Members Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries
As the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) celebrates its 35th 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 membership anniversaries for the months of September and October,” comments AFSA Director of Member Services Bradley Elliott. “Their long-term commitment to the association has enabled us to provide education, training and advocacy for the open shop fire sprinkler industry. We greatly appreciate their continued support.”
Contractor member Arkansas Automatic Sprinklers, Cabot, Arkansas, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with AFSA. Sprinkler Age asked CEO Tommy Clements about his years in the fire sprinkler industry and his involvement with AFSA.
How did you get involved in the fire sprinkler industry?
“A long time family friend was one of the owners of Arkansas Automatic Sprinklers, so I knew the company was for sale. I led a private equity investment group that purchased the company in 2009. I had been a construction consultant to owners and developers for eight years, so I was familiar with the construction trades. Fire sprinklers were appealing to me because each project has an opportunity for intellectual property that allows a company to differentiate itself by “building a better mousetrap.”
How did you get involved with AFSA?
“The company had been a long-standing member of AFSA and the previous owners were strong believers in the benefits of membership. I have attended all but one convention since 2009 and the company utilizes the training and professional services offered by the organization, but I wanted to become more involved in helping the industry. I was introduced to Board Member Wayne Weisz and Past Chairman Willie Templin on a trip with George DiMatteo. They were able to give me a much deeper look at how AFSA was organized and functioned. They also gave me ideas about how to get involved on the national level. After I expressed my interest, I was afforded the opportunity to become involved in the national committee structure by Past Chairman of the Board Joe Heinrich.”
What is your favorite or most used AFSA benefit?
“The annual convention! The education, networking, and entertainment are second to none. We bring multiple employees every year to take full advantage of the multitude of training opportunities that are offered in a short period of time. It’s also a great way to reward your team members for a job well done.”
What is your favorite AFSA memory?
“The first AFSA convention I attended was in San Diego in 2009. It was a three-day crash course in all things fire-sprinkler related. The convention was an opportunity to share ideas, learn what issues are facing the industry, and see how other companies in different parts of the country handle certain issues. It also allowed me to lay the groundwork for friendships in the industry. Those relationships have strengthened my business and I consider many like family.”
What is the most significant change you’ve seen in AFSA or the industry in the past 30 years?
“I asked for some help on this from former Arkansas Automatic Owner Bob Walton who has been in the business since 1963. Interestingly, his answer was in line with my thoughts: the development and implementation of life-safety codes throughout the country and the impact they’ve had on the addition of fire sprinklers in different building occupancies has greatly influenced the growth of our industry. The inclusion of sprinklers continues to provide architects with more options on building layout and better outcomes for the owner/occupant. (Bob’s close second was the impact of computer design and calculation on how systems are built.)”
What’s the key ingredient to your success?
“Surrounding myself with outstanding people and letting them do their job.”
AFSA congratulates the members who celebrate membership anniversary milestones in September and October 2016 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!