Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Awards Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), the trade association representing the swimming pool, hot tub, and spa industry, has awarded the 2023 Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant to Craven County Environmental Health in New Bern, NC. The winner was announced during the PHTA Awards of Excellence Ceremony on November 12, 2023, in Las Vegas, NV, as part of the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo (PSP/Deck Expo).

Given in the memory of Dr. Robert Neil Lowry, a long-time member of PHTA and the Recreational Water & Air Quality Committee, this $5,000 grant honors a public health official or department who has made outstanding contributions to advance the public’s health and safe use of recreational water in pools, spas, and waterparks through educational, safety, operational, and technical programs.

Craven County currently operates 40 public swimming pools and is expecting that number to increase in the near future, due in part to an expansion of military operations at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and a new community development expected to bring 19,400 residents to the area.

With the $5,000 Lowry Grant, the department plans to train two environmental health staff as Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) instructors who can then offer CPO certification training to the new and existing employees who operate the county’s public pools. Craven County Environmental Health also plans to offer swimming safety programs to all pre-K through 8th grade classes. These efforts will ensure that the department has knowledgeable pool operators on staff and can provide lifesaving survival skills to the community.

“As their community expands, so does their commitment to serving that community through pool safety training for its public pool operators,” says RWAQC Vice Chair John Weber, Senior Formulations Chemist at BioLab, Inc. “Craven County Environmental Health upholds the strong beliefs of Dr. R. Neil Lowry that education and safety are of utmost importance to protect the health and lives of their community. I believe that he would be thrilled with this year’s choice for the grant that honors his name.”

Past winners of the Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant include: Fishers Health Department, 2022; City of North Richland Hills, 2021; Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, 2019; Arizona Department of Health Services, 2018; Quechan Parks & Recreation, 2017; Riverside County California Department of Health, 2016; Columbus Public Health, 2015; Middlesex-London Health Unit of London, Ontario, 2014; Brevard County Environmental Health Services Department, 2013; Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, 2012; Alexandria Health Department, 2011; City of Houston, 2010; and City of Plano, 2009.

For more information about the Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant, visit phta.org/lowry-grant.