About the DPCA


In 1989, representatives from:Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fire departments, and hospital personnel met and formed what is now known as the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona (DPCA).

Today, DPCA is comprised of parents, health and safety professionals, business leaders, and concerned citizens. The group exists to provide a forum for drowning prevention efforts through the promotion of education, legislative action, awareness, and enhanced product safety.

As a community-based organization, DPCA attracts members from many different areas. We are able to bring together individuals from different cities, industries, and backgrounds to work toward a common cause that significantly benefits the entire community.

The Coalition promotes the following three core principles of drowning prevention: ABC's of Water Safety 

The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona strives to meet the following objectives through Advocacy, Education, Support & Outreach:
  1. Reduce Water Related Incidents 
    • Continue to increase public awareness about water safety in Arizona
    • Expand the role of swimming lessons as a layer of protection
    • Determine the factors influencing drowning trends in adult water-related incidents
    • Continue to promote standard CPR as the preferred life-saving method for children age 8 and younger and victims of water-related incidents
    • Continue to emphasize importance of pool barriers as a layer of protection
  2. Expand the Drowning Surveillance System
    • Continue to expand statistical reporting throughout state
  3. Support and Connect Families Impacted by Drowning
    • Connect families to grief resources and to Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona

DPCA Board Members 

Melissa SuttonMelissa Sutton, DPCA President

An alumni of the University of Utah, having studied pre-med biology with an emphasis in exercise and sport science, and holding a two- year post-graduate certificate in non-profit management from Arizona State University, Melissa is the President of Active Kids Global and the Vice President of Water Smart Babies.  

Jay Arthur

Jay Arthur, DPCA Vice President
Phoenix Fire Department (Retired)

Jay Arthur retired from the Phoenix Fire Department in May 2011. He worked for 37 plus years as a Firefighter, Engineer and Captain. He was hired at 18 years old and the first Chinese American. Jay was one of the 10 original “Learn Not To Burn” instructors in Arizona in 1976.  He has been a CPR instructor/trainer since 1978.

  Meghan Chute, Mesa Fire & Medical Department

More Coming Soon.

Angela Clark
   Angela Clark, Lizard Pools

    Angela owns and operates LizardPools LLC a pool service & repair company, since March, 2013.  She is a member        (since 10/2015) & secretary (since 01/2016) of the East Valley Chapter of the Independent Pool & Spa                            Service Association (IPSSA) and is the Education Coordinator for the Desert Pool & Spa Show.    

Lori Schmidt
Lori Schmidt, Scottsdale Fire Department, Past President

Lori Schmidt is the Public Education Officer at Scottsdale Fire Department.  She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree at Kansas State University with an emphasis on Journalism and Sociology.  Her work at Scottsdale Fire focuses on injury prevention programs ranging from car seat safety to smoke alarms – and of course, drowning prevention.  

Read More ... 

Kathy Till
Kathy Till, La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery

Kathy A. Till has 25+ years of professional business experience and is currently the Vice President of Human Resources and Personnel Development for La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Arizona. Her career focus has been about the personal development of people and enhancing their professional skills for the achievement of their organizational goals.

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Michele Long, Mesa Fire & Medical Department

      More Coming Soon.

Shelly Smith
Shelly Smith, YMCA

Shelly is the Operations Director for the Glendale/ Peoria Family YMCA. She is an Arizona Native. In 2000 Shelly received her first lifeguard certification while attending an inner city youth program through the City of Phoenix. Shelly began lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons for the City and the YMCA as a teen. 

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Sierra Kamela
Sierra Kamela, Hacienda Healthcare

Sierra serves as Hacienda HealthCare’s vice president of marketing and public relations. Her responsibilities include team leadership for the marketing, public relations, philanthropic development, strategic partnerships, and fund raising for the organization. 

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Tina Gerola
Tina Gerola, Superstition Fire and Medical District

Tina is the Fire and Life Safety Specialist for Superstition Fire and Medical District.  She has been working the fire district since April 12, 2004, after a 14-year career at the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds in Mesa. 


Tracey Fejt
Tracey Fejt, 
Cardon Children's Medical Center, DPCA Secretary

Tracey was an emergency room nurse for more than 20 years, and for many of those years she specialized in pediatrics. Treating drowning victim after drowning victim in the ER all those years, and having to be with the doctor as he told loved ones there was nothing else we could do, was devastating. 

Read More ... 

Traci Tenkely
Traci Tenkely, City of Chandler Aquatics

As an Arizona native, Traci was born and raised in the East Valley moving around between Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert. She attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, met the love of her life and finally called Tempe home.

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Tracy Herbst
Tracy Herbst, DPCA Treasurer

Infant Swimming Resource

In 2006, Tracy embarked on a new career, teaching infant and toddler aquatic self-rescue lessons as a Certified Infant Swimming Resource instructor. Prior to that she had spent her career in golf marketing and sales and admittedly, knew little about drowning or water safety.

Read More ... 

Advisory Council Members

  1. Arizona Game & Fish Department: Kim Jackson & Josh Hoffman
  2. Kevin Burke, La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries
  3. Marc Cannon, IPSSA
  4. City of Peoria: Christian Peck & Megan Johnson
  5. Max Goshert, American Red Cross
  6. Stacy Beadle, Michael Phelps Foundation
  7. Elisa Hart, Water Safety Advocate & Mom of Eric
  8. Tracy Koslowski, Drexel Heights Fire District
  9. Jessica Mitchell, Tucson Medical Center & SafeKids Pima County
  10. Shannon Liebrock, Ryan Thomas Foundation
  11. Tina Royer, Realty Executives & Isagenix
  12. Ed Swift, Swift Office Solutions & Children's Safety Zone
  13. Melissa Zukowski, Banner Medical - Tucson

Advisory Council Requirements

  • Attendance to at least one Board Meeting a year (either by phone or in person)
  • Attendance to at least one General Meeting a year.
  • Participation on at least one committee
  • Participation in email discussion, when relevant.
  • Staffing a DPCA booth for at least 2 special events in a year.
  • Assistance in special projects, as needed.
  • Assistance in fundraising, as needed.

 The Board usually meets the second Thursday of each month from 11 am- 1 pm.  Our General Meetings are scheduled after the Board meetings every 2-3 months. All Board and Advisory Council members must have a current membership to the DPCA.  

Subject Matter Experts

The DPCA relies on subject matter experts to provide critical information and guide decisions. These individuals make an impact with their knowledge and information provided to the coalition. 

  1. Dr. Tim Flood  
  2. Linda Kirby
  3. Shelly Jamison
  4. Cody Thomson
  5. Druann Letter 
  6. John Harrington