need help

Need Help?

AFSA Has the Solution

“I need help.”

I think I say this to myself at least once a week. Early in my career I would just bang my head on the desk for a few hours; now I just pick up the phone. Being one of the young(er) professionals in this business, I rely on the wisdom of other people a lot.

This wasn’t always something that I had, though – people to lean on. Before the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), my decision-making process wasn’t much more calculated than one of those Magic 8 balls. Now I sometimes sound like I know what I’m talking about because I just had a 20-minute technical explanation with AFSA’s Technical Services Department staff and I picked up a few words to repeat.

It’s not just the staff’s wealth of knowledge, either. Joining a peer group like AFSA’s Next Generation Group has been an amazing thing. Now I can see how someone else’s inspection department is set up without having to don a disguise and sneak into a competitor’s building. (Not that I’ve done that or anything.) Everyone tackles their problems in their own unique way. It’s amazing to bounce ideas off other business owners, and sometimes just talking about it aloud can help solve the problem.

The knowledge and wisdom of the staff at AFSA and our fellow members across the nation are like one big “Sprinkler-pedia,” ready to help at the push of a button. Who knows, maybe someday (a long time from now) I might be on the other end of that line, helping the next generation out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clayton Lane is project manager with James Lane Air Conditioning & Plumbing Co., Inc., Wichita Falls, Texas, providing service, fire protection, and engineering since 1957. He is NICET Level III certified in inspections and testing, and a third generation mechanical contractor. Lane is a member of AFSA’s Next Generation group. Visit




EDITOR’S NOTE: AFSA’s Next Generation Group offers networking and educational events and provides resources to help the next generation of leaders excel within our industry and compliments AFSA chapters by providing them with resources to engage their young professional members. For more information, visit

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