July already. Wow! Now past the halfway point in the calendar year. Seems as though every time I sit to pen an article, I can’t help but reflect upon how quickly time is passing. Business wise it has been a very, very nice year thus far. Not only for our company, but the construction industry in general in my area. Hope you are experiencing the same.
Well, the first order of regular business for this article is to ask that you direct your attention to the convention information included in the July issue of Sprinkler Age (read the digital edition online). You will see that it is being held October 10-13 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. If you have yet to stay at a JW Marriott, you should certainly take advantage of this opportunity to mix business and education with a great deal of pleasure. If you already have been fortunate to stay at a JW, you know what magnificent facilities they are.
Additionally, the exhibit space is a sellout so the sprinkler industry’s largest trade show will maintain its status as “best of class”! And once again, the array and number of seminars is unparalleled in the sprinkler industry. Also, please note the “early bird” registration deadline (July 25) so you can sign up at the lowest rate. Although the event is still a great value at the full rate, there is no reason not to take advantage of the discount opportunity.
“Growing Your Business” is the theme for Sprinkler Age this month. And indeed we have a couple of pet initiatives for AFSA that parallel that theme quite closely. One is raising the Next Generation of leadership. An extremely important consideration in my opinion. Due to the space constraints for this month’s message, my thoughts on that topic will wait until September. In the meantime, please see page 16 of the July 2015 issue for an article relating to that subject.
The other extremely important initiative is recruiting a pool of trainers to assist in educating the growing number of designers, fitters and inspectors this industry demands. AFSA already has several high quality training programs – and others in development. As you undoubtedly are aware, AFSA was founded by fire sprinkler contractors with the initial objective of providing training and education for apprentice fitters. That objective was achieved many years ago with the development of the four-level apprenticeship correspondence course that is a model for the industry. We also offer in-house a Fire Sprinkler System Planning School for designers, and correspondence courses for residential system installation, foremanship and designers. Additionally there are eCampus (sprinklerecampus.com) online courses for system design, hydraulic calculations, hanging and bracing, seismic considerations, etc. We have a “Fire Sprinkler Inspection Training and Certificate” program conducted in conjunction with Oklahoma State University.
You get the picture
As our Apprentice & Education Committee continues to develop programs, it is imperative we cultivate a pool of trainers to implement the programs and educate those in need of training. It requires both people to develop content and people to stand in front of the class and communicate the meaning of the curriculum. Please go to firesprinkler.org/trainers for more information. Hopefully you will have an interest. If so, please complete a questionnaire at the bottom of that page and send to AFSA’s Manager of Education Programs Leslie Clounts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph A. Heinrich is president of Bamford Fire Sprinkler Co., Inc., Salina, Kansas, and chairman of the AFSA Board of Directors. Heinrich’s initiation to the sprinkler business was as a fitter, beginning shortly after graduation from college in 1972. He has been involved in the industry since that time. Over the course those years, he advanced to design, estimating, sales and administration and developed new contracting companies in Kansas and Colorado. Heinrich served multiple terms on the board of directors of the Kansas Sunflower Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) including one year as president. He is also involved in numerous civic and fraternal organizations on a local level. Heinrich has been an AFSA and NFPA member since 1981. He may be reached at 785-825-7710.