AFSA’s NextGen Initiative (NGI) national workgroup members met during AFSA37 in Washington, DC.

AFSA NextGen Initiative Ready for 2019

Mentoring and Recruitment are 2019 Priorities

The American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) NextGen Initiative (NGI) is ready for the New Year and is planning a year packed with education and networking events for career-minded individuals aged 40 and under looking to grow their professional network and their career within the fire sprinkler industry.

“I’m really excited about what NGI will be rolling out in 2019,” states NGI Chairwoman Meaghen Wills, Anchor Fire Protection, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania. “We are continuing to focus on leadership skills gained by being involved on the local chapter level, and the mentor program has been in the making for a few years and we think it’s going to go a long way to help the young people in our industry gain valuable knowledge and hear advice that they can carry through their careers.”

The members of NGI for 2019 are:

  • Chairwoman Meaghen Wills, Anchor Fire Protection, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania;
  • Hunter Brendle, Brendle Sprinkler, Montgomery, Alabama;
  • Mindy Buckley, AllSouth Sprinkler, Buford, Georgia;
  • Whitney Dillon, Ameripipe, Dallas, Texas;
  • Pat Hudalla, Rapid Fire, Rapid City, South Dakota;
  • Tiffany Iacolucci, Moore Fire Protection, Issaquah, Washington;
  • Conor Kauffman, Kauffman Fire Protection, Houston, Texas;
  • Josh Leonhardt, Leonhardt Pipe & Supply, Huntsville, North Carolina;
  • Katie Meehan, VSC Fire & Security, Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia;
  • Nikki Ray, Advanced Fire Protection, Inc., Travelers Rest, South Carolina;
  • Josh Shapiro, Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Elmsford, New York;
  • Anthony Spencer, Core & Main, Cleveland, Ohio; and
  • Karl Weigand, PE, Globe Fire Sprinkler Corp., Standish, Michigan.

AFSA’s NGI has two main goals in 2019: to launch an AFSA mentoring program (details to come) and to recruit the next generation into the industry.

As they look to the future of their industry, the NGI volunteers have had many thoughtful discussions on the ways they can help fill the void. NGI representatives have manned booths at career fairs, and volunteers are currently working on updating some industry recruitment materials.

Mark Your Calendar! In 2019, NGI continues to host webinars on issues important to this special interest group. The next webinar, “Real Leadership: New, Old, or Just What Works” presented by Ed Rigsbee, CSP, CAE, will be held on Tuesday, February 26.

NextGen also hosts a “NextGen Day” during AFSA’s annual convention. This year’s event, featuring a seminar, leadership forum, and social event, will be held at AFSA38: Convention, Exhibition & Apprentice Competition will be held October 1-4 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. Mark your calendars now and plan ahead – this is a popular event you don’t want to miss!

AFSA’s NGI is an excellent catalyst for development, but ultimately, it’s up to you – our members – to make it happen! If you are age 40 and under and looking to help build the future of the industry, get involved. 

Now’s the Time! Looking to join the industry’s most forward-looking young professionals? Contact AFSA Director of Communications & Social Media Nicole Duvall, staff liaison to NGI, via email at or Chair Meaghen Wills via email at For more details about NGI or about how you can become involved, contact us or visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on AFSA’s NGI, visit

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