|Fire Sprinkler Hall of Fame|
The National Fire Sprinkler Association introduced the Fire Sprinkler Hall of Fame in 1989 as a way of remembering those who have contributed substantially to the fire sprinkler industry or to the efforts of the Association on behalf of the industry.
The eight new inductees to the Hall of Fame in 2005 bring the total membership to 100 in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Association.
The full list of inductees since the inception in 1989 is as follows:
John Moore – General Fire Extinguisher Company – One of the three founding fathers of the National Automatic Sprinkler Contractors Association in 1905, he represented the General Fire Extinguisher Company, and served as the Association’s first President from 1905 to 1914.
George W. Elliott – NAS&FCA – A former Fire Marshal of the City of Philadelphia, he became extensively involved in the activities of the National Fire Protection Association. While serving as chairman of the Board of the NFPA in 1947, he was hired by the National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association as its first Executive Director.
Henry A. Fiske – Underwriters' Bureau of New England/Grinnell Corporation – Manager of the insurance department of Grinnell for thirty years prior to his death in 1949, he was widely known as an authority on fire protection engineering. While with the Underwriters' Bureau of New England he was editor of the NFPA Quarterly and one of the original authors of the Crosby-Fiske Handbook, now known as the NFPA's Fire Protection Handbook.
James D. Fleming – Grinnell Corporation – As a member of the Association's Board, he was instrumental in expanding the Association to include companies other than those that both manufactured and installed sprinklers. He served on the special committee that hired the Association's first full-time Executive Director in 1947 and, as President of Grinnell, was instrumental in the development of Association technical activities encouraging the strong participation of Grinnell employees during the formative years of the Fact-Finding Committee.
Harold F. Grenning – Fire Protection Company – A founder of the Fire Protection Company of Chicago, "Speed" Grenning's career in the sprinkler industry spanned more than half a century. With his partner "Chet" Hauth he helped develop the first "flush" sprinkler, and served as a member of the Association's Board of Directors from 1969 through 1973.
Paul E. Grunau – Grunau Company – Building the Grunau Company from a small local plumbing firm his father had founded to one of the largest mechanical and fire protection contracting companies in the country, in 1935 he was personally involved in his company’s first fire sprinkler installation. He oversaw the acquisition of the H.G. Vogel Company in 1971, and Star Sprinkler Corporation in 1983, and served as a member of the Association's Board of Directors from 1970 through 1973.
Jack J. Hayden – NFSA – After a career in engineering and construction that included work for Grinnell, Viking and the ADT Company, he came to work at the Association in 1974 as Regional Executive Coordinator for the Southeastern States. In 1982 he was named the Association’s first National Training Manager, and oversaw the development of NFSA training and certification review materials that were important to the emerging technician certification program. He is also known for his work with the Atlanta Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, producing a model fire sprinkler specification in Division 13 for Special Construction.
W. Robert Powers – New York Board of Fire Underwriters – A founder and first president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers New York Metropolitan Chapter, he also served as Chairman of the NFPA Committee on General Storage. His greatest contribution to the sprinkler industry, however, was his compilation of records of the New York Fire Patrol, which demonstrated that sprinkler systems were successful in 98.4% of 1,648 high-rise building fires in New York City between 1969 and 1978.
Ernest Waterman – Acme Sprinkler Company – A graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in chemistry, Waterman joined the firm that had been founded by his father and Mr. Peter Reiss in the early 1900's. He was active in Association affairs in the Chicago area, was a strong supporter of national programs, and served as a member of the Board of Directors from 1968 through 1971.
John Wormald – Mutual Fire Insurance Corporation Ltd. of Manchester, England – The brother of the Wormald of the Australian firm of Russell and Wormald, he cooperated closely with Frederick Grinnell and C.J.H. Woodbury in the investigation of early sprinkler performance characteristics, and wrote the first set of sprinkler installation rules in 1885.
Jeffrey W. Barrett – NFSA – Hired onto the Association staff as an Apprenticeship Training Coordinator in 1986, Jeff was the Association's Manager of Labor Relations and Apprenticeship at the time of his death in 1994. He was a trustee for the National Automatic Sprinkler Industry Health and
Welfare, Pension 669 Education, and Metal Trade Funds. He also served as a member of several apprenticeship training committees.
John A. Coakley, Sr. – ASCOA – President of "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America at the time of his death in 1950, he was a member of the Association's governing board and finance committee, and had played an active role in the Association since 1938.
H.E. Hilton – National Automatic Sprinkler Association – As Assistant Manager of the Insurance Department of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he encouraged local chambers of commerce across America to install sprinklers as "the best defense against fires." He combined his efforts with those of the Association in 1947 to jointly promote sprinkler protection and, in 1949 accepted the Association’s offer to serve as Executive Director, resigning for health reasons at the end of 1951.
Gordon Vipond – Vipond Automatic Sprinkler – Starting in the industry in 1906, he worked for several companies prior to founding his own firm in 1945. Vipond became one of the largest sprinkler contracting firms in Canada, and a strong supporter of the industry through the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association as well as the NFSA.
Eric Hanson – Grinnell – A product engineer for the Grinnell Corporation, he chaired the Association's Fact-Finding Committee from 1948 to 1955, as the first Secretary and represented the Association on a number of outside technical committees of the National Fire Protection Association and the American National Standards Association. He also served on the Labor Relations Committee and as chair of the Engineers Advisory Committee. Mr. Hanson’s primary contributions were through his continued service on the Fact-Finding Committee, chairing the sprinkler rules and subcommittees until his death in 1965.
William H. Merrill, Jr. – Underwriters’ Electrical Bureau – He founded the Underwriters’ Electrical Bureau in 1984, then moved his organization into the testing of fire protection devices as well. It was chartered in 1901 as Underwriters Laboratories, which, under his direction and in combination with his activities in the National Fire Protection Association, first tested automatic sprinklers in 1904, and issued the first edition of the UL 199 product standard in 1919.
Ladell Milam – ASCOA – A longtime employee of "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America, Ladell played a major role in the development of the NICET training and certification program in the early 1980’s, and was instrumental in the development of NFSA technician training materials, arranging for the use of materials originally developed for "Automatic" to be adapted to broader industry educational efforts.
