It’s that time of year again when we prepare for another outstanding convention, exhibition, and apprentice competition. This year it’s AFSA42, our 42nd convention and, believe it or not, the 30th anniversary of our National Apprenticeship Competition! AFSA42 will be held in Orlando, Florida, from September 6-9. By now, you should have seen the AFSA42 brochure, explaining all the tremendous seminars with the leading industry experts presenting, two parties, our famous apprenticeship competition, and an exhibit hall jam-packed with our industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers! The opportunities you will have to see old industry friends and make new ones will be endless!
Also, don’t forget about the “magic” you’ll experience throughout this event! During AFSA42’s General Session, three awards will be presented to the most deserving individuals for their respective service to our industry. They are the Henry S. Parmelee Award, the Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year Award, and the Young Professional of the Year Award. This year’s recipient of the Henry S. Parmelee Award will be determined at our next Board meeting prior to AFSA42, so you’ll have to wait for the next edition of Sprinkler Age to see who is selected. However, we do have the names of the other two award recipients:
• The 2023 Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year recipient is Fire Marshal Todd Short from Redmond, Washington. Todd has been instrumental in mandating sprinkler protection in all new construction, including single-family occupancies, in his jurisdiction.
• The 2023 Young Professional of the Year recipient is Adam Levine, president of Capitol Fire Sprinkler Company in New York. I thought I heard that Adam can sing, but, more importantly, he is one of the future leaders of our industry and well deserving of this award.
One area of our industry that has really grown throughout my career is the inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) of the systems we install. We all know that when we complete a new installation, there is a very high probability that, if needed, our systems will work. They have just been installed and tested by us contractors, the AHJs, and sometimes even the owner. However, without regular testing, three, five, or 10 years later, the probability drops tremendously. It’s no different than the vehicle you drive or any other mechanical equipment you use. Technology has transformed how we perform ITM, just like technology has changed just about everything we do. I remember using various forms for our inspections. We had a wall filled with bins with forms for the various inspections we performed. There were forms for a wet system, dry system, pump test, and every other type of inspection/test we needed. The inspectors would come in and pull the various forms they needed for that day. Then, software programs were developed, and we started using tablets and mobile phones. Customers can access their inspection reports through portals, where they will never lose another completed inspection report again. Now, we have remote inspections available to us. This is not going away and will save both the owner and contractor time/money and have the ability to perform a more thorough inspection of our systems. Please, please read the articles discussing this methodology as well as other technical advances in the ITM portion of our business.
I hope to see all of you in Orlando in September for AFSA42! It will be one that will benefit you and your business like no other! May God continue to watch over this association today and throughout 2023. May He also bless you and your companies always and in all ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: At-Large Director and Chair Jack A. Medovich, P.E., is with Summit Companies out of Mendota Heights, Minnesota. 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 36 years ago. He has been active in AFSA since 1991, is a past chair of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter, and served the Virginia Chapter as chair and as a member of the board of directors for many years. He represents AFSA on the Correlating Committee on Automatic Sprinkler Systems, encompassing 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, 750, and 5000.