MEDOVICH CONTINUES AS CHAIR OF THE BOARD
The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) held its 2022-2023 officer elections during the October 2022 Board meeting. Jack Medovich, P.E., who was president/CEO and founding partner of Fire & Life Safety America, Richmond, Virginia, and is now with Summit Companies, was re-elected as Chair of the Board. Other officers re-elected were First Vice Chair Linda M. Biernacki, Region 4 Director and president, Fire Tech Systems, Inc., Shreveport, Louisiana; Second Vice Chair Paul DeLorie, Region 7 Chair and senior vice president of Hampshire Fire Protection Company, Londonderry, New Hampshire; Secretary Jeff Phifer, Region 5 Director and president and CEO of Crawford Sprinkler Co. of South Carolina; and Treasurer Rod DiBona, Region 3 Director and chief operating officer (COO) of the Rapid Fire Protection Group (R.F.P.G), Rapid City, South Dakota.
MEDOVICH CONTINUES AS CHAIR
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.
“2022 was an excellent year,” states Medovich. “The Board added Parks Moore, P.E., from S & S Fire Protection. He has already contributed to our Board in a very positive way, and I am looking forward to watching him continue to add his expertise to our group and the entire association in future years.”
He continues, “We added a member of the M/S Council to our Nominating Committee. This gives our manufacturers and suppliers input into the creation of the AFSA Board of Directors. We look forward to utilizing their knowledge and assistance in creating our future association leaders.”
Medovich notes that AFSA41 was a “tremendous success, with first-time attendees approaching 30 percent of the entire attendance! And AFSA42 looks to be an amazing event in Orlando, Florida, next September. I hope everyone will join us for the best education, exhibition, and networking in the industry!”
The coming year looks to be an exciting one, in Medovich’s opinion. “AFSA’s federal apprenticeship program has been developed, approved, and is ready to launch in January! And AFSA continues to grow as we’ve signed a lease for a new headquarters building that will feature a state-of-art training facility to enhance the ‘hands-on’ portion of our training program.”
As Chair of the Board, Medovich leads the AFSA Board of Directors, which is comprised of seven Regional Directors (one for each of the seven membership regions), At-Large Directors, and the Immediate Past Chair. The Board has a wide array of expertise, experience, and education that provides strong support to both the Chair and the association as a whole support to both the Chair and the association as a whole.
Region 1 Director Lyle Hall, president and co-owner of Western Fire Protection in Poway, California, has been in the fire sprinkler industry for 44 years, with the last 28 years at Western Fire. Prior to that, he was a helicopter-based wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. He has a degree in fire science with continuing education at the University of California San Diego. Hall started in the fire sprinkler industry as an apprentice pipefitter and worked his way into design, project management, sales, and eventually, management. His past accomplishments include past director on the San Diego Fire Protection Association board; past chair of the San Diego Chapter of the AFSA; past chair of the California American Fire Sprinkler Association – Uni-lateral Apprenticeship Committee; and past chair of the California Fire Training Alliance. Hall currently serves on the California American Fire Sprinkler Association – Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee and was the Chair of AFSA’s Apprenticeship & Education Subcommittee to develop the ITM program. He currently serves on various AFSA commit-tees and is on the board of directors for AFSA’s San Diego Chapter.
Region 2 Director is Don Kaufman, president of Kaufman Fire Protection, Albuquerque, New Mexico. With over 47 years in the sprinkler business, Kaufman was instrumental in starting AFSA’s New Mexico Chapter and is a past president of the chapter. On the national level, Kaufman served as the 2009-2011 Chair of the Board and has chaired several commit-tees. He also served as chair of the New Mexico State Board for Professional Engineers and Surveyors, three terms as chair of the New Mexico State Apprentice Council, and currently serves on the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission. He is an active member of Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), past president of ABC’s New Mexico Chapter, member of the American Society of Professional Estimators, and past charter president of Albuquerque Rotary Del Sol.
Region 3 Director and Treasurer Rod DiBona is the C.O.O of Rapid Fire Protection Group (R.F.P.G), the sprinkler division of Pye Barker Fire and Safety, with branches throughout the
United States. Rod lives in and works out of Rapid City, South Dakota. DiBona entered the fire protection industry in 1990 and entered the AFSA apprenticeship program in 1991. In October of 1993, he was asked by Marty Hammon to join him, his son, and his son-in-law to create Rapid Fire Protection. In 1995 DiBona was a top 7 finalist in the AFSA annual national apprentice competition. In July of 2021 R.F.P.G joined the Pye Barker Fire and Safety family. Rod is a NICET Level III Certified Engineering Technician in Water-Based Systems Layout. Serving as
Region 4 Director and First Vice Chair, Linda M. Biernacki is the founder/president of Fire Tech Systems, Inc., Shreveport, Louisiana. Fire Tech is an AFSA Quality Contractor, ISNetworld Certified, and is licensed in six states (Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas). Biernacki provides over 32 years of industry experience, knowledge, and background. She is 2022-2023 chair of the NICET board of governors, a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) board of directors, past president and board member of the Louisiana Fire Sprinkler Association (LFSA), represents AFSA on the NFPA 232 Committee for Protection of Records, and is past AFSA40 Conven-tion Committee and Membership & Chapter Development chair. Biernacki is certified in NICET Level III Fire Protec-tion Engineering Technology Water-Based Systems Layout and is certified by the Women’s Business Council Gulf Coast.
Region 5 Director and Secretary of the Board Jeff Phifer is president and CEO of Crawford Sprinkler Company of South Carolina, based in Lugoff, South Carolina, one of the oldest family-owned and continuously operated fire sprinkler contractors in the nation. Crawford celebrated its 100th year in 2020. Phifer has been at Crawford for 44 years, working as a fitter, service technician, and in administration. In 1999, he became the third generation to be president and chairman of the board at Crawford Sprinkler Company.