Charles S. Roth, Jr. – National Fire Sprinkler and Fire Control Association – A tremendous supporter of fire sprinklers during his career as a fire chief and fire marshal in Oregon, Charles pushed for strong sprinkler mandates and the elimination of disincentives such as water utility charges. He was hired in 1978 as the Association’s regional manager for the Northwestern states and worked enthusiastically until his death in 1983.
Paul Martineau – Mid-Hudson Automatic Sprinkler Company – A third generation sprinkler contractor and President of Mid-Hudson Automatic Sprinkler Company, he was a member of the Association Board of Directors at his untimely death in 1995. A strong supporter of Association and its programs, he helped launch the Area 1 Regional Seminars and served on the Association’s Negotiating Committee.
Wendel E. Persing – PHD Manufacturing – Beginning his career with "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America in 1942, he became manager of product sales before moving to Star Sprinkler Corporation as National Sales Manager in 1964. He later served with Central Sprinkler Corporation and in 1972 became co-founder of PHD Manufacturing. In 1980, he and his son formed Persing and Company, of which he served as President and CEO until his retirement in 1990.
Harry N. Rider – ASCOA – Beginning his career in 1919 in the drafting department of "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America, his talents led him through a series of promotions until his retirement as Vice President in 1964. A registered professional engineer and longtime member of the Association’s Engineering and Standards Committee, he held 35 U.S. patents, with special contributions in the areas of high speed and deluge sprinkler systems.
Lee Oliver – Oliver Sprinkler Co. – After graduating with a Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois in 1938, he joined the Grinnell Corporation, then moved to Philadelphia in 1950 to take over the sprinkler division of Dan Keating Mechanical Contractors, Inc. Seven years later he formed the Oliver Sprinkler Company, which today is run by his sons.
Virginia (Ginny) Moloney – National Fire Sprinkler Association – Serving as bookkeeper for the Association from 1983 until her untimely death in 1996, Ginny was a mainstay of the Association and a good friend to all. Ginny was the first NFSA employee to actually live in Patterson, New York.
F.C. "Dick" McMahan – Security Fire Protection Company – After serving in Europe during World War II, he went to work for "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America for 22 years, reaching the level of Area Superintendent. In 1967, he was co-founder of Security Fire Protection Company, becoming President in 1975, and serving in that position until his retirement in 1984. He passed away in 1992.
John J. Durkin – ASCOA – After flying B-24’s in the Pacific Theater during World War II and surviving three crash landings, he started his career in the New York / New Jersey area with "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America, moving to the northwest in 1958 to become a District Manager for the company, and later serving as Regional Manager for 13 western states.
James Grabenhorst – Grinnell Corporation – In a career that spanned 30 years, from Kansas City to Milwaukee to South Florida, his work for the Grinnell Corporation always included a dedication to the industry and its people. At the time of this death in January of 1998, he was serving as the company’s District General Manager, and was extensively involved in the activities of the Association’s Chapter Florida Fire Sprinkler Association.
Harry Marryatt – Wormald – The founding chairman of the Australian Fire Protection Association, he had a long career with Wormald Fire Protection and was credited with a number of industry innovations. He is best known for his compilation of 100 years of sprinkler performance statistics in Australia and New Zealand, which demonstrated reliability of sprinkler systems in excess of 99%.
Robert J. Gray – Grinnell – Beginning his career in 1952 in the special hazards department of Grinnell, he was appointed President of Hodgman Manufacturing Company in 1972 and joined the Association’s Board of Directors. In 1977 he was named Vice President of Marketing for Grinnell, where he helped develop the first residential sprinkler. A strong advocate of industry research, he was a longtime member of the Association’s Engineering and Standards Committee, and Chairman of the Sprinkler Manufacturers Council from 1976 until 1984.
J. Frank Riseden – American Fire Sprinkler Association – After 17 years in sales with the F.W. Dodge Division of McGraw-Hill, and additional time with Sweets’ Catalogue and an electronic calculator company, he was hired in 1973 by the Association as its regional manager for the Southwest. In 1983 he was hired as the second Executive Director of the American Fire Sprinkler Association, which moved its headquarters to Dallas to accommodate him.
Jack J. Ryan – Culligan Corporation – Joining was then Culligan FyrProtexion, Inc. of Indianapolis in 1955 after graduating from St. Joseph’s College, he worked as a shop-hand, apprentice, journeyman, bookkeeper, and foreman, and layout technician before moving into management, eventually becoming President of the company in 1969. He was first elected a Director of the Association in 1971, serving as Chairman of the Board from 1976 to 1978, and in 1989 was honored with the Golden Sprinkler Award.
Jerry Evans – Moore Pipe and Sprinkler Co. – Having assumed the Presidency of Moore Pipe and Sprinkler Company of the South in 1978 following the death of his father, Howell Evans, he was very involved in the technical activities of the NFSA, serving as a member of the Association's Fact-Finding Committee, later renamed the Engineering and Standards Committee, from 1965 through 1978. He was also one of the founding fathers of the Florida Fire Sprinkler Association, now a Chapter of the NFSA.
William E. O'Neil – ASCOA – The patriarch of one of the well-known "sprinkler families", he started his career as a pipefitter with "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America in 1945, assuming the position of National Sales Manager in 1950, and moving to California in 1963 to serve as Western Regional Sales Manager. He later served as a distributor for Star Sprinkler and Gem Sprinkler products. He passed away in January of 2000, a few weeks after Fire Protection Contractor magazine tracked the sprinkler industry contributions of his thirteen children.
Carl J. Smith – William H. LaDew – A graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in economics, he started in the sprinkler industry after service in World War II, and worked in the sprinkler industry for 33 years, starting with the William H. LaDew Company of Dallas, Texas. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the NFSA from 1981 through 1986 and was Chairman of the Contractors Council during that period of time.
Paul L. Coffman – Detroit Independent – Starting his career with "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America in 1946 after service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he was recruited in 1952 to Detroit Independent Sprinkler Company in Michigan, which he helped purchase and ran until it was sold in 1993. Active until his death in 1999, his 53 years in the sprinkler industry included service to the local Regional Committee and as a member of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee and the Negotiating Committee for the Detroit local.
Robert K. Raisler – Raisler Corporation – A mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he was President of the Class of 1926, he served as President of the Raisler Corporation based in New York City, a mechanical contracting firm that included a fire sprinkler division, and manufactured sprinklers under the Grimes name. He joined NFSA in 1947, and was a Director or member of the Sprinkler Manufacturers Council until closing down manufacturing operations in 1980.
