Congratulations to 2022 Awardee
Ed Cohen

Ed's commitment to volunteering on behalf of our industry has been ongoing and tireless for almost 30 years. In 2022, he went above & beyond to help NESPA grow its education programs around our region.  Read more below.

About the Award

Paulette Pitrak “Above & Beyond” Award is NESPA’s highest volunteer recognition honoring members who have demonstrated an exceptional dedication to our association through their volunteer service.  

To be considered for the Above & Beyond Volunteer Recognition Award, the nominee must be a NESPA member in good standing who has exhibited extraordinary volunteer work during the current year.  The volunteer work can be done at either or both the Chapter or Region level. 

An independent panel of judges will review all nominations at the close of the nomination process. The awardee(s) are recognized at The Pool & Spa Show.

2023 Nominations

Nominations can be made by current members of NESPA, Chapter Administrators, and NESPA Staff.  You may nominate an individual(s) by completing the form below.  Nominations are accepted throughout the year and must be received by December 8, 2023, to be considered for this year’s award.  Nomination forms can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the attention of Kelly McKelvey at

Download the Nomination Form

Congratulations to the 2022 Awardee - Ed Cohen

Ed Cohen
Ultimate in Pool Care/Chaikin Ultimate Pools | Deer Park, NY
Chair, NESPA Education Content Development Committee
Director, Long Island Pool & Spa Association

Ed's commitment to volunteering for our industry has been ongoing and tireless for almost 30 years. This year, in particular, he spent countless hours working with fellow NESPA Board Member Bob Russell developing a new "Pool Opening Essentials" 4-hour class that made its debut early in 2022 at The Pool & Spa Show.

Ed followed up by teaching the class several times on Long Island through LIPSA. He also teaches the LIPSA-offered Pool Closing class each Fall, which shows another example of his dedication to professionalism and dedication.

Not content to simply repeat what he's taught repeatedly, Ed takes classes himself to continue his education and thus improve the education he offers to others. Thus, the 2022 Pool Closing class offered a revamped curriculum to reflect industry equipment and technology updates.

Read more about Ed's volunteer service here.

NESPA would like to extend a thank you to Ed for all that he has done and continues to do for the association and the pool & spa industry.  

Past Awardees:
  • 2021: Kyle Chaikin
  • 2020: Sheryl Heather
  • 2019:  Roberto Romano
  • 2018:  George Kazdin & Ron Falcioni
  • 2017:  Raymond Rescildo

Paulette began her work in the pool and spa industry in 1988 as Manager of Education for the National Spa and Pool Institute.  Four years later she was recruited to join NESPA to spearhead our education program. 

Over the next twenty-four years, Paulette did more than develop and deliver essential education to the industry.  She built a culture where continued education and innovation was valued.  She brought boundless energy, tenacity and compassion to each project she worked on from solving a code question for a member to launching an industry wide education initiative.  Everything and everyone was important.

She was a resource for answers to the toughest questions on topics few others took the time to understand. More than anything she was happy to share that knowledge with others.   

Beyond technical learning, Paulette was simply passionate about the pool and spa industry.  From association members to volunteer leaders and from fellow staff to industry peers, she cared deeply about what mattered most to each person she spoke with on any given day.  Because of who she was and how much she cared about the industry, so many of those she worked with became true friends. 

Paulette passed away in the fall of 2016 while serving as Deputy Executive Director of NESPA.