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:
Dennis Coleman – My Dad, Dennis Coleman:
My dad grew up in the fire sprinkler industry. His grandfather, Dennis Francis Coleman, started in the industry in 1908 and never looked back. My dad’s father, John Coleman, started Engineered Fire Protection, Inc in 1969 as my dad was finishing high school. He worked in the shop starting at age 14, fabricating pipe in the stockyards of East St. Louis, and later spent time in the field as a sprinkler fitter. These were good jobs and I even recall my dad saying there was a time when money was tight where, as a fitter, he was making more money than his dad. As Engineered Fire Protection grew, it became clear that the services of a professional engineer were needed. With this in mind, Denny set out for BYU. Hestudied civil engineering and after graduation, became a professional engineer. This is fitting for a man who loved, and was good at, math. I recall sitting in church as a young man and if the sermon was slightly dry, my dad would write himself math problems to solve. The sermon was never dry enough for me to do that! After returning to Engineered Fire Protection, Denny set out to grow the company. Under his direction the company expanded to become one of the preeminent sprinkler contractors in St. Louis. Many of the most prominent jobs in the region have my dad’s fingerprints on them, in many cases, literally. My dad is a humble man and would probably be upset if he knew I was writing this, but I have to mention his most admirable quality, that of his service as a husband and father. For my dad, the priority was faith, family and fire sprinklers, in that order. His quiet charity and diligent service to his church has not gone unnoticed. As a father to myself and my brother he is unmatched. He taught us to work and focus on the things that are most important. When the choice was work or family, the answer was always family. As a husband to my late mother, he set an example of devotion and love I try to aspire to in my own marriage. In the end, my dad has set an example worthy of following, at work and at home. Congratulations dad. Written by Matt Coleman
Jim “JD” Dalton – began his long career in fire protection when he joined the Silver Spring Maryland Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter in January of 1960. Shortly thereafter, in March of 1960, he was hired as a career firefighter. Then, after leaving to serve several years with the Washington, D.C. Fire Department he returned to serve the remainder of his fire service career in Montgomery County, Maryland and over the next seventeen years progressed through the ranks to the position of Assistant Chief, Department of Fire and Rescue Services. In 1977 he was appointed Chief Fire Marshal for Montgomery County, Maryland, where he supervised the Bureau of Fire Prevention and its Divisions of Plans Review and Engineering, Fire Inspections, Fire Investigations and Public Fire Safety Education. During his tenure as Chief Fire Marshal he oversaw the implementation of one of the first and most comprehensive smoke detector laws in the country. After returning from the Operation San Francisco fast response fire sprinkler tests sponsored by USFA and the Marriott Corporation in the early 80’s he began to lay the groundwork for what ultimately would become a requirement for the sprinkling of all one and two-family homes in Montgomery County. In the fall of 1983 he was loaned to the United States Fire Administration to coordinate the development and delivery of a national fire prevention and fire safety education grant program on behalf of USFA and the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI). In the fall of 1986, Jim became a consultant to the International Association of Fire Chiefs to develop and deliver a series of residential fire sprinkler workshops under a program funded by the US Fire Administration. A year later, in the fall of
1987, he was appointed Director of Operation Life Safety, a public/private partnership of the US Fire Administration, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the private sector to promote the increased use of fast-response fire sprinklers from homes to high-rise. In this capacity Jim provided technical assistance and support to many communities who were moving ahead with requirements for the sprinklering of one and two-family homes and integrating the fire sprinkler concept into their total fire protection strategy. In July of 1993 he accepted a position as Director of Public Fire Protection for the National Fire Sprinkler Association. In that capacity, Jim worked at the national, state and local level with the fire community, code groups, public policy makers and advocacy groups to provide educational and technical information and resources regarding the life safety, property preservation and economic advantages of fire sprinklers. While at NFSA, Jim was instrumental in the formation of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and served as the NFSA representative to the HFSC Steering Committee. Jim is a Life Member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and served on several key committees and the Board of Directors of the Eastern Division. Jim was a long time member of the National Fire Protection Association and served several terms on the Board of Directors of the NFPA Education Section. He was also a long time member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors serving on the Board of Directors and as the first chairman of the ISFSI Public Fire Safety Education Section. Jim has been a long time champion of public fire safety education as a key intervention in the fight against unwanted hostile fire and was the inaugural recipient of the Congressional Fire Services Institute/Home Safety Council’s, Doctor