Harold S. Wass, Jr. – Improved Risk Mutuals – A longtime staff engineer for Improved Risk Mutuals, he is best known for his text entitled Sprinkler Hydraulics and What It's All About, first published in 1983 and updated as a second edition just prior to his death in 1999.
Chief William Feehan, First Deputy Commissioner
Peter J. Ganci, Jr., Chief of Department
Gerard A. Barbara, Assistant Chief
Donald Burns, Assistant Chief
Each of these individuals was a friend to the fire sprinkler industry. Their combined backgrounds included work with the New York City Fire Patrol and the Bureau of Fire Prevention, both of which involve substantial interface with fire sprinkler issues. Their careers all included broad support of the fire sprinkler concept.
NFSA’s recognition of these four individuals was made not only in recognition and appreciation of their personal accomplishments and sacrifice, but in recognition of the universal friendship and mutual support between the fire service and the fire sprinkler industry.
Rolf H. Jensen – Rolf Jensen & Associates – Following service in the Army Chemical Corps in the Korean War, he began his career at Underwriters Laboratories, but left to assume the chairmanship of the Department of Fire Protection and Safety Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the school at which he had earned his degree in 1951. He gained national prominence as head of the blue ribbon committee investigating the fire that destroyed Chicago’s McCormick Place exhibition hall in 1967, and in 1969 founded his fire protection engineering firm. A longtime member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Automatic Sprinklers, he chaired the task group that oversaw the development of residential sprinklers and the 1980 edition of NFPA 13D.
Thomas C. Nicastro – Alpha Fire Suppression Systems – After service in the Navy in World War II, he attended New York Technical Institute, and then started his career in 1949 as technician and project manager with the Raisler Corporation in New York City. He became a partner in S&S Fire Suppression Systems, worked briefly for Grinnell Fire Protection, and then Able Fire Protection in New York City. In 1985 he was elected to the NFSA Contractors Council and Board of Directors, and in 1988 he founded Alpha Fire Suppression Systems, Inc. based in West Nyack, NY.
Earl Page – Grinnell Fire Protection Systems – After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1943, he joined the Grinnell Company, where he became involved in industrial relations, labor negotiations and plant management. He eventually was named President of Grinnell Fire Protection Systems, and joined the Association’s Board of Directors in 1971, serving as Chairman from 1974 to 1976, and remaining a member of the Board until his retirement in 1984.
Jan A. Dembinski – M.J. Daly & Sons – Born in Warsaw in 1929, he came to the U.S. in 1943, graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1951, and joined the Connecticut construction company owned by the family of his wife, M.J. Daly & Sons. He developed the company’s fire protection division into the premier fire protection contractor in New England, becoming president in 1975, and was a strong supporter of the Association at both the local and national levels.
Percy Bugbee – National Fire Protection Association – In 1921 he joined the staff of the NFPA as its first field engineer following his graduation from MIT. In 1939 he succeeded Franklin Wentworth as the NFPA’s General Manager and became known as "Mr. Fire Prevention" for his efforts on behalf of fire sprinklers and other measures to reduce the loss of life and property to fire.
William Clark – Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association – Hired by CASA as its General Manager in 1967 and later given the title Executive Director and eventually President, he was responsible for its growth and success until his retirement in 1990. In 2003, the annual golf tournament played between representatives of the Canadian and American sprinkler industries since 1987 was named the Clark Cup in his honor.
McEldon L. Fleming – National Fire Sprinkler Association – Following a 31-year career with the Washington, D.C. fire department, he came to the NFSA in 1994 and served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager until illness forced him to retire permanently in the year 2000.
Laurence R. Larson – Viking Automatic Sprinkler Company – Beginning his career in 1946 as a fabrication shop helper, he retired 40 years later as President, having served in nearly every phase of the company’s business. He was a member of the Association for many years, served on its Labor Relations Committee at its inception in 1972, was involved in the formation of the Seattle, Washington Apprenticeship Program, and was Chairman of the Local 669 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
O.L. Swats – Grinnell Co. – "Okie" Swats attended his first quarterly meeting of the National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association in October of 1947, and became the Grinnell Company’s official representative in 1948. He was elected President of the Association in 1952, and served in that capacity until 1954. In 1955 he was appointed chairman of a special committee that developed a standard form of contract for use on the fire sprinkler industry. In 1957 he was appointed as a member at large to the Association’s Executive Committee. He was Chairman of the Association’s Labor Committee at the time of his death in 1963.
Frederick C. Vogel – H.G. Vogel Co. – He began attending Board meetings of the Association in 1920 along with his father, founder of the H. G. Vogel Company, and represented the company in Association activities for decades. He was elected Vice-President of the Association in 1926 and President in 1927, again elected Vice-President in January of 1933, but took on the responsibilities of Secretary-Treasurer later that year and served in that capacity at the time of his own death in 1945.
Jack Wood – Viking Corporation – A registered professional engineer who began his career with the Walton Viking company in Kansas City in 1948, Jack Wood was best known as one of the pioneers in hydraulic calculations. In 1965 he became Chairman of the Association’s Building Code Committee and helped lead these early efforts at sprinkler recognition in the model building codes. He was a longtime member of the Association’s Engineering and Standards Committee, which he joined in 1959 when it was known as the Fact-Finding Committee, and which he served as Vice-Chairman until his retirement in 1986.
John Morris – Fred S. James Company – Born in Portland, Oregon, John Morris attended Bowdoin College in Maine and served as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy before starting a career as a safety engineer with the Standard Accident Insurance Company. He was hired by the University of Minnesota as its first safety engineer, moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana, and became a Loss Control Consultant to the University of California with the Fred S. James Co. He wrote many articles on the need for proper fire protection, and became the nation’s leading advocate for fire sprinkler protection of libraries. He is best known for his books entitled Managing the Library Fire Risk and The Library Disaster Prepardness Handbook. Active in the NFPA, he received a Service Award from that organization, and was a longtime member of the NFPA Cultural Resources Committee. He passed away in February of 2005 at the age of 92.
