In this issue, I want to talk to you about opportunity. But before I do so, I want to take this moment to tell you how much you and your family and your well-being mean to this association. The last six months have not been easy on anyone—our way of life and business have been upended. But we are more than an association; we are a family of businessmen and women who come together to learn from one another and to help each other, whether it be in person or virtually.
I do not want to dwell on the past, but instead look at the opportunity that 2021 and beyond will bring us. I am hopeful for what the next six months are going to bring each of you and our association. While a vaccine seems imminent, distribution to 300 million people will be a monumental task. And as the vaccine is distributed, Americans will return fully to work, and we’ll pull through any downturn our economy may see.
Even though the next few months may look like a challenge, we will get through them and come out even stronger. One of the lessons that this pandemic has taught us is that people can work from anywhere—save a few professions.
What that means for us is that the buildings we service will be transformed. New uses for old office spaces will pop up. We may see a dip in overall construction of new buildings going into 2021, but I believe we will still see people turning to their current buildings and coming up with new ideas for them. And you, our AFSA members, will be there for those opportunities.
Our workforce will become more mobile, which means that buildings that were not once used for work will now be places where people eat, sleep, and get things done. Those buildings will have to be brought up to code, and we will be there to make that happen with our craft and ingenuity.
There is an oft-quoted phrase that luck is where preparation and opportunity meet. To me, that can only strengthen our association’s focus on education. This year, we ramped up our online training and education programs and took our Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School and ITM Inspector Development program to cities near you. The more that you can be prepared for what lies ahead in our profession and the uncertainties of the future, the more you can take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. Those who will be the “luckiest” will be the ones who are the most educated and up-to-date in our profession.
Part of what I hoped to have accomplished before the pandemic hit was the introduction of new members to our trade, especially those graduating from high school or people looking to change careers. I still believe that we should be growing our association with new members. Many are at a crossroads in their careers and life right now, and we can be that new direction for them. It is my hope that you still look for opportunities to mentor and demonstrate the value of our trade to others so that we may share in our continued success.
One exciting addition to the AFSA team is the hiring of our new association President Bob Caputo, CFPS. Your Board members put a lot of thought, time, and energy into this process and our selection of Bob. Many of you know Bob and know he’s a great fit for AFSA and this industry. Welcome, Bob! The future is bright for AFSA, and this is just the beginning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ted Wills is chair of the AFSA Board of Directors and president of Anchor Fire Protection Company in Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania.