Lauren Broom is a relatively new face to some but the CPO instructor has been branching out and making a name for herself in the pool industry. Over the last couple of years, she has reinvented herself during the pandemic as a top-rated provider of virtual CPO courses.
Pool contractors in the state of Florida have known Broom for years. Working for Florida Health for almost 17 years; she was a health inspector and regulator. During the past decade, she’s been interacting daily with them in the course of her day-to-day role. Many don’t realize that Broom has actually been teaching CPO courses just about as long. Now a Certified Pool Operator PHTA Instructor, Broom separated from Florida Health back in August of 2020 to start her own business, Space Coast Pool School.
Changing Career Paths During Covid
Transitioning from regulator and inspector to full-time CPO instructor was a change Broom was longing to make. Like many during the pandemic, Broom suddenly realized that if she was looking for a sign to make a change in her career, this was it. “What COVID did, was it opened doors for me,” said Broom, “It opened up the CPO class to go virtual. Since April of 2020, they’ve had everything set up for us to start teaching virtual certified pool operator courses.”
“I think that the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, which I’m certified through, has the people and resources to get that training standardized and then get it out to us instructors to able to teach,” said Broom.
Transitioning To Full-Time CPO Instructor
In explaining what prompted her to want to seek a new career path, Broom explained, “I had plateaued at the health department. The room for growth was over. I came to realize that I wanted to pursue education rather than regulation as a passion.”
The space for offering these services welcomes a fresh new approach and so far Broom has been very successful in disseminating her online program. Aside from being one of the leading female instructors offering virtual courses, what Broom says often distinguishes her program is her prior expertise as a health inspector and regulator. “I come from a different part of the industry than a lot of the instructors. I understand the regulations that a lot of people are dealing with because many times they will be dealing with commercial pools,” said Broom.
With her expertise being in health regulation and safety, Broom said she is looking to expand on the courses she offers and plans to begin teaching a live OSHA-10 certification course soon. While this new course will be able to be taken online, the requirements still stipulate that it be a live course and not pre-recorded.
In explaining how she developed her virtual CPO course, Broom explained that over the past decade of teaching face-to-face courses, she had developed many materials that translated well to a video series. “A lot of people like to go to CPO courses for the interaction they get with instructors. During COVID we were unable to do that so I began developing videos of the same material I would cover in my in-person classes,” said Broom.
In developing her content library, Broom said that while she draws inspiration from what others are doing in the industry, her focus is on generating her own educational materials that speak to the content she is teaching.
“It’s all my content, I’m not taking someone else’s YouTubes or borrowing someone else’s material. I create all of my own so it’s done how I would teach it. I’m using my own equipment, so when I pull out my peristaltic pump or my erosion feeder, I’m explaining those components and what they do,” said Broom.
In creating her materials, she explained how she tries to bring value by developing a course that is an engaging online learning experience for students. “I’m a true believer that you have to have some fun in class. If it’s more fun it’s easier to learn. I try to bring that wall down so they can learn better. If they’re not so worried about that test on the second day, they’re going to learn a lot more.”
One of the ways Broom is working towards achieving that goal is with her podcast “Let’s Talk About Pools” which she started earlier this year. During a thought-provoking conversation with Terry Arko over at Hasa earlier this year, they discussed the recent chemical shortages that have been plaguing the industry. It’s that type of material that the industry finds invaluable. This fresh new ‘boots on the ground’ perspective, being what many are seeking for better clarity during this climate.
In understanding Broom’s decision to reinvent herself, making a sudden shift in her career plans was a sentiment shared by millions. In the wake of COVID, many chose to switch career paths rather than go back to their previous employer.
Consequently, the past two years we’ve all had to adapt to doing business differently. Broom choosing to capitalize on the ability to transition to offering courses online and working to establish herself as a leading CPO instructor were a risk she was willing to take. So far the gamble to make a radical transition in her career path has been paying off.
Listen to our complete discussion with Lauren Broom on the Pool Magazine podcast
Skimmer Raises Additional $5M in Capital to Add Key Employees
Company Has Now Raised Over $10M in 15 Months
AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Skimmer, the global leader in Pool Service Software (SaaS Platform and App), recently announced it raised an additional $5M to fuel its future growth. Unbundled Capital and existing Skimmer employees funded the entire capital raise.
Pete Freeland, CEO of Unbundled Capital, explained, “We were able to finance this entire investment round from our existing investors in Skimmer. In fact, we were significantly oversubscribed, which is a testament to how excited our investors are about Skimmer’s growth and potential.”