Anne Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education at the CFSI Dinner in Washington, DC in 2007. In addition, Jim was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Golden Sprinkler Award at the National Fire Sprinkler Association’s Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. After the Station Night club tragedy of early 2003, he worked with CFSI, representatives of the national fire organizations and congressional representatives to draft the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act and has continued to be the driving force behind efforts to see important fire protection legislation passed by the Congress of the United States. Jim has been the National Fire Sprinkler Association’s representative to the Congressional Fire Services Institute’s National Advisory Committee since 1993 serving as the Vice Chair of the NAC from 2012 to 2014 and Chair from 2014 to 2016. As Chair Jim was able to secure funding that finally enabled CFSI to be moved to the more spacious, modern, fire sprinkler protected offices that they enjoy today in Rosslyn, Virginia. At the CFSI Dinner in 2017 Jim was the recipient of the prestigious Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. After 56 years of service in one capacity or another, Jim attempted a brief retirement from May to October of 2016, but shortly thereafter was called back to duty and presently serves as a Senior Policy Advisor to National Fire Sprinkler Association President, Shane Ray.
Wayne Gey – While growing up on a farm in rural Alabama, Wayne learned to pick cotton, which instilled in him a lasting strong work ethic. He attended college in Tampa, Florida and worked for a fire sprinkler company, which is where he learned the nuts and bolts of the industry. In 1978, he started Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. He started out with two team members-one was his son Clark who was just 14 years old, who is now President of the company with many hundreds of team members. Wayne’s philosophy of doing every job the right way and always having pride in your work has become a credo at Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. He built the company from within by rewarding team members for hard work through shared profits and earnings. His integrity and passion for the industry has never waned. Wayne served on NFSA’s board from 2000-2010, serving as NFSA’s Chairman of the Board from 2006-2008. He was also a founding board member of Common Voices. This sums up Wayne Gey’s philosophy very well, “The Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinkler Family… not just a company, a cause. Caring for customers and each other since 1978.”
Barry Waterman – The Waterman family has been active in the fire sprinkler industry for one hundred and twenty years. Barry began his participation at Acme Sprinkler Service Company in Chicago, Illinois, in 1967. As a college student, he worked summers and holidays as a Local 669 apprentice. He also worked one summer in the company fabrication shop. After college and two years of service in the United States Army, he began full time work on December 1, 1973. Barry and his brother, Michael, had immediate responsibilities after their father, Ernest Waterman, Jr., retired in January of 1975. They shared system layout, estimating and managerial responsibilities. Barry had the task of participation in industry related organizations. He served as an officer of the Illinois Fire Prevention Association for six years including two years as president, in 1983 – 84. He was asked by industry colleagues in Chicago to seek a seat on the NFSA Board of Directors in the fall of 1983. He was elected to the Board representing “Area 5,” which at that time included the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, in December of 1983. He served two terms as Area 5 Director. He stepped down at the end of a second term to devote more time to matters in his company’s market area of Northern Illinois, at the end of 1989. In 1990, he and several key colleagues formed the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. This group was modeled after similar groups in California that were having success moving industry matters forward and using industry promotion fund dollars. The Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board is one of the most influential and successful groups in America. It has participated in passing many local ordinances mandating the use of fire sprinklers, and it has raised the visibility of the fire sprinkler system in its area of influence. To date, over 110 jurisdictions in Illinois have enacted ordinances requiring either NFPA 13D single family residential sprinklers or “zero square foot” ordinances meaning that EVERYTHING that is built in that jurisdiction requires fire sprinklers. At the start of the twenty-first century, NFSA had a different structure. It had created the position of “Director at Large.” This added an additional contractor to the board so contractors would always be a majority of voting members. Barry decided to seek this new position that required election by all NFSA contractor members nationwide. He was elected in December of 2001. He served two three-year terms in this position, stepping down at the end of 2007. In addition to his participation in NFSA, he served as an alternate representative to NFPA Pamphlet 25 relating to inspection and testing of fire sprinkler systems from its first publication until 2008. During his second period of serving on the NFSA board, the NFSA President asked him if he would consider submitting material in writing to the “Sprinkler Quarterly,” the NFSA Journal. He had acquired a reputation of being outspoken and having an opinion on most matters. His column – “Bear Tracks” – first appeared in May of 2002, and continued to appear in every “Quarterly” until late 2010.