Charles F. Potter – Potter Electric Signal Company – One of the early pioneers in fire signaling, Charles Potter was born in 1869 and founded the Potter Electric Signal Company in 1898. Early systems involved the use of panels installed in local fire stations, but the overcrowding of circuitry and instrumentation led him to the idea of a central station for signaling systems in the 1920’s, with individual transmitters on each system installed to pinpoint a fire’s location for local fire department response. Today the company he founded is the world’s largest provider of fire sprinkler monitoring products. He died in 1948 at the age of 79.
Paul J. Theriault – J.C. Cannistraro – A fire protection engineer fire many years with sprinkler contractor J.C. Cannistraro of Boston, Paul Theriault had recently moved to the west coast to work for Tyco Fire and Building Products when he was tragically killed in a scuba diving accident in October 2005 in the Florida Keys. In addition to a professional engineering license, Paul had obtained NICET certification and a sprinkler contractor license during more than 20 years in the industry, and was an NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist. He had been an adjunct faculty member and lecturer in Northeastern University’s Building Design and Management (BDM) program since 1988, and also served as an instructor for the NFPA. He was a founder and past president of the New England Association of Fire Protection System Designers and was a strong supporter of NFSA and the fire sprinkler industry.
Cheng Yao – Factory Mutual Research Corporation – Born in Taiwan, Cheng Yao received a degree in mechanical engineering from the Cheng-Kung University in 1954, then came to the United States and earned a Master’s degree from Purdue University in 1957. He joined the Factory Mutual Research Corporation in 1967 and rose to Vice President and Manager of the Research Division in 1987, responsible for basic and applied research and fire testing activities. A student of the motion and deformations of water droplets in hot air streams, he convinced the sprinkler manufacturers to participate in the development of a new type of sprinkler, and is today known as the father of the Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) sprinkler. He passed away in January of 2006.
Jim D. Lewis – American Fire Sprinkler Corporation – Jim and Cliftene Lewis were high school sweethearts, and after marrying in 1963 they restarted the American Fire Sprinkler Corporation, a fourth-generation fire sprinkler contractor in Kansas City. Jim was an active NFSA member in the Kansas City area for many years, serving as a member of the Negotiating Committee and the local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. He was also a principal member of the Fire Protection Contractors Development Corporation and served as a member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Subterranean Spaces responsible for NFPA 520. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in March of 2007.
Raymond Link – Link-Nilsen Corporation – Ray Link graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1950 and began his career in the fire protection industry shortly thereafter with the Fraser mechanical contracting company. In 1972 he obtained his contractor’s license and founded the Link-Nilsen Corporation, taking over the contracting business started by Nils Nilsen. Ray gained his professional engineer’s license in 1976. He was a solid supporter of the Association known for the quality work of his company. He passed away in January of 2007.
William Meyer – Central Automatic Sprinkler – Bill Meyer was a legend in the fire sprinkler industry. Starting as a fitter for "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America in 1944, he bought Star Sprinkler from long-time friend Seddon Duke in 1964, later selling it to the INA Corporation. In 1973 he purchased a small company known as Central Automatic Sprinkler and oversaw its growth into a leading fire sprinkler manufacturer until his retirement in 1984. During this time Central Sprinkler produced a number of industry innovations, including what many acclaimed as the first aesthetically appealing residential sprinkler, credited with overcoming a major objection to the installation of fire sprinklers in homes. In 1994 he was recognized by NFSA with the Golden Sprinkler Award. He passed away at the end of July 2006.
Robert F. Pettitt – Scott E. Campbell – Bob Pettitt was a Navy fighter pilot in World War II, and flew over 100 combat missions from an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. Discharged in 1945, he went to work for his uncle, Scott E. Campbell, who in 1941 had founded a sprinkler contracting company by the same name in Hollywood, California. Two years later, in 1947, Scott Campbell passed away, and Bob worked with his aunt to grow the company over the next two decades, becoming the owner in 1967. Bob was a solid NFSA supporter, an early advocate of the Regional Manager program, a member of the local labor and apprenticeship committees, and a regular participant in Association national seminars. He passed away peacefully at his home in Malibu in August of 2006.
William G. Bowe – Abco-Peerless – After graduating with a degree in business from Manhattan College, Bill Bowe served in the U.S. Army, then began a series of jobs in the fire sprinkler industry in the New York City area, starting with Astoria Sprinkler. In 1958 he and his father-in-law, Anthony Robilotta, started Abco Sprinkler. In 1971 it changed its name to Abco-Peerless when it adsorbed the business of former competitor Peerless Automatic Sprinkler. Bill was a mainstay of the New York Fire Sprinkler Contractors Association for many years and served on the NFSA Contractors Council as an alternate to Richard Martineau during his term as Chairman of the Board in the early 1980s. Although Bill is retired, his son Tim continues to operate Abco-Peerless in New York City and is currently the Vice Chairman of the NFSA Engineering and Standards Committee.
William N. Lawton – Grinnell Fire Protection Systems – Starting his career with the Grinnell Company in 1946, Bill Lawton was promoted to Manager of Special Hazards in 1953 and became Assistant Manager of the company’s fire protection department in 1956. He was a member of the Association’s Labor Committee and a charter member of the Building Code Committee that laid the groundwork for the industry’s success in the code market. He represented the NFSA on the NFPA committees on automatic sprinklers, safety to life, and for many years chaired the NFPA 13A subcommittee that dealt with inspection and maintenance of sprinkler systems prior to the development of NFPA 25. He is best known, however, for his service as chairman of the Association’s Engineering and Standards Committee from 1965 until his retirement in 1987. He passed away in 2007.
Benjamin B. Merrill – Potter Electric Signal – After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1955, Ben served in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant, operating border camps along the Czechoslovakian-German border. He was then in the school construction business until joining Grinnell as a Gem Division Salesman in 14 northeastern states in 1979. He became General Manager of the Gem Sprinkler Company in 1981 and was promoted to Director of International Sales and Marketing in 1984 and moved to Europe. After returning to the U.S., Ben joined the Viking Corporation as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. After changes in operations at Viking in 1992, he pointed Potter Electric Signal as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and then as Vice President of International Sales, where he remained until his retirement in 2000. After his retirement, he acted as a consultant to Potter for several years. He is a former member of the Association’s SAM Council. One of the high points of his career, he recalls, was contacting every NFSA board member to get approval to host a gala dinner to celebrate Potter’s 100th anniversary at Stirling Castle in conjunction with the 3rd International Fire Sprinkler Conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 1998. Today, Ben resides in Sandwich, Massachusetts with his wife of 51 years Betty. He enjoys good health and many great memories of the fire sprinkler industry.
