Networking Nashville

Networking in Nashville

Education + Entertainment = Fun!

Nashville, Tennessee has plenty to offer attendees at the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) 35th Annual Convention & Exhibition, September 14-17, 2016. From managerial and technical seminars to exciting social events, you will find exactly what and who you need! When you’re ready to take a break and relax, AFSA is there to provide the fun and networking with social gatherings, optional tours and the always popular golf tournament.

AFSA in Action

Probably the most anticipated events during convention are AFSA-sponsored ones! To start off the convention, AFSA’s golf tournament will be held the afternoon of Wednesday, September 15 at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links. With challenges around every fairway bend, Gaylord Springs forces you to think and react, creating a satisfying finish every time. No matter your player level, from tee to green you’ll be inspired by the beauty that surrounds you. This tournament will be a four-person team scramble, with a new twist on determining winning teams. Instead of the usual top three performing teams taking home the prizes, there will be three different flights. The top performing team in each flight will win the prize. Additionally, this tournament offers three different contests in both men and women divisions: closest to the pin, longest drive and our newly added, straightest drive contest. As if that is not enough, AFSA will also give away a grand prize – a TaylorMade Aeroburn driver!

Thursday night, the Next Generation gathers to network. AFSA’s Next Generation Initiative is a dynamic collection of young professional visionaries who hold the key to the next era of leadership in the fire sprinkler industry. Those age 40 and  under looking to prepare for management positions or to get more involved in AFSA national or chapter activities should plan to join other emerging leaders for this dynamic and productive networking event – featuring our first annual Young Professional of the Year award recipient and some of industry’s top leaders from the AFSA Board of Directors. Get to know our board members as they discuss career development, current issues and the general state of the industry, as well as network with AFSA’s next generation of cutting edge innovators. The relationships you make here could last a business lifetime. For more information and to join the Next Generation group, visit

Friday and Saturday, join leading manufacturers and suppliers as they present the latest technology during two exhibit hall sessions during the ever-popular Chairman’s Reception on Friday, September 16 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and the unopposed Exhibit Hall from 12:30-3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 17.

AFSA has the largest fire sprinkler exhibition in the United States and continues to grow. Visit 100 companies from all around the globe, each exhibiting innovative products and services in the industry. These exhibiting companies are those you have known and many more companies new to the industry. The National Apprentice Competition sprinkler installation practical test will take place in the hall during the Saturday exhibit hours and convention goers will be able to watch as the top seven apprentices cut, thread and install a steel and plastic pipe system with sprinklers. View the installation and judging and cheer on your favorite apprentice.

Saving the best for last, AFSA will announce the apprentice competition winner Saturday night at Music City’s gem – The Country Music Hall of Fame! The bus leaves at 6:30 p.m. and you’ll want a seat as we ride shoulder to shoulder across American music history with the likes of Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, Charlie Pride, Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn, and Buck Owens. AFSA will celebrate American history through music, food, and awards fun at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the definitive home of America’s music, safeguarding more than 2.5 million priceless artifacts, including countless recordings and photographs, numerous stage costumes, musical instruments, and more. When you walk the halls, you’ll begin to understand the universal appeal of country music, from the earliest folk traditions to the music that thrills millions of fans today.

Afterwards enjoy dinner and a show, as our Johnny Cash impersonator and band entertains throughout the evening under the soaring 40-ft glass windows overlooking downtown, providing an unparalleled view of the cityscape. Stay as AFSA recognizes its seven national apprentice competition finalists and crowns its top title winner live. Be there to see to whose name gets added to the AFSA Apprentice “Hall of Fame” plaque and takes home the top prize – the title of the nation’s top fire sprinkler apprentice and $5,000 cash. Music fans, you aren’t going to want to miss this!

In addition to AFSA’s exciting events, four optional tours are offered in Nashville. The Belle Meade Plantation Tour & Cooking Demonstration includes a guided tour of the 1853 Greek-Revival Mansion and time in the original plantation kitchen where the  Southern cooks will let you participate in cooking and tasting Southern classics like biscuits with plantation-smoked country ham, pecan pie or home-raised honey and preserves. The final stop will be a sampling of five wines in the winery, a tradition started on the plantation in 1820.

Like a little friendly competition? You don’t have to be a culinary expert, you just have to enjoy a fun-spirited food experience. Join the top-notch culinary team from Gaylord Opryland Resort for an “Iron Chef” Competition located in the beautiful Delta Pavilion at the hotel. You will be provided with secret ingredients and take on other teams to create the tastiest dish to be judged by Gaylord Opryland’s executive chef. Make sure to sign up quickly as space is limited! Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting often described as “golf with a shotgun” because a typical course includes from 10-20 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain. Unlike trap and skeet, which are games of repeatable target presentations, sporting clays simulates the unpredictability of live-quarry shooting, offering a great variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations, distances, and target sizes. Sporting clays course are designed to simulate the hunting of ducks, pheasants, other upland birds, and even rabbits. This experience takes you to one of the top facilities in the nation. Each person receives fifty shells and a round of fifty clays. No matter your skill level, come enjoy a day of sporting clay shooting.