Rich Ackley – Rich started his career working in a sprinkler fabrication shop in 1963 with Viking Sprinkler in Cincinnati, Ohio, while attending the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated with a BA in Econom- ics in 1967. In 1989, Rich founded Dalmatian Fire, Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis with a branch office in Cincinnati, Ohio. After branch office expansions in Co- lumbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, and more than
$550 million in fire sprinkler revenue, Dalmatian Fire, Inc., evolved into one of the most respected fire sprin- kler contractors in the country. Rich is a near lifetime
member of NFSA and NFPA. He chaired the Southern Ohio Fire Sprinkler Asso- ciation at the age of 23, chaired the Indiana Fire Sprinkler Association in 1993 – 1994, served seven years on the Local 669 JATC from 1992 – 1999, represented the sprinkler industry on the Top Notch Board in Indiana for a decade and has served on the Board of Directors of the NFSA for the last 12 years as Area 5 Director representing Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia.
Rich served on the NFSA Contractors Council, the Labor Advisory Committee, chaired the NFSA Membership Committee and was involved with six Local 669 Negotiating Committees for collective bargaining purposes. He was the 2013 Golden Sprinkler Award winner, retiring in 2014.
Neil Cahill – Neil represented the NFSA and its contractor members for more than 32 years in all matters of labor relations. He started with the
Association in October, 1985 as Associate Director of Labor Relations, and retired at the end of December, 2007, as Vice President of Labor Relations. Neil con- tinued to represent the Association as a Consultant and Trustee on five national, and six local Sprinkler Fitters Pension, Welfare and Education Taft -Hartley Trust Funds until December 31st, 2017, as well as representing the Sprinkler Industry on the United
Association (UA) International Training Fund, UA International Pipe Trades Committee and the Advisory Board of the Multi-Employer Property Trust Fund. Neil advanced the interests of fire protection contractors while recog- nizing the significant contributions of the journeymen and apprentice sprinkler fitters they employ. Neil’s many contributions to the industry, over more than 32 years, are much appreciated and will be long-remembered by his many friends on both sides of the bargaining table.
Frank Fee III – Frank served as President of family-owned Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Compa- ny, Inc. from 1976 through 2015. He served on the National Fire Protection Association’s International Advisory Board, was past Chairman of the Board and Director of the National Fire Sprinkler Association and held several Board positions including Treasurer, Secretary, and Director of the National Fire Protection Association. Frank has been the recipient of NFSA’s “Golden Sprinkler Award” (1998), NFPA’s “Distinguished Service Award” (1998), and AFSA’s “Henry S. Parmelee Award” (1990) in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the fire sprinkler industry.
John Joyce – John began his career in 1959 working for his father’s company, Albert Engineering. While maintaining a full-time job, John also attended both San Francisco State College and College of San Mateo. In February of 1961, John joined the Geo. M. Robinson & Co. as an apprentice in the field. In less than two years, John became a branch manager.
