Ellis & Associates hosts record-breaking 38th annual “International Aquatic Safety School”

By | February 6, 2024

ORLANDO — Since 1983, Ellis & Associates (E&A) has been the leader in aquatic safety and risk management. For the past 38 years, the firm has hosted “International Aquatic Safety School” (IASS), the world’s largest and most comprehensive lifeguard and risk management training program. This year, a record-breaking number of aquatics industry professionals (more than 250) from theme and water parks, recreation centers, swim schools, resorts, destinations and educational institutions came together to advance their skills, obtain certifications and elevate their passion for safety. Awards announced at the end-of-school banquet included Dr. Larry Newell, retired E&A Medical Director, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Jeff Ellis.

International Aquatic Safety School 2024 took place January 14-19 in Phoenix, Arizona. Attendees participated in classroom and hands-on training, including advanced water rescue, first-aid, CPR, risk management, human resources, and guest relations. Special guest speakers, including USAF Veteran Rick Goff, Performance Optimist Consulting Founder Matt Heller, and aquatic safety expert Michael Oostman, shared their experience and expertise, adding wisdom that can be applied both in and out of the water.

The annual end-of-school banquet features a recap of the week’s most memorable moments as well as awards and celebrations.

Awards included:

  • Ellis & Associates Lifetime Achievement Award: Bestowed on fewer than ten individuals in the 40-year history of E&A, marking a lifetime of dedication and impact on aquatic safety.
    Dr. Larry Newell, retired E&A Medical Director
  • Vera Solis Award
    The following attendees were peer-selected for their demonstration of service, selflessness and passion throughout the week.
    Jorge Vidal (Cedar Fair – Knott’s Berry Farm)
    Sarah Franklin (NOVA Parks)
    William Elkins (Goldfish Swim School, Astoria)
    Adam Gonzalez (Great Wolf Lodge, Grapevine)
    John Famiano (Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks)
    Robyn Mercer (Wild Island)
    Tyler Currie (Daytona Lagoon)

“With an expanding number of attendees and programs, we are more grateful than ever for the Client-led International Aquatic Safety School Director Team and our amazing Client Faculty,” said E&A Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Richard “RAC” Carroll. “No other aquatic safety seminar offers the breadth or depth of subjects covered at IASS and it simply would not be possible without Denise Beckson and Trish Lyons from Morey’s Piers, Liz Caywood from the Fort Wayne Indiana Natatorium, and Mike Bengston from Splish Splash.”

IASS 2025 will also take place in Phoenix, Arizona. More information on E&A’s products and aquatic risk management services – from online lifeguard courses and regional training programs, to emergency health and safety training – can be found at jellis.com.