members celebrate milestone anniversaries
s the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) celebrates its 39th anniversary in 2020, we also recognize those members who are celebrating milestone membership anniversaries. The member companies featured have belonged to AFSA for 15 or more years of continuous membership.
“Associations exist and are successful because of dedicated members—dedicated members who believe in the mission and vision of AFSA and who are committed to developing the industry,” says AFSA’s Chapter Relations Manager Meda Merritt. “Congratulations, and thank you to these companies for their continued membership and support of AFSA.”
Several members are celebrating milestone anniversaries in May and June. Sprinkler Age asked those members some questions about their time in the fire sprinkler industry. Contractor Members Cooper Fire Protection Services, Inc., Farmington, New Mexico; Fire Safety Sales Co., Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Wente Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc., Effingham, Illinois shared some of their favorite AFSA memories and things they’ve learned.
How did you get inVolved in the fire sprinkler industry?
Skyler Bilbo, owner of Wente: “I took a class for beginner designers when I was 15. It’s a lot easier to ask questions when your dad is the teacher.”
Scott Chapman, president of Fire Safety: “Through my father—he was an assistant fire chief and got me interested.”
Ireke Cooper, president of Cooper: “Cy Cooper Company was founded as a plumbing and mechanical contracting firm in 1975. Back then, we subcontracted the fire sprinkler scope, and the closest service provider was 180 miles away. Getting warranty conducted was very slow and sometimes impossible, so we ended up doing the work. To provide better customer service and faster response, Cy decided it was time to self-perform the fire sprinklers, so he attended OSU, started pursuing NICET, and fell in love with the industry. We began transitioning away from mechanical to focus solely on fire protection in the mid-‘80s, and in the mid-’90s, the transition was complete. We were now solely a fire protection contractor, working at getting better every day.”
How did you get involved with AFSA?
Bilbo: “I bought Wente Plumbing and Fire Protection four years ago. It was an easy decision to keep our membership active.”
Chapman: “I wanted to join an organization to get updated answers on all my questions.”
What is your favorite or most used
Bilbo: “Inspection forms—an update on these can’t come soon enough.”
Chapman: “Training and questions answered.”
Cooper: “Apprenticeship training resources and informal interpretations.”
What is your favorite AFSA and/or AFSA convention memory?
Bilbo: “I have never been to an AFSA convention, but I have been planning to go to my first one this year.”
Chapman: “Seeing all my vendors. They are great guys.”
Cooper: “I have two—meeting Top Myers and Kelly Murphy of Asurio inspection software after using their product for several years, and dinners with Gregory Coggiano of CB Partners LLC.”
What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the industry?
Bilbo: “I have only been at it for about 15 years, but I would say the move to taller warehousing has necessitated many innovations.”
Chapman: “Don’t know—we try to keep up with all the changes.”
Cooper: “Flex heads, push on couplings, and 1-in. Victaulic rapid groovers.”
What’s the key ingredient to your success?
Bilbo: “If I have to choose one, then my faith. I think it is important to mention other essential ingredients, which include my wife, coworkers, mentors, family, friends, quality suppliers, and customers.”
Chapman: “Never tell a customer, ‘No, it can’t be done.’ And try to be friendly to all your competitors—there is so much work out there it can never get done.”
Cooper: “Our people who pour their hearts and souls into all they do.”
If I weren’t working in fire protection, I would be…
Bilbo: “ … a structural engineer.”
Chapman: “ … a fire marshal so I could get rid of the riff-raff that is out there.”
Cooper: “Are you kidding me? Fire protection is the only place I’d be!”
AFSA looks forward to celebrating with more members! Recognition in Sprinkler Age will be done in five-year anniversary increments and is available to all membership types. Congratulations to these members and AFSA looks forward to celebrating with more members throughout the year!
AFSA Milestone Membership Anniversaries
D.C. Goodman & Sons, Inc., Huntingdon, PA
Kaufman Fire Protection, Albuquerque, NM
Warehouse Mech. Contr., Inc., Chicopee, MA
N.W. Missouri Auto. Sprinkler Corp., Lawson, MO
A & D Fire Protection, San Diego, CA
Brassco, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA
Cooper Fire Protection Services, Inc., Farmington, NM
Jackson Associates, Inc., Commerce Township, MI
L. Pugh & Associates, Pensacola, FL
Permabond, Somerset, NJ
Talco Industries Inc. dba Talco Fire Sys, Portland, OR
Fire Safety Sales Co., Inc., Santa Fe, NM
Sure Fire Protection Co., Inc., Fremont, CA
Wente Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc., Effingham, IL
Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office, Murray, UT
Alliance Fire & Safety, Venice, FL
Gateway Fire Equipment, Merced, CA
Spears Manufacturing Co., Sylmar, CA