Under John’s leadership, Geo. M. Robinson & Co. grew, along with the fire protection industry, and the Bay Area. John served as a Design Engineer, Branch Manager, Estimator, Chief Estimator, and later as
the General Manager for the company, which he took ownership of in 1990. He served as the Company’s President and CEO for 21 years before his own retirement in 2011. Over the course of John’s 50 plus years in the fire sprinkler
industry, he always remained an active and major contributor to the industry He served as Chairperson of the NorCal NFSA Chapter, Head of the Labor Com- mittee during labor negotiations with the Union, as well as being instrumental in getting the Work Recovery Program established. He was a member of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee, the Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, and a Trustee
for the Supplemental Pension Fund. John was an accredited Fire Protection Engineer (FPE), a Military Engineer and held his individual Fire Protections C-16 Contractors License. John passed away in March of 2018.
George Laverick – George Laverick graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Mechanical Technology and was employed by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. for his entire professional career.
George retired from UL as a Primary Designated Engineer, where he participated with the NFSA as a longtime member on the UL/FM/NFSA Standards Review Committee. Early in his career, George was involved with the investigation for listing of the first residential sprinkler that resulted in the publication of the first edition of the NFPA Residential Sprinkler
Standard NFPA 13D. He was a member of numerous NFPA and AWWA Technical Committees related to fire protection product installation, and a member of the U.S. delegation to international standards activities relating to fire suppression equipment.
Cary Nicol – Cary began his career at Viking in 1991 as a Viking SupplyNet Divisional Sales Manager In 2003, Cary was promoted to Regional Sales Manager for the Midwest Region, and a few years later added the South Region to his sales management responsibilities. In 2007, he was promoted to Vice President of Sales, and also later added Viking SupplyNet’s Product Management role to his responsibilities. Cary served on numerous industry committees and boards with the goal of advancing the acceptance of automatic fire sprinklers. This included the NFSA Industry Promotion
Committee, Vice Chairman of the Northern Illinois NFSA Chapter, and serving eight years on the Illinois Burn Prevention Golf Committee, including the last three years as the committee Chairman. Cary passed away on April 19, 2018 and one of his last legacy moments was #CarysChallenge for Common Voices.
Art O’Neil – Art started his career in the sprinkler industry working for “Automatic” Sprinkler Corp. of America. By the early 1970s he was the DGM managing the very successful Baltimore office and by the mid 1970s was promoted to Eastern Regional Vice President where he was responsible for operations along most of the east coast, from Maine to North Carolina and including Puerto Rico. Art and his late wife Joan raised seven children while Art traveled up and down the east coast. Art’s influence and guidance during that time impacted many in the fire sprinkler
industry. In 1995 when Tyco acquired “Automatic” Sprinkler, Art started a new phase of his fire sprinkler career and went to work for Lubrizol as their area sales representative where he remained until his retirement.
Mike Carden – Mike left us in July of this year.He joined his father’s business while in high school in the 50’s and took over the company JM Carden in 1968 He was instrumental in developing Southern California’s support organizations and served on the NFSA’s BOD as well as President of the LA chapter.
Gene B. Endthoff – Gene was awarded the GSA back in 2004. Gene worked tirelessly for what was then the NAS&FCA and actually came up with the idea and name for the GSA back in 1987 when the first award was given to Ray Casey
Mel Farren – One of my most pleasurable phone calls was calling Mel on March 2nd to inform him of his induction to our HOF. One of the most shocking phone calls I have ever received came from John Galt sharing with me that Mel had passed away suddenly on April 23rd. I do not think there is any one man who was more responsible for nurturing the great relationship between CASA and NFSA . Our priest made a comment on Sunday that kindness is never forgotten. This was a very kind man who will never be forgotten.