Several whiskey distilleries and wineries have popped up in Nashville over the past few years and on this excursion, you will visit three of these and enjoy a product sampling. Stops include tasting Tennessee White Whiskey at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, enjoying small-batch whiskey at Prichard’s Distillery, and savoring several wine varieties at Natchez Hills Winery Tasking Room at Fontanel. Experience this age-old tradition of wine and whiskey production in a true southern environment.

AHJ Exclusive Seminars

Free training is available for Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) during AFSA’s convention, as part of its seminar track. Two seminars will presented by Steven Scandaliato, C.F.P.S., S.E.T and Ken Wagoner C.F.P.E., C.F.P.S., S.E.T. exclusively for AHJs. “Fire Sprinkler System Plan Review” will include requirements for plans and calculations contained in Chapter 23; class exercise in hands-on review of a fire sprinkler system plan, including overall design concept, hydraulic calculations, seismic bracing, and the underground supply system. This seminar offers 0.4 CEUs/ 4.0 CPDs.

“Rough-In Inspections and Final Acceptance Tests” is the second seminar offered only to AHJs. Among the many milestones found in the process of sprinkler system design and installation, the rough-in inspection is arguably the most important. Rarely are sprinkler systems inspected and tested by the same personnel that perform the shop drawing review. As a team, installers and fire service inspectors are our last chance to “get it right” regardless of design intent and plan review accuracy. This seminar will explain the synergy required in the design and installation process exposing the critical areas of each needed to ensure that lives and property will be saved. This seminar offers 0.2 CEUs/2.0 CPDs. Registration for AHJ seminars can be done in advance online at AFSA’s  convention website, The AHJ seminar registration link will go live in late August. Registrations can also be done onsite at the convention at the AFSA registration desk. There is no charge for AHJs in uniform or with proper identification.

Gather at the Gaylord

Experience the finest in Southern hospitality at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. This premier Opryland hotel offers guests an unforgettable getaway with all the excitement and energy of Music City under one spectacular roof. Located only 10 minutes from the airport and featuring an extraordinary selection of dining, shopping, recreational activities and entertainment, there’s never a shortage of things to do at this resort. After unwinding at Relache Spa & Salon, make a splash at the indoor or outdoor pool, hit the gym at the state-of-the-art fitness center, or explore nine acres of lush, indoor gardens and cascading waterfalls. Following a day of Nashville fun, return to deluxe accommodations with modern amenities including complimentary in-room Internet.

To be sure you get the benefits of booking in the official AFSA room block, be sure to book directly through AFSA’s convention webpage ( or through the helpful and friendly booking agents at 615-889-1000. Be sure to let the booking agent know you want the AFSA Group Rate of $210 (outside view) or $235 (atrium view) plus tax inclusive of resort fee. In addition, request a room closest to the convention center when making your reservation! The hotel reservation deadline is Friday, August 12, 2016. After this date, AFSA attendees will not be guaranteed the group rate.

AFSA Goes Mobile!

Once again, AFSA’s convention has gone mobile using Guidebook. We strongly encourage you to download the mobile guide to enhance your experience at this year’s convention. Plan your day with a personalized schedule and browse exhibitors, maps and general show info. The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Android devices. Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry users can access the same information via our mobile site at To get the guide, download “Guidebook” from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace and create a user profile. From the Guidebook application, tap “Download Guides” then “Redeem Code.” Enter the code “AFSA2016” and the guide will download to your device!

Register Now!

For those attending the full convention, the regular registration deadline is August 12, 2016. Register by that date to save the most! Late registration dates, with higher fees, are August 13-September 2, 2016. After September 2, registrations must be made onsite at the convention registration desk in Nashville, but fees higher than online rates will be incurred. You can read details about and register to attend all convention-related events online at

EDITOR’S NOTE: For companies who would like to get in on the excitement, there is still exhibit space available due to the larger sized exhibit hall this year. Potential exhibitors are encouraged to contact AFSA’s Senior Director of Meetings & Conventions Marlene Garrett as soon as possible via phone (214) 349-5965 ext. 118 or email to discuss availability.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t let your reservations be hijacked! In the past, several AFSA members have received calls from hotel reservation companies claiming to be representing AFSA and its convention. AFSA does not have any housing companies associated with its 2016 Convention & Exhibition. Reservations made at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center through a reservation company, such as Global Housing or Exhibitor Services, do not qualify for AFSA networking meals. While hotel resellers may contact you offering housing for your trip, they are not endorsed by or affiliated with AFSA or its show and entering into financial agreements with such companies can have costly consequences.

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