Committee Spotlight Technical Advisory

Committee Spotlight: Technical Advisory Council

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) was created with training and education as the cornerstone of its foundation. This is evident in its development of its fire sprinkler apprentice correspondence courses to meet education goals and the establishment of the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) to provide technical services to members. Established in May 1985, the TAC allowed AFSA to address technical issues and NFPA codes and standards related to the fire sprinkler industry. Past AFSA Chairman of the Board Don Becker, AFSA life member, helped establish the TAC and has chaired the council since the early ‘90s.

“In its early days, AFSA’s Board of Directors handled all of our members’ engineering and technical concerns. Eventually, we created the TAC so they could address these issues.”

Jim Fantauzzi, North East Fire Protection Systems, Inc., Ballston, New York, served on the AFSA Board of Directors from 1989-1993 and also served as a TAC chair in its early years. He remembers a lot of hard work and late nights.

“I remember Bob Gray, Star Sprinkler, setting the structure and meetings,” says Fantauzzi. “We would meet at UL or observe tests at FM Global. Bob gave us young fellows back then experience and brought AFSA into the national spotlight during its early years.

“One of TAC’s big tasks was a rewrite and update of all the apprenticeship courses. AFSA being so young didn’t have the staff manpower and it had to be done. The council members rewrote the first books until an education committee was created,” he recalls. “I remember running the correspondence book rewrites out of my office and basically copying AFSA. It took a lot of TAC members’ involvement.

“The TAC members should really be commended for a lot of hard work,” Fantauzzi continues. “We just didn’t get together every so often and chitchat. We put as much work into the TAC as we do on NFPA technical committees. If you really do your job right, you’re working hard, and TAC was a real workhorse.”

The TAC’s role in the association grew until it was evident that a formal department was needed. AFSA established its Technical Services Department in 1996, led by Roland J. Huggins, P.E.

“We greatly appreciate the time and dedication of our TAC members,” states Huggins. “Their expertise and input, especially in the early years, has been invaluable to our industry.”

Today, the department serves as a resource for NFPA standards related to fire sprinklers. Two professional engineers on staff provide over 65 years of combined experience in enforcement, consulting, and user application. AFSA staff also serves on 17 NFPA technical committees. When combined with the 35 member representatives, AFSA participates on 28 NFPA technical committees.

“This provides the opportunity to better understand the intent of the installation standards that drive the fire sprinkler industry,” comments Huggins. “A lot of effort is invested in modifying these standards to address issues of concern to the contractor.”

An important service provided by the technical services staff is informal interpretations. Becker created this program, offering written interpretations on any subject related to automatic fire sprinklers. These interpretations are provided free-of-charge to AFSA members via direct request or online access to AFSA’s library.

Forty contractors, designers and engineers from around the country currently serve on the TAC, comprised of AFSA representatives on NFPA technical committees, sprinkler manufacturers from AFSA’s Manufacturers/Suppliers (M/S) Council, and AFSA staff. The foresight of the AFSA Board of Directors to create the TAC and the services provided by its members has helped propel AFSA to the forefront of the fire sprinkler industry.

Technical Advisory Council Members

Brent Agan, USAutomatic Sprinkler Corporation

Don Becker, RJC & Associates

Tracey Bellamy, Telgian Corporation

Linda Biernacki, Fire Tech Systems, Inc.

Chris Born, Clark Nexsen, Inc.

Daniel Briggs, Jackson Associates, Inc.

Grant Campbell, Fire Life Safety America

Howard Clay, VSC Fire & Security

John Denhardt, Strickland Fire Protection

John Desrosier, Tyco Fire Products

Jim Fantauzzi, North East Fire Protection Systems, Inc.

Mark Fessenden, Tyco Fire Products – STAR

Robert Garrett, VSC Fire & Security

Jason Gill, Fire & Life Safety America

Ron Greenman, Bates Technical College

Bill Harvey, Harvey & Associates, Inc.

Roland Huggins, AFSA

Rick Jackson, Jackson Associates, Inc.

Duane Johnson, Strickland Fire Protection

Chris Kachura, Southeast Fire Protection

Ray Lambert, Western Fire Protection

Steve Leyton, Protection Design and Consulting

Dan Mathias, Absolute Fire Protection

Jack Medovich, Fire Life Safety America

Mike Meehan, VSC Fire & Security

Parks Moore, S&S Sprinkler Company

Tom Multer, Reliable Automati Sprinkler Co.

Randy Nelson, VFS Fire Protection

Greg Patrick, Treasure Valley Fire Protection

Jeff Rovegno, Mr. Sprinkler Fire Protection

Bill Reilly, Victaulic

Steven Scandaliato, SDG, Inc.

Dave Sornsin, Sornsin FP Design & Consulting

Jared VanGammeren, Midwestern Mechanical, Inc.

Jack Viola, JFV Engineering, LLC

Ken Wagoner, Parsley Consulting

Tom Wellen, AFSA

Byron Weisz, Cen-Cal Fire Systems, Inc.

Martin Workman, Viking Group

Brent Zimiga, Rapid Fire Protection, Inc.

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