Michael J. Friedman – Mike received the GSA in 2002 and he was one of those people that I questioned “do they ever retire. Mike’s contributions post AC McDonald have assisted multiple generations of sprinkler contractors
Aus Marburger – One of the brightest and most eloquent board members we have ever had. Aus received the GSA in 2010 and now works in public service. If he chooses to come up and speak I suggest you google a thesarus and sit back and smile
Don Pamplin – If there was a bridge that connected the Canadian and National Associations it would be Don. He was the former Fire Chief for Vancouver where he served for 38 years and was instrumental in establishing the most comprehensive fire protection ordinance in all of North America. After retiring he served as the Western Regional Manager for CASA and in 2000 moved over to the NFSA as our Pacific Northwest Regional Manager.
Claude Chafin –
Charlie Miner – “Automatic” Sprinkler Corp of America – Ohio Charlie was President of “Automatic” from January 1979 until June of 1987. During that time the company more than doubled it’s size and became the largest division of it’s parent company Figgie International. Charlie served as Chairman of the Contractors Council of the NAS&FCA which became the NFSA. Charlie developed the “Pressure Curve” that we still use today in analyzing our sprinkler market and it’s trends.
Ed Rumble – Michigan Hanger Company, Niles Ohio -Began Fire Protection career working for Automatic Sprinkler Corp. of America in 1940. Became General Manager in the early 50’s. Very active in NFPA working closely with Cyde Wood on his publications ‘Hydraulic Data For Fire Protection Systems.” Fired by Harry Figgie in 1964, Ed started Michigan Hanger with a “commitment” of 12 large contractor/fabricators. Ed developed the first reversible top beam clamp along with the first non-threaded pipe fitting for small diameter schedule 10 pipe. Ed Passed away in 1983 leaving his business to sons Ray and Ed. His wife Freda resides in Poland Ohio.
Sonny Scarff – Senior Director for Marriott International’s Global Fire and Life Safety – Hailed by many in the fire protection industry as “a visionary and a man ahead of his time”. The Sprinkler Industry and Marriott have been the benefactors of Sonny’s innovations as demonstrated by his dedication and passion for the safety of others leading to the installation of fast response sprinkler systems in hotels. His tireless effort has saved countless lives not only in Marriott hotels, but other hotel chains which have adopted this practice. Sonny’s pioneering spirit transcends into the education realm where he was actively involved in research projects with the University of Maryland Fire Protection Engineering department and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.
Wayne Ault–‘Automatic’ Sprinkler Company– Wayne managed Automatic Sprinkler’s engineering department during the 50’s and 60’s and was credited with many patents including the “Center Strut Sprinkler,” the “Flush” sprinkler, and their dry pipe valve accelerator. Wayne went to work for Rolf Jensen & Associates in 1973 where he served the sprinkler industry well until his retirement in 1992 serving on numerous NFPA committees. Wayne and his wife celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year shortly before her passing.
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.
Arthur Hewines – Bennett and Wright – Art was first and foremost a true gentleman as he gave of himself to the industry long after his retirement. While in his 90’s he acted as a proctor for NICET exams, then administered in Canada through CASA. Art’s career in the sprinkler industry was with Bennett & Wright sprinkler division out of Toronto. He was a mentor to several other individuals who would go on to serve CASA and the industry with distinction. Art was noted for his contributions to the training of apprentices and cared deeply that journeymen also receive the best ongoing training and upgrading that was changing in the industry.
Jack Priest–Vipond – Jack was a life-long employee of Vipond, now Canada’s largest sprinkler contractor and part of Western States and The API Group. Jack’s name appears as a Vipond representative as early as the 1950s. He was one of the original members of the CASA Board who filed for formal recognition of CASA under a Dominion Charter in 1961. Jack’s involvement with the industry covered all aspects of the trade as well as at the association level. Jack was instrumental in forming with the U.A. in 1965 the Sprinkler Industry Pension Plan. He served as a trustee from inception some 30 years and left giving the Plan a tremendous foundation. Today the Canadian “Sprinkler Pension Plan” is regularly one of the best preferred plans in Canada and has reached the #1 best multi-employer plan several times in recent years. Jack Priest was a true leader and visionary of the sprinkler trade in Canada.