Region 6 Director Michael F. Meehan is chairman of VSC Fire & Security, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. A 1981 graduate from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, Meehan began his fire sprinkler career working summers as a pipefitter apprentice. He is a NICET Level IV Certified Engineering Technician in Water-Based Systems Layout and has more than 43 years of experience in sprinkler design engineering, estimating, project management, and senior management. Meehan is a past AFSA Chair of the Board and represents installing contractors and AFSA on the NFPA 13 committee.
Region 7 Director and Second Vice Chair of the Board Paul DeLorie is senior vice president of Hampshire Fire Protection Co., based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Hampshire Fire Protection is one of the largest merit shop fire sprinkler companies in New England. DeLorie is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. He has over 37 years of experience in sprinkler design, estimating, sales, project management, and senior management.
At-Large Director Chris Johnson is president and CEO of Piper Fire Protection, Inc., located in Clearwater, Florida. He has served in that capacity since 2002. Johnson is a NICET-certified fire protection Engineering Technician, holding a level III certification in fire sprinkler design. He has served AFSA’s Florida Chapter since 2011 as Education and Legislative Committee chair as well as vice chair and immediate past chair of the chapter. Johnson has served on the Board of ABC for the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter since 2015, will be the chair of that chapter for 2023, and he has also served on the ABC Florida State Board. Johnson was elected and sworn into office as Largo City Commissioner in November of 2022. His mission is to utilize his time, treasure, and talents to advocate for the fire sprinkler industry throughout Florida. He holds a Florida Fire Protection Contractor I License and Fire Equipment Dealers’ Licenses Class A and D.
At-Large Director Parks Moore, P.E. is the president of Sales & Engineering Services of S & S Sprinkler Company in Mobile, Alabama. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Tulane University. He is a licensed professional fire protection engineer, a Certified Fire Protection Specialist, and holds a NICET IV certification in water-based systems layout. He currently represents AFSA on the NFPA 15 Water Spray Fixed Systems Committee and NFPA 13 Technical Committee for Installation and has previously served on the NFPA 13 Committee on Hanging and Bracing. He is a past president of the Alabama Fire Sprinkler Association and has been actively involved as one of its board members since 2007. Parks is also a charter member and serves on the board of the Central Gulf Coast Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.
Jay Strickland serves as an At-Large Director. He is the president of Strickland Fire Protection. After 39 years, he partnered with Pye Barker and Rapid-Fire Group in 2021. Strickland Fire Protection is in Forestville, Maryland, and was established in 1983. Strickland has been involved in the fire protection industry for nearly 40 years. He is NICET Level II, Fire Protection, Water-Based System Layout. He is a past chair of the AFSA Chesapeake Bay Chapter. He also serves on the Board of Anne Arundel Community College Foundation, a 501(c) 3 corporation. The organization’s mission is to secure and steward private funds to enhance the educational endeavors of the college. This includes creating a new pathway to earn a college degree that many skilled craftsmen and women may have never considered as an option. A new Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program at AACC will enable students who have completed apprenticeship programs to earn credits for their hard work. This will include pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. The degree will be part of the school programming to ensure that students have the resources they need to pursue lifelong careers and that local businesses have a pipeline of employees ready for roles from entry-level through upper management.
At-Large Director Wayne Weisz started his career in the fire sprinkler industry in 1979. He started as an apprentice and quickly worked his way through the ranks as a foreman and then general superintendent with American Fire Systems in Lodi, California. In 1986, Weisz, along with his brother Byron, founded Cen-Cal Fire Systems, Inc., also in Lodi. In 1997, the brothers established D-M Fabrication, which ran as an independent pipe fabrication facility supplying fire sprinkler piping throughout the western United States. That facility was sold later to a national supplier. Cen-Cal Fire became a member of AFSA in 1987. Weisz became a member of the AFSA National Board of Directors in 2005. He is active in California apprenticeship issues and sat on the State CAFSA board of directors for 20 years. He is also a founding member of and active in the AFSA Sacramento Valley Chapter. Weisz is a past Chair of the AFSA Board of Directors and currently sits on several national committees.
At-Large Director and Immediate Past Chair Ted Wills is president of Anchor Fire Protection Company, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania. He was an active member of AFSA in its early years, serving on the AFSA Board of Directors from 1987-1993. He began his fire sprinkler industry career in 1972 in the sprinkler division of his father’s mechanical company. Upon graduation from Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania, he and his father started Anchor Fire Protection as a separate company.
Ex-Officio (non-voting) members of the Board are Don Becker, AFSA Life Member, Dallas Center, Iowa; Joe Heinrich; Bamford Fire Sprinkler Co., Inc., Salina, Kansas; Bob Rees, API, High Point, North Carolina; Manning Strickland, Strickland Fire Protection, Inc., Forestville, Maryland; Willie Templin, American Automatic Sprinkler, Fort Worth, Texas; Larry Thibodeau, Hampshire Fire Protection Co., LLC, Londonderry, New Hampshire; Jack Viola, JFV Engineering, LLC, South Hadley, Massachusetts; and AFSA President Bob Caputo, CFPS.
CALL UPON THE BOARD
AFSA’s Board of Directors is strongly committed to the continuance of the merit shop philosophy; the promotion of property and life safety through the use of automatic fire protection; and the continued development of training for fire sprinkler fitters, layout technicians, inspectors, and management. AFSA members are encouraged to voice any questions or suggestions with any member of the Board or staff. If you have a question or comment, please see the list of contacts located in the front of every issue of Sprinkler Age or on the AFSA website at firesprinkler.org/board.