Frederick L. Wilhelm – Grinnell Corporation – Fritz was hired by Grinnell in 1960 to unload trucks at its Pittsburgh Supply Sales Warehouse. The job was to last six weeks. Six years later, in 1966, Fritz was transferred to Grinnell’s Inspection Service Department where he inspected sprinkler systems in parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. From then on, the sprinkler industry was in his blood. Through the years, Fritz rose through the ranks at Grinnell, ending his career in the Fire Protection Sales Division of Grinnell Supply Sales where he was Manager of Technical Sales for 19 years. He was Chairman of Chapter 9 of NFPA 25 and remained a member of Chapter 9 sub-committee until publication of NFPA 25. Fritz is proud to say that his career with Grinnell was, "Not bad for a guy who was hired to unload trucks for six weeks, is it!"
Robert I. Percival – Grinnell Corporation – After attending the United States maritime Academy, Bob Percival spent his early years learning the ins and outs of life aboard ship and all that went with it. In the late 1940’s, he was hired by Grinnell Corporation. Through the years he held various positions such as Manager of National Accounts, District Sales Manager, District Manager and Project Manager for Research Development and Protection against ABC warfare. This was done under contract with the United States Navy and included ships, land structures and personnel. Bob’s maritime experience came in very handy while performing his duties in this capacity. This program was later extended for the protection of solid full rocket engines. Throughout his career in the fire sprinkler industry, Bob was a member of the Construction Specifications Institute, the National Fire Protection Association, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and was a past-president of the SFPE New England Chapter.
Al Beck – Grinnell Corporation – After a stint with the U.S. Naval Air Corps, Al received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Masters degree in Applied Mathematical Statistics from Rutgers. In 1973 he joined the Grinnell Corporation having served in a number of executive positions with ITT in the mid-sixties and early seventies. At the time of his retirement, Al was Executive Vice President of Grinnell Corporation. Having served as a member of NFSA’s Finance Committee and Contractors and Manufacturers Councils, in 1988 he was elected as the Association’s Treasurer. In that position he worked closely with the President and Finance Committee to build NFSA’s solid financial base.
Richard J. Boulanger – Patriot Fire Protection – A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dick was a strong supporter of NFSA and served in both local and national leadership positions. After serving with the U.S. Navy in Korea, he attended Seattle University completing a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering. He began his career in 1954 as a designer trainee for Sentry Automatic Sprinkler Company in Tacoma, Washington. He later represented the Pacific Northwest on NFSA’s Contractors Council and on the Board of Directors where he served as Chairman in 1984-1985. His career in the fire sprinkler industry spanned over five decades. In 1993, he was honored with the Golden Sprinkler Award.
William R. Goss – NFSA – After a long career beginning in 1941 with the Los Angeles Fire Department, where he worked his way up through the ranks eventually attaining the position of Fire Marshal and Chief Fire Prevention Engineer of the City of Los Angeles, Bill came to NFSA as a Regional Manager in 1969. At the time there were only two regional managers covering the entire country. Reflecting on those early years, during his 1988 Golden Sprinkler Award acceptance speech, he fondly recalled being told "just get around and see people and stay out of the way of labor." The extension of his fire protection career with NFSA lasted 19 years. He retired in 1988.
Charlie Hill – Ryan Fire Protection – Charlie started his career in the fire sprinkler industry as an estimator with Culligan Fire Protection in Indianapolis following graduation from TriState University with a degree in business administration. He later worked with NFSA member contractors McDaniel Fire Protection and Ryan Fire Protection. He was a NICET certified sprinkler technician and active in the Indiana Fire Sprinkler Association, where he served as the vice chairman and treasurer. The son of former Engineering and Standards Committee Chairman and Technical Services Award winner Frank Hill, Charlie followed in his footsteps to serve as a member of the NFSA E&S Committee from 2000 until his untimely death in an automobile accident in December of 2008. He represented the NFSA on the NFPA Technical Committee on Private Fire Service Mains and the NFPA Technical Committee on Telecommunication Facilities.
Eduard Job – JOB GmbH – Following studies in mechanical engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) in Hamburg, Germany, and later on a Masters degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Job began his professional career as a development engineer at SFH-SPRINKLERS Hamburg where he learned all about the sprinkler basics of that time. He gained further experience in 1962 – 1964 at CARDOX in Chicago on CO2 and Foam. He developed numerous new products in the field of Fire Sprinklers, CO2, Foam and Hand Extinguishers on to Electronic Smoke Detectors that are successfully used in the fire protection industry. More than a dozen international patents have been granted to him in this field of work. His career continued successfully in business management of SFH SPRINKLERS and later as Technical Director and Member of the Board at MINIMAX AG. He was the key driving force in building up the sprinkler contractor SFH and then the integration of and major expansion of the then widely respected MINIMAX AG. Job started his own business in glass bulbs for fire sprinklers in 1971. JOB GmbH today is the world’s leading producer o thermally activated glass bulbs for the sprinkler industry. The great majority of all modern fire sprinklers manufactured worldwide now utilizes Job’s concepts, either with the Belleville seat design or with JOB Bulbs. He was one of the founding members of the International Fire Sprinkler Association, where he held a seat on the Board of Governors at the time of his passing in February 2009.
Joseph E. Johnson – Viking Fire Protection – After graduating from Oregon State College with a degree in mechanical engineering, Joe Johnson started his fire protection career in 1934 in Dallas with the Texas Automatic Sprinkler Company, rising to become chief engineer. He served during
World War II in the Pacific as a First Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, then worked from 1947 to 1963with Viking Fire Protection Company in Kansas City, becoming President and Chairman of the Board of that company. In the early 1950’s he and Frank Gage formed U.S. Fire Protection Engineering Service, Inc., the world’s first fire protection engineering company, which became known as Gage-Babcock when former Factory Insurance Association president John Babcock joined the firm in the late 1950’s. From 1964 to 1979 Joe Johnson served as president of the Pyrotronics division of Baker Industries, and he became one of the nation’s most prominent fire protection engineers, serving as president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and as chairman of the board of directors of the National Fire Protection Association. He passed away in 2007 at age 92.
