Members Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries
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.
Several members are celebrating milestone anniversaries in May and June 2017, including Contractor Member Treasure Valley Fire Protection, Boise, Idaho. Current owners Brodie and Nathan Stenquist were pleased to have President Ron Stenquist, and Vice President of Sales R. Greg Patrick, S.E.T., walk down memory lane and share what they’ve experienced and learned over past 30 years with AFSA.
How did you get involved in the fire sprinkler industry?
Stenquist: My career in the fire sprinkler industry began accidentally nearly 50 years ago when I answered a call for summer help to install sprinklers at a senior high job site. I showed up carrying a shovel, thinking I would be installing lawn irrigation sprinklers. I became a fire sprinkler apprentice, indentured to Local 669, eventually a journeyman sprinkler fitter, foremen, and manager. Then I created Treasure Valley Fire Protection (TVFP) in September 1979. The first TVFP office was in my residence garage.
Patrick: I was attending school, studying architecture and answered a help wanted ad for a drafting position in a sprinkler contractor’s office. I knew absolutely nothing about sprinklers but they hired me as a draftsman and the rest is history.
How did you get involved with AFSA?
Stenquist: Shortly after forming TVFP, I realized the importance of being involved in the fire sprinkler contractors’ trade organization. NAS&FCA (now NFSA) was the only available access to an apprenticeship program. It was soon discovered by me and my business associate that the only access or entry for potential apprentices was for them to become a union member. In Idaho (a Right-to-Work state) and for interstate commerce, this is illegal. When the founders of AFSA made clear that they were aware of the need for training, TVFP became a member of AFSA.
Patrick: I became involved in AFSA through my employer, Treasure Valley Fire Protection, and attended my first convention in 1991.
What is your favorite or most used AFSA benefit?
Stenquist: AFSA quickly proved that it was to become the leader in fire sprinkler technology and training. AFSA is by far the best place for relationships with the industry’s experts, who incidentally are the members. No matter if it is by participating in webinars, attending seminars at the annual convention, or watching the growth of a sprinkler fitter who successfully completed AFSA’s apprenticeship program, the greatest benefit is the people who manage, work with or for, consult with or for, learn from and belong to and lead AFSA.
Patrick: The education and convenience value of the webinars is excellent, but the overall education and networking experience at convention makes that my favorite.
What was your AFSA convention memory?
Stenquist: Although there have been many, many conventions with my wife Peggy, the 2016 convention in Nashville was the first with both of our sons, who will continue to lead TVFP. Brodie and Nathan Stenquist were with me in Nashville and we will hopefully all attend next year’s Washington, D.C. convention. That convention will probably be my last and will follow my 50th year in the fire sprinkler industry.
Patrick: Wow, where do you even start? I guess if I had to pick, I would say the 2006 convention in Dallas. A golf course with a football theme – does it get any better than that? And I’m not even a Cowboys fan! New Orleans in 1999 is probably a close second. Coincidentally, it was right next to the Superdome, another football stadium. One thing is for sure, my absolute favorite part of AFSA is all of the amazing and dedicated people that make it all happen.
What is the most significant change you’ve seen in AFSA or the industry over the past 30 years?
Stenquist: The people, the technology, the training.
Patrick: I think the most significant change is how technical our industry has become. When I started in the industry, NFPA 13 fit in your back pocket and there were a small handful of different types of sprinklers. With all of the actual fire testing data and in-depth engineering that have in today’s environment, we have become very specialized. Our designs have become very intricate and the design options are nearly infinite.
What’s the key ingredient to your success?
Stenquist: Strive for integrity. Develop lasting relationships with people who have integrity. Never ask anyone to do a job that you wouldn’t also do. Regardless of the cost, do the right thing. Learn from the people who know.
Patrick: Align yourself with good people, work hard, don’t cut corners, provide a great product, and stay humble.
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!