Skimmer has now raised over $10M since October 2020. “Our goal is not simply to maintain our market leadership. Our goal is to redefine the entire category. And this additional capital will allow us to do so.”
According to Jack Nelson, CEO of Skimmer, Skimmer will invest the funds across three areas: development, customer success, and marketing. “We have an incredible foundation. Now we will be able to add even more features, reach more pool and spa service professionals, and find even more ways to support our growing customer base. We will also be able to attract more talented folks to our development, customer success, and marketing teams.”
Skimmer has recently added three key members to its leadership team. Jason Moore joined Skimmer as its Director of Product; Donnie Byrd joined as Skimmer’s Head of Payments; and Flavia de la Fuente recently joined as its Director of Operations. According to Nelson, Skimmer expects to hire another five employees in key roles in engineering and marketing in the upcoming months. “We recognize that it’s a competitive market, and our goal is to be able to continue to attract top talent across the organization. Great talent begets great talent.”
Skimmer’s category-defining Pool Service Software Platform has helped thousands of pool service and repair businesses engage efficiently and professionally with pool & spa owners across the United States, Canada, and in a few other countries. The SaaS platform provides pool service and repair businesses of all sizes access to features that simplify work orders, route optimization, pool tech management, billing and invoicing, customer communication, and payments. Everything you need to run your pool service business, all in one app.™ Learn more at getskimmer.com
Pool Technicians Online Start-Up Certification Course Now Available
NPC the pioneer in plaster-related education announced the launch of their online Start-Up Technician Certification Class.
Pool Technicians now have expanded education and certification opportunities. The popularity of NPC’s well-known Start-Up program and certification continues to grow. The next in-person course will be offered in San Antonio and the Southwest Pool & Spa Show on January 19, 2022.
In order to meet the demand, the pioneer in plaster-related education announced the launch of their online NPC Start-Up Technician Certification Class. Now pool technicians can become certified to perform pool start-ups. A newly plastered pool necessitates unique start-up procedures to ensure the appropriate plaster cure.
The Start-up Technician Certification Program is a project of the National Plasterers Council (NPC) to establish the right protocol for a pool’s initial start-up. With this program, the NPC has created the industry standard for the installation and maintenance of plastered pools all over the world. NPC Certified Technicians possess the industry knowledge and hands-on experience required to conduct a satisfactory start-up for in-ground swimming pools and spas utilizing the NPC-approved procedure taught in the Certification Class.
Start-up Technician Certficiation Program Syllabus
- Basics of Plastering Materials & Applications
- Basics of Pool Water Chemistry
- Review of Various Test Kits & Testing Methods
- General Start-up Procedures and Timeline
- Understanding the Langelier Saturation Index
- Identification of Common Problems & Solutions
This is a three-hour online course that will certify you in the National Plasterers Council industry method of properly starting up a pool and establishing the proper water chemistry for caring for a newly surfaced swimming pool and/or spa.
Registration: NPC Members $225 | Non-Members $325
This is an online on-demand course that pool service technicians can take whenever they like within 30 days of registering.
Pool Service Technician Saves Elderly Couple
Pool service technician, Mukesh Lopez of Florida Pool Service is being called a hero by authorities as well as the elderly couple he leapt into action to save. A fire broke in a garage at a property on Caldecott Drive in Collier County.
Lopez told WINK News that his workday started out ordinarily enough. He was performing routine maintenance on a swimming pool but dropped everything and dashed inside as soon as he understood what was transpiring. “I was cleaning one of the filters, like I do on a daily basis.” said Lopez, when he noticed neighbors pointing at the house where he was working at the time.
“There was a person on the street pointing at the building,” Lopez told news sources. Evidently, a car inside the garage caught fire and smoke rapidly began emanating from inside. Lopez immediately rushed into action. Dashing inside to assist the old couple and dialing 911, before rushing into the garage to douse the flames. Lopez claimed he immediately gathered everyone and pulled several vehicles out of the way so that fire crews could get access to the home.
“The lady, she had fallen by the door. So, my first thing was to try to get her up. Once she was out, I went to see where the man was at because he’s older too.”
Lopez then proceeded to battle the flames with a fire extinguisher until help arrived.
The elderly couple’s grandson told reporters that they were too shaken to speak about what happened, but that they would thank those who assisted them when they were ready.
When explaining what transpired, Lopez’s manager became emotional, stating she doesn’t know how the situation would have played out if Lopez hadn’t been in the right place at exactly the right time.
“I just did that by instinct,” said Lopez, stating that he hoped others would do the same for his family if they were in trouble.
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