Don Burns, former executive director of the California Pool and Spa Industry Education Council (formerly SPEC, now known as CPSA), passed away early Tuesday morning from heart complications.

In his 30-year tenure as the head of CPSA, Burns made it his mission to advocate for industry professionals not just in California, but nationwide. He had a keen understanding that any legislation or restrictions passed in California could easily come to pass in other states, and with that in mind, Burns tirelessly fought on the front lines to protect industry interests.

"Don Burns was a true gentleman and a tremendously effective advocate for the pool and spa industry," Eric Herman, AQUA's senior editor recalls. "He was also extraordinarily charming, sophisticated, urbane and always considerate. He remembered people's names and greeted everyone with his charismatic smile and firm handshake. Don had a gift for building consensus, using facts and reasoned arguments and was able to gain support in the halls of government and in the trenches of the industry. He could light up the room in one second and then get down to business the next, always with grace and ease."

After a lifetime of service to the industry, Burns retired from CPSA in 2009 but remained active in CPSA dealings, often voicing his support through a kind email or phone call. He will be missed.