Richard Martineau – Mid-Hudson Automatic Sprinkler – Chairman of the Board of Mid-Hudson Automatic Sprinkler in Poughkeepsie, New York, Dick earned a degree in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University and spent his entire professional career in the fire sprinkler industry. He is familiar with all aspects of fire sprinkler contracting and installation, and is considered an expert in the areas of hydraulic calculation and computer-aided design. A long-time member of NFPA technical committees and NFSA’s Engineering and Standards Committee, Martineau served as NFSA Chairman of the Board in 1982-1983. In honor of his lifetime contributions to NFSA and the advancement of the fire sprinkler concept, in 1990 he was awarded the Golden Sprinkler Award.
Joe E. Wiginton – Wiginton Fire Systems – Joe began his career in the fire sprinkler industry at the age of 17 when he began as a sprinkler fitter’s helper working for the William H. LaDew Company in Dallas, Texas. After a tour of duty with the U.S. Army Combat Engineers, Joe returned to work in the fire sprinkler industry where he held various positions with the LaDew Company, Henley & Beckwith of Miami, and Viking Fire Protection of S.E. in Orlando and Nashville. In 1967 he founded Wiginton Fire Sprinklers, Inc. in Orlando. He served on NFSA’s Board of Directors, chaired the Annual Seminar and Membership Committees and more recently as President of the Florida Fire Sprinkler Association, where he was instrumental in forming NFSA’s Florida Chapter. In 1995, he was presented with the Golden Sprinkler Award, NFSA’s highest honor.
Dennis F. Coleman – "Automatic" Sprinkler – "Denny" Coleman worked in the fire sprinkler industry beginning in 1908, and in 1928 moved to St. Louis, setting the stage for the founding of Engineered Fire Protection, now a family-owned business boasting four generations in the fire sprinkler industry. Denny was around at the time "Automatic" Sprinkler Corporation of America was organized through the merger of multiple companies in 1910. He initially worked for the company in the Midwest as a draftsman, left for a while to start his own company, but returned to "Automatic" in 1928 as the St. Louis department manager. He was an avid learner, and taught himself four languages, regularly reading the Readers Digest in several to keep fluent, in addition to reading Latin and Greek.
Richard T. Groos – Viking – Following earning a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, Richard started his career in the fire sprinkler industry at the Viking Corporation and Tyden Seal Company in 1955. He served in a number of positions including Director of Engineering, Plant Manager and informally as Director of Product Development before such a position officially existed. In 1961, he became President and served until 1990 when he became CEO of Viking’s parent company, Tyden Group. During his tenure as President, he personally wrote many of the technical data pages of the company and started the industry’s first fire sprinkler training seminar, perceiving a great need for training among the independent fire sprinkler contractors. He served on the NFSA Board of Directors from 1971 – 1982. In 2000, he received the NFSA’s Golden Sprinkler Award.
Raymond Kenz – Southwest Fire Protection – Ray began his career in fire protection in 1949 when he became a sales trainee with "The Automatic Sprinkler Corporation of American, in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1952, Automatic sent him to Los Angeles where he managed their West Coast Special Hazards Department for eight years. Following his departure from Automatic in 1960, Ray went into business with his father Anthony E. Kenz and formed Southwest Fire Protection Company where he later became President and CEO. Over a career that spanned six decades, Ray made numerous contributions to the fire sprinkler industry. He was one of the founders of the Fire Sprinkler Contractor’s Association of Southern California where he served on the Board of Directors and was President on three different occasions. He was also a member of the Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board for nine years. Until his retirement in 1997, he served three consecutive terms on the NFSA Board of Directors representing contractors from the West Coast. In 1999, he received the NFSA’s Golden Sprinkler Award.
Cos Occhipinti – Cosco Fire Protection – Cos started Cosco Fire Protection in 1959. Until he sold the company in March of 1970, he was influential and active in the original testing of schools in Los Angeles, California. During his active years in the fire sprinkler industry, Cos was a member of NFSA’s Board of Directors. He sat on numerous committees including the Local 669 Labor Committee, Local 709 Labor Committee, which he chaired, and the Joint Apprenticeship Committee, which he also chaired. In recognition of his contributions to the advancement of the fire sprinkler industry, he was presented NFSA’s Golden Sprinkler Award in 1996.
Bill Testa – Grinnell – He served on the Engineering and Standards Committee from 1971 until his retirement in 2001 and also represented the NFSA on a number of NFPA technical committees beginning in 1972, including those on automatic sprinklers, fire pumps, rack storage and water tanks. He was a charter member of the NFPA 13D subcommittee. He was a major contributor in the early days of the NFSA-initiated NICET certification program. After chairing the NFPA 13A subcommittee beginning in 1985, he was selected in 1990 by NFPA to serve as the first chairman of the NFPA 25 committee for system inspection, testing and maintenance. He was awarded the NFSA’s Technical Service Award in 2007.
Harry Shaw – United States Fire Administration – Following a career in the munitions industry, Harry Shaw joined the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, which was later renamed as the United States Fire Administration (USFA). He played a key role in the development of the residential sprinkler and the 1980 edition of NFPA 13D based on the use of that sprinkler. He oversaw the federal funding of numerous individual projects, ranging from the research and development of the fast response residential sprinkler itself to studies of life safety and land development impacts, and the conduct of national conferences promoting the residential sprinkler concept. At one point Harry served as the Acting Administrator of the USFA. From 1984 to 1986 he served as the first Executive Director of Operation Life Safety and began tracking and publicizing residential sprinkler successes. He later started his own business, where he continued to promote the use of various technologies for automatic fire sprinklers in homes.
Frank Hill – Culligan Fire Protection – Frank served as a contractor representative to the Engineering and Standards Committee from the Midwest for more than 25 years and as Chairman of the committee from 1987 until 1999. He served briefly as an NFSA representative to the NFPA Automatic Sprinkler Committee and long-term as the Association’s representative to the NFPA Cutting and Welding Practices Committee. In recognition of his many contributions to the engineering activities of the Association, he was recognized as the 2008 Technical Service Award recipient.
Robert McLeod – National Fire Sprinkler Association – Bob joined the Association staff in 1984 as Regional Manager for Areas 3 and 6. In the day, those areas stretched from North Carolina throughout the entire southeastern United States west all the way to New Mexico. As NFSA grew and more Regional Managers were hired, Bob went on to become the Association’s first Manager of Training and Education, a department he grew into what now generates a tremendous non-dues revenue stream for the Association. As the Regional Operations Department continued to expand, Bob was appointed Director of Regional Operations. In 1999, Bob retired from NFSA as Vice President of Regional Operations. In 2007, he received the NFSA’s Golden Sprinkler Award.
