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Chair’s Message

By the time you read this, we will almost be in Las Vegas celebrating AFSA41 at the Bellagio! Whether we are going for the continuing education (over 60 seminars presented), networking and socialization (two parties, one exhibitor appreciation event, plus six networking meals), the National Apprentice Competition (seven national finalists competing for the title of National Champion), or just the gambling (I’m not going to begin to count the number of slot machines in Vegas)… it is going to be a great time! The seminars will provide the continuing education credits that we need, but more importantly, they will make us better at what we do every day… and that is to save lives! We will also learn from networking with our peers and sharing the experiences we are dealing with back home. Having conversations with other industry professionals located throughout our country is an invaluable opportunity for us to learn and make lifelong friends through the process. 

The National Apprentice Competition is like no other! We have the best finalists in the country competing for a national title. They will take an exam on Tuesday and perform an installation in front of all of us in the exhibit hall on Wednesday. The pressure to perform their job while all of us are watching is an experience they have never been through. The champion will be announced during our awards party Wednesday night. Make sure you support all of them as you see them throughout the convention. 

I know you will all truly enjoy this convention, and I want to thank Chris Johnson with Piper Fire Protection and Don Kaufman with Kaufman Fire Protection for being the co-chairs of this year’s convention committee. The hard work that they, along with the entire convention committee, put in to make AFSA41 special is very much appreciated. It also goes without saying that Marlene Garrett, CMP, AFSA’s vice president of meeting and education services, is the rock that the convention committee leans on each and every year! Thank you, Marlene!

The cover of this Sprinkler Age edition shows the winner of our most prestigious award, the Henry S. Parmelee Award. This year’s recipient is Kevin Fee with Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company. Not only does Kevin run Reliable day to day, but he also feels the need to go above and beyond Reliable and support our entire industry. To be honest, when Michael Fee stepped away from his AFSA representation, I was a little worried. We all loved Michael, and he contributed a ton to us. Kevin made sure that the support to AFSA not only remained at the same level but exceeded that level! Along with Kevin are the likes of Rex Schwendiman, Todd Bresnahan, and others who continue to make AFSA better in every aspect. Thank you, Kevin, for your continued and undying support of AFSA and the entire industry!

The AFSA national headquarters in Dallas is moving slightly north to Richardson, Texas. This facility will house a state-of-the-art training center. This will allow us to provide classroom and hands-on training within our facility, which we have never been able to do in the past. This will minimize the expense of sending employees to the outstanding training programs that we have to offer… and we’re expanding programs that are offered in the near future (see Bob’s President’s Report for more detail).

I hope you all have a tremendous experience at AFSA41! Take care, continue to save lives, and God Bless.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AFSA At-Large Director and Chair Jack A. Medovich, P.E., is president & CEO and founding partner of Fire & Life Safety America, formerly known as East Coast Fire Protection Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. A 1983 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Fire Protection Engineering, Medovich served three years as fire marshal of Fairfax County, Virginia, before joining the fire sprinkler industry 35 years ago. He has been active in AFSA since 1991, is past chair of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter, and served as the chair of the Virginia Chapter and a member of its board of directors for many years. He represents AFSA on the Correlating Committee of NFPA 13, 13R, 13D, 24, and 291. In the past, he has served as a member of the following NFPA committees: NFPA 14, 20, 25, 101 and 750.

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