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Members Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

Thank You for Your Support!

As the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) celebrates its 36th anniversary, we recognize those members who are also celebrating milestone membership anniversaries. These member companies have belonged to AFSA for 15 or more years of continuous membership.

“Congratulations to our members celebrating anniversaries in March and April of this year,” comments AFSA Director of Member Services Bradley Elliott. “We greatly appreciate our members and their commitment to AFSA. Without them, we couldn’t provide services and products that better the fire sprinkler industry and keep this association great.”

Several members are celebrating milestone anniversaries in March and April 2017, including Associate Member AFCON, South El Monte, California and Designer Member Gagnon Engineering, Woodbine, Maryland. Sprinkler Age asked these members to walk down memory lane and share what they’ve learned over the years.

As a 30-year member, AFCON CEO Kraig Kirschner spoke about his experiences and the people who’ve made a difference in the industry and AFSA.

How did you get involved in the fire sprinkler industry?

As a third-generation fire sprinkler contractor who was active in the industry for 30 years and as a second-generation manufacturer, I grew up around both fire sprinkler contracting and manufacturing of sprinkler heads.

How did you get involved with AFSA?

Thankfully, Past AFSA Director of Member Services Lloyd Ivy demanded my participation.

What is your favorite or most used AFSA benefit?

Participating in the AFSA committee process, which facilitates networking, dialogue, knowledge and friendship.

Please share your favorite AFSA memory.

Camaraderie with and respect for dedicated professionals who commit and sacrifice for the betterment of AFSA membership. Some names of note, a list which is always incomplete: “The Originals” – Bob McCullough, Tom Waller, Lowell Gillett, Willie Templin, Jack Viola, Marty Giles and Manning Strickland. “In the Trenches” –  Don Kaufman, George Wagner and Buck Buchanan. “Of Recent Note”– Mike Meehan, Lyle Hall and Rod DiBona. “Great Staff” – everyone at AFSA.

And your favorite part of convention?

Technical presentations and contractor interaction.

What is the most significant change you’ve seen at AFSA? Significant membership growth evidenced by increasing attendance at the annual convention. AFSA’s trade show booth growth is also significant. These, among others, relay enhanced credibility and prestige of this organization.

What’s the key ingredient to your success?

My AFCON family, determination and faith.

Celebrating a silver anniversary with the association, Gagnon Engineering Owner Robert Gagnon, P.E., F.S.F.P.E., S.E.T., also shared how he came to join the industry and how he benefits from being an AFSA member.

How did you get involved in the industry and AFSA?

I received my bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and hired an employment agent who put me through many tests. I was given a stack of offers from employers that matched my interests and abilities and Automatic Sprinkler Corporation (ASCOA) stood out. It had the right mix of office and field work, design and field supervision, conceptualization and viewing the finished product, and calculation. I needed to be involved with something that made the world a better place. This profession was perfect, and was the best business decision I ever made. I often say, “Don’t follow the money; follow your interests and the money will follow you.” ASCOA paid for my bachelor of science and master of science degrees in fire protection engineering and was my first client when I founded Gagnon Engineering. I also joined AFSA early in my career. I knew that it was important to be an active part of my profession.

What is your favorite or most used AFSA benefit?

I take the webinars when I need continuing education units (CEUs) to renew my P.E. license and two NICET Level IV certifications. I love to network with fellow professionals.

What have you found to be the key to your success?

My mentors. My mentor at Western Maryland College was (and still is) Dr. James Lightner. I had many mentors and colleagues with ASCOA, including Ezio Angellini. My mentor at the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering was the legendary Dr. John L. Bryan among many others, including Dr. James A. Milke. I am truly blessed. I followed my interests and was mentored by the best.

If I weren’t working in this industry, I would be…

I cannot imagine not doing what I do. My work was a daily delight, and the choice I made 47 years ago as a 21-year-old kid out of college was a wise one.

AFSA congratulates the members celebrating these anniversary milestones and looks forward to celebrating with more members in the future. Recognition in Sprinkler Age will be done in five-year anniversary increments and is available to all membership types. Happy Anniversary!

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