John L. Hunsucker, PhD, PE, founded The National Aquatic Safety Company (NASCO) in 1974. Since then NASCO has been the leader in developing new training programs and safety procedures for the aquatics and amusement industries that are based in sound engineering and risk management principals. NASCO is now the third largest lifeguard certification agency for waterparks in the U.S. and has provided professional services to clients in almost every state and several foreign countries.
Before founding NASCO and during it’s early history, Dr. Hunsucker was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Georgia and served on several advisory committees for the American Red Cross, including those for swimming, canoeing and water safety. He was an instructor trainer for every course offered by the American Red Cross. Dr. Hunsucker is estimated to have contributed 25,000 volunteer hours both as a lifeguard and then as an instructor, faculty member and Director for the Red Cross safety & swimming classes, lifeguard courses and Aquatic Schools in a 35-year association with the Red Cross. Dr. Hunsucker was a contributing author for the Red Cross textbooks on canoeing, swimming, water safety and adaptive aquatics. He was active on the boards numerous charitable agencies at the local, state and regional level that had aquatic interests. In addition, Dr. Hunsucker was on the small boat advisory committee for the US Coast Guard that developed the small boat handling course and text materials. He worked with the Health, Education and Welfare department of the federal government (which is now the Department of Health and Human Services) on the development of material for use by youth camps in aquatic safety and he was on the Board of the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics where he served as the chair on the Committee on Lifeguarding.
The development of effective training in water rescue for first responders is another contribution that Dr. Hunsucker has made toward general aquatic safety. The team-based approach to both moving water rescue and rising water rescue has been taught to thousands of firemen, policemen, rangers and other first responders to aquatic incidents in the field.
In the area of lifeguarding, Dr. Hunsucker has helped develop many of the lifesacing techniques currently being used as standards in lifeguard training. More importantly, has been his development of new scanning procedures and protocols, victim identification procedures, risk management for waterparks, accident investigation methodologies and training programs directed towards leading and motivating lifeguards and lifeguard managers. Dr. Hunsucker has developed one of the first methodologies to evaluate and monitor the performance of lifeguards that is based on sound engineering, risk management and safety principles.
Parallel to Dr. Hunsucker’s aquatic contributions has been his work in the amusement industry. This work includesthe development of a certification program for ride operators, a methodology to monitor and measure the performance of the ride operator, training including leadership, motivation and best practices principles and procedures for accident investigation that is designed for quick and thorough incident analysis.
During the early history of NASCO, Dr. Hunsucker became a Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas and a Licensed Professional Engineer. He has published over fifty refereed articles in the field of mathematics, engineering management, risk management, vigilance and safety and has presented his findings at numerous professional meetings. Dr. Hunsucker’s funded research amounted to approximately $1,000,000 and included work for major agencies such as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) on issues such as transitional and risk management.
Dr. Hunsucker holds four degrees, BS in mathematics, physics and engineering, Masters in Mathematics, Masters in Industrial Engineering and a PhD in Mathematics. He has held membership in numerous professional organizations including the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Aerospace, the American Society of Engineering Management, the American Society of Testing and Materials and the Industrial Relations Research Association. He has been recoginzed for his service by numerous agencies. His awards include the National Water Safety Congress Award, the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics Award, numerous American Red Cross Awards, the Safety Award from the World Waterpark Association (twice), being elected to the World Waterpark Association Hall of Fame and being named one of the Top 25 people in the Aquatics Industry in 2005 by Aquatics International Magazine.
Dr. Hunsucker is currently devoting all of his time to the responsibilities of being President of the National Aquatic Safety Company and is now Professor Emeritus in Engineering at the University of Houston.