William Oliver – Oliver Sprinkler Company – As Area Director for NFSA, Bill represented fire sprinkler contractor members from the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia on the Board of Directors, where he served as Chairman from 1998 to 2000. He sat on the Philadelphia Fire Code Board after the disastrous Meridian high-rise fire, helping develop that city’s High-Rise Retrofit Ordinance. His tenure on the Local 692 Apprenticeship and Negotiating Committees began in 1970 and ended in 1999 when he officially retired from the position of President of Oliver Sprinkler Company. In recognition of his lifetime achievement and contributions to the fire sprinkler industry, Bill received the Golden Sprinkler Award in 2006.
Jerome Pepi – Grinnell Fire Protection Systems – Jerry received a BSME degree from Northeastern University in 1962 and a MSME degree from MIT in 1965. Following 12 years in the aerospace industry he joined Grinnell Fire Protection Systems Company. As Vice President of Research and Development from Grinnell, Jerry served for many years on the NFSA Engineering and Standards Committee until his retirement in 2001. He is credited with the development of the first listed residential sprinkler in 1981 and the first approved ESFR sprinkler in 1988. As a pioneer in water mist technology he also represented NFSA on the NFPA Committee on Water Mist when it was first formed in 1993. Jerry passed away in 2010.
Lewis Zimmermann – Adelphia – Lew served as a contractor representative from the Mid-Atlantic states to NFSA’s Engineering and Standards Committee beginning in the 9170’s and was Vice-Chairman from 1987 until he closed his business in 1991. He served on the NFSA Board of Directors from 1968 through 1972. He represented NFSA on several NFPA technical committees, including the NFPA 231 committee on General Storage. He and fellow 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, Frank Hill, received the Association’s Technical Service Award in 2008. The two of them collaborated on tests of dry pipe system water delivery times, a summary of which was published in NFSA’s December 1980 issue of Sprinkling of News and is still being cited for its relevance.
Jack Rhodes – Factory Mutual – A chemical engineering graduate of the University of Delaware, he began his career with Factory Mutual in 1940, prior to service in the U.S. Army during World War II where he was awarded the Purple Heart. He returned to FM following the war and rose to various positions to become the chief operating officer of the FM Research Corporation. During his tenure at FM he directed development of the standard spray sprinkler during the 1950s, proved that sprinkler water supplies for high challenge fires could be reduced through the use of high temperature sprinklers, and helped pioneer the development of the first ESFR sprinkler. He retired in 1983 and passed away in 2009.
Carl Cutrell, Jr. – Nashville Sprinkler Company – Carl was one of the key figures responsible for creating the Tennessee Fire Sprinkler Contractors Association that became a Chapter of NFSA, serving as its first president, a post he held for six years until the time of his passing. He also served on NFSA’s Board of Directors for one term representing members from the Southeast region. Carl started working in the fire sprinkler industry for John Bouchard in 1963, where he worked in the pipe shop for close to a year and then moved out to the field where he became an apprentice helper in Local 669. In 1980, he started Nashville Sprinkler Company with partners Jim Ring and Alan. Carl passed away on July 9, 2011 at the age of 68. Today Carl Cutrell III runs the company.
Ivan R. "Rex" Miller – LaDew Fire Protection – Rex was a long-time member of NFSA’s Region 5 Committee and a former member of NFSA’s Board of Directors. He is the innovator of the term "Toes-Up Award"referring to those being posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, securing himself a spot in the Hall while his toes are still horizontal. Rex began his career working for Automatic Sprinkler of America. He later partnered with LaDew to form Southwest Fire Protection in Houston, where he mentored current NFSA Board member John Kauffman. He was a real innovator in the fire sprinkler industry and was the outright leader in computer-aided drafting. His work with the Association as well as efforts with the Texas A&M Fireman’s Training School are well documented. He is currently retired and lives in Kerrville, Texas.
Ed Reilly – National Fire Sprinkler Association – Ed served as President of the Association from 1977 – 1984. His career in fire protection spanned over 3 decades and his work on behalf of the fire sprinkler industry promoting the construction "trade-off" concept in model building codes and standards-making arenas earned him the nickname "Mr. Sprinkler." In the early 1970’s he was the industry’s principal advocate before the Federal Trade Commission and witness before President Nixon’s Bland Commission leading to the congressional enactment of the National Fire Prevention and Control Act. In 1985 his outstanding contributions to fire protection engineering and technology were recognized by Manhattan College’s Fire Engineering Institute when they named him recipient of the "Award for Outstanding Contribution To Fire Engineers." Ed is particularly proud of the fact that between he and his two sons Tim and Dennis, the family has a combined 100 years of experience in the fire sprinkler industry. Today, Ed lives in Pine Plains, New York with his wife of 60 years Marge.
John Viniello – National Fire Sprinkler Association – John began his career with the Association serving in a number of positions from 1973 to 1980 including Vice President of Field Operations. For the next three years he worked for Grinnell Fire Protection in Providence, Rhode Island where he helped pioneer the development of residential/quick response fire sprinkler technology. In 1984, NFSA’s Board of Directors elected John as President. While President of the Association he served as Managing Director of the International Fire Sprinkler Association and was a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the European Fire Sprinkler Network – both trade groups representing the fire sprinkler industry abroad. He was also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Campus Fire Safety, an organization dedicated to the cause of fire safety in student housing. John retired in 2012 and lives in Brewster, New York with his wife Mary.
LaVerne T. "Verne" Wiseman – Continental Sprinkler – Verne was a long-time member of NFSA’s Region 5 Committee in Texas where he also actively served on numerous Labor Negotiating Committees. After many years working in every position in the fire sprinkler industry in the Midwest, Verne made a home with Ron Biffle at Continental Sprinkler in Houston, Texas. Verne was always an innovator. Some to this day still remember the look on his face at age 70 seeing a machine grooving both ends of a piece of pipe at the same time. Astonished! Well into his 70’s Verne was an early adopter of any labor savings device that came on the market. He served this industry and Association well. Today his son and grandson continue his legacy in the fire sprinkler industry working at Kauffman Company in Houston. His wife Janet lives in Austin, Texas.
