Largest Donation to Date Will Help Fund Legendary National Apprentice Competition
In 1994, Allsouth Sprinkler Company’s founder, Robert L. “Bob” McCullough, was the chairman of the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) Education & Apprenticeship Committee. In his role as chairman, he was instrumental in the formation of AFSA’s Annual National Apprentice Competition, as well as early development of AFSA’s four-level apprenticeship training series.
The competition was created to promote apprentice training and give recognition to the apprentices who are actively enrolled in the AFSA Apprenticeship Program. In 2000, the AFSA Board of Directors voted and approved to create an award to honor McCullough for his dedication to the competition and to training. The Robert L. McCullough AFSA Training for Excellence Award is displayed each year at the National Apprentice Competition. The award features the first place winner’s name of each competition, dating back to the first year. It is housed at AFSA’s national office in Dallas, Texas. Over 20 years later, the competition continues to bring fire sprinkler apprentices from local AFSA chapters and member training programs from all corners of the United States together in the association’s foremost showcase of excellence in training among future industry leaders.
This July, Allsouth Sprinkler Company celebrated 35 years as a member of AFSA. In addition to being one of AFSA’s oldest members, Allsouth has now become the largest donor to the Annual National Apprentice Competition with their $10,000 donation. Their magnanimous donation will go toward offsetting the expenses for the competition finalists.
“This very generous donation to the apprentice competition is extremely appreciated as it supports the best of the best fire sprinkler fitters in their endeavor to achieve recognition for excellence in their careers,” says AFSA’s Vice President of Meetings & Operations Marlene Garrett, CMP. “It is a very touching reminder of the legacy of Robert L. McCullough from Allsouth Sprinkler many years ago who gave life to what has been the annual apprentice competition for 24 years.”
John J. McCullough, current CEO of Allsouth Sprinkler Company and son of Robert L. McCullough, is very proud of the contributions that his late father made to the industry and to AFSA. “My father was heavily involved in building the foundation for the apprenticeship program and competition,” says McCullough. “His contributions and accomplishments have been of great value to myself, our company and to our industry. Of all the things that he taught me, investing in education is the most crucial to the development of our younger generations. We are proud to be a part of the AFSA and support their efforts in this as well.”
Every year, seven finalists, apprentices representing member companies from across the country, compete to become the winner of this national competition. These contestants take a practical test in the exhibit hall during the AFSA Exhibition each year, as they cut, thread and install a steel and CPVC piping system with sprinkler heads and perform a pressure test. Attendees of the convention have the opportunity to see this competition from beginning to end. The seven finalists receive an expense-paid trip to compete at the convention, accommodations at the convention, a free full convention registration for each finalist’s employer, a cash award and a brand new set of hand tools.
This year, the National Apprentice Competition will take place in Las Vegas at AFSA36: Convention, Exhibition and Apprentice Competition at the premier hotel on the Vegas Strip, Bellagio Las Vegas.
Names of first-place competition winners are added each year to the Robert L. McCullough AFSA Training for Excellence Award plaque at AFSA headquarters. Learn more about McCullough’s indelible mark on the fire protection industry and the legacy he leaves through AFSA education and training by visiting firesprinkler.org.