!! Just kidding. You will never know how many lives your career will save and change. Every action by your team members at your pools are potential “rescues”. Public Service will be one of the most frustrating and rewarding careers you will ever have all in one moment. If you stay in the field long enough you will become “wired” differently than everyone else in one of the best ways ever. You will meet some of the most incredible team members one could ever wish to be associated with. And before too long you will realize you are changing lives each and every day. The field of Aquatics is a blessing you will swear is a curse some days, but in the end it puts you in a group of people who will support you, cry with you, celebrate with you, pray for you and love you every moment of every day like no other people on earth. I wouldn’t change a thing!! Thank you AOAP for all that you bring to my life!!