NextGen or Not: Use #SprinklerGeek on Social Media
My favorite definition of the word geek is, “The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult.” Really though, the best way to define a geek is as a knowledgeable, borderline obsessive, enthusiast of a given subject – in our case, fire sprinklers.
I’ve met a lot of sprinkler geeks in my travels through training presentations, trade shows, and sales calls – and I mean geek in the best way possible. As much as I love long talks about the weather (sarcasm), it is incredibly refreshing to speak to people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their profession.
The sprinkler geeks whom I’ve met show their enthusiasm in all aspects of the fire sprinkler industry. I’ve listened on as a group of NICET IV designers argued and laughed about the complexities of the most obscure parts of fire code. There are displays of seemingly ancient sprinkler heads in the lobbies of contractor’s offices all over the country curated by a resident enthusiast who can tell you who manufactured each one and when. I’ve been handed phones by field technicians as they invited me to check out pictures of the installations they are most proud of, and I’ve listened to stories of service calls that are nothing short of astounding. All of these people are geeks of the highest order. My kind of geeks – sprinkler geeks.
If you identify with what I just described, you are a sprinkler geek, too, and I’m calling you out. The NextGen group is starting a social media campaign around the hashtag #SprinklerGeek. It’s designed to be an opportunity to bring attention to the sprinkler industry by showing our friends and family what we are all about. This campaign is also a way for us to bridge the generational divide between Millennials, Gen-Xers and Boomers within the industry. Passion is genuine. Enthusiasm for your work is both contagious and timeless. People who are new to the industry can have just as much enthusiasm for sprinkler systems as veterans – but no one will know if we don’t tell our stories. If we all start talking about what makes us excited to be a part of this great industry you will see for yourself how much we all have in common. When you do talk about it, do it on social media and use #SprinklerGeek.
To participate just answer the question – how am I a #SprinklerGeek? Post your response with a picture or video to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or your social media outlet of choice. If you know someone with a great story or interest regarding the industry encourage them to post as well.
If you want to participate but you aren’t sure how, send an email to email@example.com with #SprinklerGeek in the subject and you will get the direction you need. You can also ask the youngest person in your office for assistance – they will appreciate being able to demonstrate something they know that is of value! If I’m going to challenge you to let your geek flag fly, it’s only fair that I take my turn.
I’m a #SprinklerGeek when it comes to old machinery. I love to see old valves and heads pulled from various job sites. As a manufacturer it’s really interesting to see what aspects of these old units are the same and how they have been improved upon by several generations of engineers and technological advancements.
Many contractors I know will keep these antiques in their offices or post pictures to social media (the next time they do I hope they use #SprinklerGeek). Well, I do the same, but being from a family that manufacturers fire protection air compressors, I have a bias for one type of machine in particular. The above picture shows me in our lobby with the oldest dry system air compressor we have found so far. The pump was built by the Rockwood Sprinkler Company in Worcester, Massachusetts during World War II and was servicing a dry system up until 2014. This beautiful machine is made of so much steel it could stop a train and keep running. As a matter of fact, we cleaned it up and ran it ourselves before we put it on display.
So there’s my sprinkler geekiness for the world to see. If you’ve crossed the path of some distinctive old sprinkler machinery, especially an air compressor, let me know when you cross my path – I’m just the kind of geek you’ve been waiting to tell!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ray Fremont, Jr. is the national sales and marketing manager for General Air Products, Inc., Exton, Pennsylvania, and a member of AFSA’s M/S Council and NextGen Initiative. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.