training the finest fire sprinkler specialists
AFSA Apprenticeship & Education Co-Chair and At-Large Director Lyle Hall (left) judging AFSA’s 2010 National Apprentice Competition in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Value of Education

Committee Spotlight: Apprenticeship & Education Committee

When fire sprinkler professionals are looking for the best in education and apprenticeship training, they will find it with the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). A great deal of planning, development and administration goes into training the finest fire sprinkler specialists in the country. Behind this vitally important work is AFSA’s Apprenticeship & Education (A&E) Committee. Co-chaired by Board of Directors members Tom McKinnon of Aegis Fire Systems, Pleasanton, California, and Lyle Hall of Western Fire Protection, Poway, California, this committee oversees the development of education and training for AFSA member contractors, installers, and other influential industry groups from start to finish.

“There is never a dull moment on the A&E Committee,” says Leslie Clounts, AFSA’s director of education and staff liaison to the committee. “It’s amazing to see this diverse group of people collect and discuss innovative ways to keep AFSA training fresh for the fire protection industry. Seeing our latest project, the ITM Inspector Development Program, come to fruition is rewarding. I look forward to working with this talented group in 2016.”

The A&E Committee is currently working on creating and shaping its newest project, the Inspection, Testing & Maintenance (ITM) Inspector Development program. The program utilizes on-demand and live training courses combined with a robustly structured on-the-job training (OJT) and mentoring program with the goal of candidates passing a NICET Level II water-based inspection certification exam in less than two years. This comprehensive program provides recommendations for implementation at every level, including hiring recommendations, applicant screening tips, training record keeping, and more. The committee has been instrumental in bringing this program to life.

Lyle Hall, co-chair of the committee, has greatly enjoyed serving with his fellow committee members. “My philosophy has always been: raise the bar for your competitors, get trained and get other people involved,” says Hall. “Create better fire protection across the board through training.”

The committee is also responsible for suggesting topics for upcoming seminars, the convention, and other educational items. Training is an ongoing process. AFSA is continually seeking to improve its education programs. Therefore, AFSA encourages its members to submit their suggestions to the A&E Committee. Join us in thanking these committee members for their willingness to share their time and expertise to make AFSA programs the best they can be.

Members of the 2016 Apprenticeship & Education Committee are:

  • Co-Chair Tom McKinnon, Aegis Fire Systems, Pleasanton, California;
  • Co-Chair Lyle Hall, Western Fire Protection, Poway, California;
  • Derek Allen, HD Supply Fire Protection, San Francisco, California;
  • Dwight Bateman, Southeast Fire Protection, Houston, Texas;
  • Debbie Bien, Quality Fabrication & Supply, Sanford, Florida;
  • Rod DiBona, Rapid Fire Protection, Rapid City, South Dakota;
  • George DiMatteo, Ferguson Fire Protection, Mansfield, Texas;
  • Don Kaufman, Kaufman Fire Protection, Albuquerque, New Mexico;
  • Chuck Kitts, System Sensor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  • Jack Medovich, Fire & Life Safety America, Baltimore, Maryland;
  • Tiffany Moore, Moore Fire Protection, Issaquah, Washington;
  • Bernie Parsons, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Charlotte, North Carolina;
  • Jeff Phifer, Crawford Sprinkler Co., Lugoff, South Carolina;
  • Chris Stason, Victaulic, Los Angeles, California;
  • Jack Viola, JFV Engineering, LLC, South Hadley, Massachusetts;
  • George Wagner, AFSA Virginia Chapter, Mechanicsville, Virginia;
  • Wayne Weisz, Cen-Cal Fire Systems, Inc., Lodi, California; and
  • Meaghen Wills, Anchor Fire Protection Co., Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania.

For more information on AFSA committees or programs, visit AFSA’s website at

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