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SGE provides unmatched training programs, industry expertise, operational experience, and a commitment to client service.

About StarGuard   Meet Our Team   

Objective Driven.




Countries (and growing)


Authorized Training Centers


Annual Client Site Visits


Certifications Issued Annually

About StarGuard

The StarGuard Lifeguard program was founded in 1999 and has more than 25 years of proven success and making aquatic facilities safer.

Evidence-Based Standards

StarGuard's evidence-based protocols are the most evolutionary and up to date of any agency in the world using the latest science for emergency care.

Unmatched Medical Direction

Medical direction is provided by licensed emergency physicians who are leading experts in drowning resuscitation, research and emergency care protocols.

Student-Based Curriculums

All SGE programs are built experiential learning methodologies and adult learner elements to foster faster learning and better retention.

Traditional or Blended Learning Formats

All SGE programs offer formats for traditional (entirely in-person) or blended learning (online pre-course plus shorter in-person training).  Additionally, all textbooks are available printed, digital, or in an interactive format. 


SGE offers training programs in a variety of languages.  If we don't have the language you need, we can have it created.

StarGuard & SGE Industry Firsts

As THE industry leader, we have a proven record of being the first aquatic safety firm to produce numerous industry firsts.  Some of our firsts:

CMAHC Certification

The first Lifeguard Training Program to receive CMAHC Certification.

Medical Direction by MDs

The first lifeguard training and certification agency to operate under medical direction by Medical Doctors (MDs).

SGE's Proprietary Online Portal

The first agency to offer a completely digital web-based system for aquatic facility operators, the SGE Portal, to manage courses, certifications, audits and more.

Latest Protocols

The first program to adopt evidence-based protocols including five initial breaths to interrupt the drowning process, spinal motion restriction, and more.

ELITE Dispatch Certification

The first to agency to create an attraction operator program with our proprietary ELITE Dispatch™ certification for slide dispatchers and attraction attendants.

Interactive Blended Learning

The first agency to offer an interactive online course for blended learning.

Pandemic Support

When COVID-19 arrived, SGE was the first agency to provide information, training solutions and operational guidance to the industry.

SGE Executive Team

Wess Long


Wess oversees all aspects of the company, with primary focus on staying active throughout the industry, leading product development, establishing key partnerships, and most importantly supporting the SGE team.  Prior to SGE, Wess held a number of senior leadership positions for some of the world's leading waterparks and resorts.

Joel Riker

VP of Operations & Training

Joel oversees all daily operations of StarGuard ELITE, including customer operational support, training courses, aquatic safety audits, and SGE's national staff.  Prior to SGE, Joel had an extensive career throughout aquatics including leadership positions at waterparks, resorts, YMCAs, and more.

Jessica Gray

Director of Business Development

Jessica oversees a wide variety of responsibilities, however her primary focus is assisting prospective clients, onboarding new clients, and providing direction to SGE's accounting team.  Jessica also assists with regulatory compliance nationwide.  Prior to SGE, Jessica had over 15 years working as a Parks & Recreation aquatics professional. 

Stanton "SJ" Idel

Director of Training 

In his role, SJ is responsible for managing all aspects of the StarGuard Instructor Development program, as well as leading the enhancements of existing and development of new training programs. Prior to SGE, SJ had over 20 years working in Parks & Recreation and as an aquatic safety consultant.

SGE Operations Team

Bruce Wright

Client Partner, International Operations

Based in Florida, Bruce provides client support to SGE's international clients in 27 countries, including resorts, waterparks, private destinations, cruise lines, and more.  Bruce also manages special projects for SGE, including large client rollouts.  Prior to SGE, Bruce had over 20 years working throughout aquatics in waterparks, resorts, and pool management companies.

Nick Hawco

Client Partner, Western USA

Based in Arizona, Nick provides client support to SGE's clients located in the Western United States.  Nick also manages all aspects of SGE's amazing CAMP Conferences.  Prior to SGE, Nick had almost 15 years working in Parks & Recreation and was also a high school teacher.

Lea Lampe

Client Partner, Eastern USA 

Based in New Jersey, Lea provides client support to SGE's clients located in the Eastern United States.  Lea also manages all aspects of SGE's social media and assists with new client onboarding.  Prior to SGE, Lea worked in waterparks and also several years as a SGE aquatic safety consultant performing audits and training courses worldwide.

Diamante "Dia" Hornyak

Client Partner, Southern Midwest

Based in Colorado, Dia provides client support to SGE's clients located throughout the Southern Midwest of the United States. Prior to joining SGE, Dia worked in both Parks & Recreation and waterpark operations, as well as a SGE aquatic safety consultant performing audits and training courses.

Chris Drummond

Safety Specialist

Based in Virginia, Chris provides a wide variety of operational services and client support.  Prior to joining SGE, Chris has worked in Parks & Recreation, as well as a SGE aquatic safety consultant performing audits and training courses worldwide.

SGE Advisory Team

Dr. Justin Sempsrott

Medical Director

Dr. Sempsrott is full-time emergency medicine doctor and also the Medical Director for StarGuard ELITE and the International Surf Lifesaving Association. He is also a founding member of both the non-profit Lifeguards Without Borders and the International Drowning Researchers Alliance.  Dr. Sempsrott began his career as a surf lifesaver in Jacksonville Beach, Florida prior to attending medical school to become a physician. Dr. Sempsrott is one of the world's leading experts on drowning and aquatic lifesaving. 

Dr. Seth Hawkins

Medical Director

Dr. Hawkins is an emergency medicine doctor, writer, anthropologist, and organizational innovator. For over 10 years Dr. Hawkins has served as a Medical Director for both StarGuard ELITE and Starfish Aquatics Institute.  Dr. Hawkins has made notable contributions to the fields of wilderness medicine, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and medical humanities.  For SGE, Dr. Hawkins has been instrumental for adapting the most current science for spinal injury care and prevention of drowning-related injuries.

Jason Bitzer

Surf Park Specialist

Jason is a career waterman that includes being a professional water sports athlete and a Lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii.  During his field days as a Lifeguard, Jason received a Presidential Lifesaving Merit award and Honolulu Mayoral award for lives saved in the line of duty.  Jason is often recruited as a large event safety commander for corporate sporting and entertainment, including professional surf events.  With his unique expertise in lifesaving & surfing, Jason has also been recruited to support the booming surf park industry where he has consulted on projects such as Palm Springs Surf Club and The Lineup at Wai Kai.

SGE Founders

James Harhi


As an entrepreneur at heart, James has founded and assisted many successful companies.  As a lifeguard at Walt Disney World during college, James developed a passion for aquatics that led him to help found SGE. James is an operations and process expert. He introduces technology to streamline processes which improves the employee and customer experience.

Mike Friscia


As a long-time attractions industry veteran, Mike is a results-oriented Executive with experience throughout aquatics.  Mike has extensive safety knowledge, operations expertise, incredible team-building skills, creates a client-focused culture, and delivers focused leadership.