AFSA’s Convention Committee works hard to provide expert education such as this AFSA38 seminar led by Matt Klaus, NFPA, and Bob Caputo, Fire & Life Safety America.

Preparation Pays Off

Convention Committee in the Spotlight

It’s no surprise that the biggest event of its kind in the fire sprinkler industry is also the biggest annual event for the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). AFSA39: Convention, Exhibition & Apprentice Competition is a gathering of fire protection professionals from across the globe, and planning this event is no small feat. It is a year-round endeavor full of planning and preparation, and the members of this committee don’t take their task lightly. This year’s event is co-chaired by AFSA Region 2 Director Don Kaufman, Kaufman Fire Protection, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and AFSA At-Large Director Chris Johnson, Piper Fire Protection, Inc., Clearwater, Florida. 

In-depth planning for AFSA39 began at the AFSA Board of Director’s January 2020 meeting, before COVID-19 reached the United States. Seminars were discussed, venues selected, and exhibit hall space planned out as members looked forward to meeting in Orlando, Florida, September 13-16 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek resort. And planning is still underway! With the event being held in the fall, both committee members and AFSA staff are hopeful that AFSA39 will still be held.

“Planning for AFSA39 is much different than in past years, but we remain cautiously optimistic that we will be able to hold this convention,” says AFSA Vice President, Program Operations & Education Services Marlene Garrett, staff liaison to the committee. “We anticipate a ‘new norm’ will be implemented by that time.” 

This year’s event features 48 seminars offering 8.2 CEUs, 82 CPDs, and 82 Contact Hours. Manufacturers and suppliers are booking exhibition booths. Social events, the awards party, and a golf tournament are planned. AFSA39 promises to be even more magical as the headquarter hotel is an official Walt Disney World® Resort and offers special benefits for those who want to indulge in a little fun before or after convention. The Convention Committee has been hard at work, making this year’s event the best yet!

Serving on the Convention Committee is no easy task. Its members are involved in planning seminars, organizing tours, choosing the awards event venue, deciding on sponsorships, finalizing golf tournament details, selecting special guest speakers, reviewing convention surveys, and many other vital convention-related tasks. It also considers the convention and exhibition’s finances, recommending pricing, special offers, and a total budget.

The committee is comprised of a mix of contractors and associate members, which ensures a balance between the two different voices. The committee members work hard to make decisions that are in the best interest of every member. The 2020 convention committee consists of 18 volunteers. In addition to Kaufman and Johnson, they are: Derek Allen, Core and Main Fire Protection, Hayward, California; Linda Biernacki, Fire Tech Systems, Inc., Shreveport, Louisiana; Buck Buchanan, Globe Fire Sprinkler Corporation, Devon, Pennsylvania; George DiMatteo, Ferguson Fire & Fabrication, Mansfield, Texas; Mike Dooley, Anvil International, Holliston, Massachusetts; Stacey Fantauzzi, North East Fire Protection Systems, Inc. (NEFPSI), Ballston Spa, New York; Lyle Hall, Western Fire Protection, Poway, California; Joe Heinrich, Bamford Fire Sprinkler Co., Inc., Salina, Kansas; Scott Howser, Victaulic, Easton, Pennsylvania; Tiffany Iacolucci, Moore Fire Protection, Issaquah, Washington; Jack Medovich, Fire & Life Safety America, Hanover, Maryland; Katie Meehan, VSC Fire & Security, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Rex Schwendiman Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc., Dallas, Texas; Jay Strickland, Strickland Fire Protection, Forrestville, Maryland; Joe Tieman, Johnson Controls, Hillard, Ohio; and Jack Viola, JFV Engineering, LLC, South Hadley, Massachusetts.

“I could not be more grateful to the convention committee members who work diligently to select seminar topics and events that will be most beneficial to AFSA members,” comments Garrett. “This committee comes up with new innovative ideas each year. It’s evident that the decisions made by these members make a huge impact on the success of the annual convention.”

Read about the AFSA39 seminars this year’s committee has selected on page 16 of this issue or visit for more details.

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