Anthony Aven – Aven Fire Systems – After working in the fire sprinkler industry for several years, in 1981 Anthony started Aven Fire Systems. It grew from a small company to a successful business, which continues to thrive today. Anthony had 39 years experience in the estimating, purchasing, and management of all operations pertaining to the fire protection industry, with his focus being on fire sprinklers. His commitment to life safety continues to be the working culture at Aven Fire Systems. In 2012, Anthony passed away unexpectedly.
Rollin J. (Buck) Buchanan – "Automatic" Sprinkler of America – Buck was the manager of "Automatic" Special Hazards Department directing their sales and development of fire protection and prevention systems for industrial, commercial and military applications. Headquartered at the company’s home in Youngstown, Ohio, Buck directed the operations of Special Hazard branch offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia. He joined the company in 1946 as an engineer in the Special Hazards Department and served there until 1951 when he was recalled to active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. Upon discharge in 1953, he returned to that position and was later named district manager of the Central Region serving Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit before being named to manage the division. Buck was a member of the SFPE and NFPA and received his engineering degree from the University of Kentucky. After he passed away in 1964 at age 46, he was succeeded by Ezio Angelini.
Chuck Hura – "Automatic" Sprinkler of America – After 45 years of service, in 1992 Chuck retired from "Automatic" Sprinkler as Vice President of Construction. His biggest contribution, and there were many, was his team building leadership. Chuck was the Tom Landry of the fire sprinkler industry. He could build consensus where there was chaos. He could help people plan their projects. Staffing and execution were his strong points. Chuck stayed in close contact with his people always looking for problems and always ready with solutions. He was probably one of the most well liked people our industry ever had. If he had a motto it would have been "Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Chuck was considered by many as "Mr. Automatic Sprinkler." He passed away in July 2013 at 91 years of age.
Joel Pastalove – Acme Fire Protection – In the 20 years leading up to him becoming President of Superior Sprinkler Company, a New York-based manufacturer and fire sprinkler contractor, Joel served in nearly every capacity of responsibility in the company. He joined Superior in 1952 as a Plant Engineer and later became Chief Engineer in the manufacturing and installation divisions of the company. Later in his career he went on to start Acme Fire Protection. Joel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in mechanical engineering and performed extensive graduate work in the Towne School of Engineering. While serving on the Association’s Board of Directors, Joel served as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Future Activities. In 1972, he was elected as Chair of NFSA’s Board of Directors. It was a time of transition for the Association and both Manufacturers and Contractors Council being formed during his term as Chair.
Richard D. Sullivan – National Fire Sprinkler Association – An announcement in the staff report for the April 15, 1965 Board of Director meeting read: On April 1, 1965, Mr. Richard Sullivan began work as a Staff Representative at the New York office. It is expected that Mr. Sullivan will concentrate in the area of legislation, building codes and apprentice programs." In his early years with the Association, Rich did in fact take on a variety of assignments. He served as Secretary of the Association’s Building Code Committee, frequently attending model code hearings to help build the fire sprinkler market. But it was in Labor Relations that he made his mark, heading up that effort for the Association from 1978 until his retirement in 2001. In April of 2000, he received the Association’s highest honor, the Golden Sprinkler Award. Summing up his career, perhaps one member said it best, "Rich is the most respected and well liked man by both labor and management in the industry."
Woodrow "Woody" Wilson – Wilson Fire Protection – Having graduated with a B.S. degree in the first class of Oklahoma State University’s Fire Protection and Safety Technology program, which started in 1937 as the nation’s first School of Fire Protection, Woody took a position with the Oklahoma Inspection Bureau. He worked there as an inspector until 1946 when he started Wilson Fire Protection, Inc. The company expanded over time through growth and acquisition. Eventually there were offices in Tulsa, Dallas, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Austin, and San Antonio. The company was sold in 1981 and Woody retired. At one point in time, following his retirement, there were over 15 fire protection companies whose principals started in the industry as employees of Wilson Fire Protection. During his career he was active in local, regional, and national activities including serving as Chair of the Board of Directors for the then National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association, NFSA’s predecessor.
Harold "Leo" Corley-Georgia Sprinkler - Leo went to work in 1948 for the Grinnell Company after serving in the Navy. In 1949 he married his wife Allene and they have been married now for 65 years. In 1959 Leo and his partner of many years “Lefty” Mitchel purchased a small Georgia sprinkler company that was comprised of 2 employees and built the company into the largest sprinkler company in Georgia, and one to which many of today's Georgia contractors attribute their beginnings and success. Leo served for many years as a passionate member of the NFSA's labor negotiating team. He retired in 1978.
Burton Harms-Williams Automatic Sprinkler - Burton started his career in the mid 50’s after graduating from Oklahoma A&M (OSU) with a degree in Fire Safety tailored for the Insurance industry. After a few years working for the Oklahoma Inspection Bureau (ISO) in the Fire Protection Engineering office, Burton went to work with Oscar Williams in the early 60’s at Williams Automatic Sprinkler where they formed a partnership that lasted until the mid-70’s when Oscar retired. Burton became the owner of Williams Automatic Sprinkler where he established a reputation in the Oklahoma construction industry as a Fire Sprinkler Contractor that would go above and beyond to provide a code compliant fire suppression system. When Burton decided to retire in 1993, he sold Williams to Harrison-Orr Air Conditioning. Burton’s influence is still in place today and the customers that Burton had built relations with over the years are still loyal to this day.
Linwood "Lin" McCool-Century Fire Sprinklers- Lin was a longtime active member of the NFSA with both National Fire Sprinkler and Century Fire Sprinkler, a company he formed in 1981. Lin was always considered an “innovator” developing a hydraulic calculation program utilized by many in the industry, and was quick to embrace new technology. Lin retired in 2001 and passed away in 2011.
Joe Lukes-Grinnell Company
- Joe worked for Grinnell out of Toronto originally and eventually became their Chief Professional Engineer. He also served the company in British Columbia as a District Manager for a period. He served with great distinction as a member of the CASA Technical Committee and as Chairperson right up to his retirement. Joe was a long standing member of the NFSA E&S Committee representing CASA and was a long standing member of several NFPA committees, thirteen in particular. Joe’s service and commitment to the fire sprinkler industry in Canada allowed him to be one of the builders of the industry in the Canadian Market.
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