This is my first article since becoming Chair of this tremendous American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). I am truly humbled to serve all of you in this capacity and will do my best to listen to and meet your needs. As members, you are the most important asset of this Association. It is our job, as your Board, to give you the training and support you desire. I want to thank Ted Wills and Wayne Weisz, who were the past two chairs. They led this organization through some difficult times with staff turnover at the highest level. I feel that our current staff is the best it’s ever been with the addition of Bob Caputo as president and John Denhardt as vice president of Engineering & Technical Services who joined an outstanding team, including Laverne Davis, Marlene Garrett, and all the other AFSA employees. John has created the best technical department our industry has ever seen. Kevin Hall, Josh MacDonald, John Johnson, and Victoria Valentine head a technically gifted department waiting to assist you all in dealing with any technical problems you may have. I’m just grateful that Ted and Wayne fixed all the issues before my term started!
I’ve been told I need to tell you a little bit about myself for those who haven’t met me yet. I am a son of a New York firefighter who absolutely inspired my career path. Thank you, Dad! I have been a volunteer firefighter for over 40 years. I’ve been in contracting for the past 35 years and was an AHJ prior to that. I am a fire protection engineering graduate from the University of Maryland, a registered professional engineer in multiple states, and have been sitting on NFPA code-writing committees since 1984. I am currently the president and CEO of Fire & Life Safety America. I’ve been on AFSA’s Board of Directors since 2008 and am a past chair of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter and past president of the Virginia Chapter. I also chair a 501c3 organization called the Burn Survivors Foundation (www.burnsurvivorsfoundationva.org), which helps burn survivors in the Mid-Atlantic region.
One thing AFSA does very well is to represent you all on various NFPA code-writing committees. Our purpose is to protect the contractor during the code-writing process. We make sure any code-modification proposals are, in fact, good fire protection that enhances life safety (believe it or not, some don’t) and that these proposals don’t add unnecessary risk to the contracting community. This edition of Sprinkler Age will focus on NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems. I sat on this standard’s committee for many years until I asked Steve Leyton to take the baton from me and run with it, which he has done better than I could have ever done! Steve now chairs that standard, and we’re very proud of his efforts. Make sure to read the articles contained in this issue.
The other thing AFSA does great is PARTY! AFSA40 was the best convention I’ve ever attended. The music, food, and technical sessions were out of this world! Congratulations to Convention Chair Linda Biernacki, the Convention Committee, and Marlene Garrett for setting the bar extremely high for AFSA41 in Las Vegas next year. Make sure to see the pictures and summary contained in this edition as well.
I look forward to serving you over the next two years. Please feel free to reach out with any suggestions you may have on enhancing your AFSA experience. Until next time, may God Bless AFSA, the USA, and may God Bless you always and in all ways
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Medovich, P.E., is chair of the AFSA Board of Directors and CEO and founding partner of Fire & Life Safety America in Richmond, Virginia.