Joe Petite – Viking Fire Protection Limited – After moving from Massachusetts to Montreal, in 1942 Joe Petit graduated from Montreal Catholic High School where he excelled in hockey, football and basketball. In 1942 – 1945, he served in the Canadian Navy on the destroyer HMCS Swansea. In 1947, Joe joined Dominion Sprinkler Ltd as Sales Manager covering Quebec, the Maritimes and Eastern Ontario. Dominion Sprinkler Ltd was a fire sprinkler contractor started by his brothers some years earlier. In 1965 the company was sold to Viking Corporation of Hastings, Michigan, where Joe became President and Chair of the company. The company later becomes known as Viking Fire Protection Limited. After a successful business career, and educating three sons, Joe passed away in 2001 from Leukemia in 2001.
Ezio Angelini – “Automatic” Sprinkler of America – After the passing of Rollin “Buck” Buchanan in 1964, Ezio took over a Vice President of Special Hazards for “Automatic” Sprinkler. He was instrumental in creating Special Hazards as a product line of the company along with Sprinklers and Fire Alarms. He oversaw the writing of five Special Hazard manuals that became the foundation of Special Hazards design standards that have worked their way into the current NFPA standards. He ran training classes for both sales and designers in Special Hazards, which planted the seeds for modern day Special Hazards Fire Protection. He mentored many, elevating them from being just employees to being career special hazards fire protection people. His ability to hire, train and mentor was matched by his ability to negotiate. Born in Italy, he would use his accent to charm, confuse and convince people to invest in SH systems for their facilities.
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.
Ed Corcoran – Wolverine Fire Protection – Ed was a life-long sprinkler industry leader that helped many generations of families begin their sprinkler industry careers. As the Founder of Wolverine Fire Protection Co. in 1958, he personally knew the challenges of operating a successful family business and succeeding in this industry. He fostered continual learning applying cutting edge technology to every project. His strong sense of family and community were the pillars of his successful 60 year career, as well as the strong foundation passed on to his 11 sons. Today, Wolverine Fire Protection Co. employees over 130 people nationwide and Ed’s legacy is best evidenced through the dedication, strength, philanthropy, sense of family and teamwork that was passed down and continuously displayed at Wolverine.
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.
Chet Schirmer – Schirmer Engineering –Chet is best known as the longtime chairman of the NFPA Technical Committee on Automatic Sprinklers. He served in that capacity from1974 until 1999. A fire protection engineering graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, he assumed the helm of Schirmer Engineering, the firm that his father had founded, and established it as one of the leading fire protection engineering consulting firms. Chairman of the National Fire Protection Association from 1984 to 1986, Chet was awarded the NFPA’s Standards Medal in 1992, and its Paul Lamb Award in 2003.
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.
Clifford Dolan – Viking Corporation – Cliff Dolan earned an MBA at the University of Michigan. As Vice President of Marketing for the Viking Corporation, he joined the NFSA Sprinkler Manufacturers Council in 1981. During his tenure on the Council he was a strong advocate for marketing the Association itself. He was the Chair of the Council from 1984 until 1988, and continued to serve on the Council and the Board of Directors until 1992.
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.
Layard Campbell – Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company – He served on the E&S Committee from the 1960’s until his retirement in 1990, chaired the E&S Heat Response Subcommittee, and served on the UL/FM/ NFSA Standards Review Committee and as a member of the USTAG to ISO/TC21/SC5. He spearheaded the Association-sponsored research into sprinkler sensitivity under deep beams in 1968, and a second research effort into pipe friction loss in 1970, the results of which were published in journals available to the fire protection community. He represented NFSA on a number of NFPA committees, including the NFPA 33, NFPA 11, and NFPA 16 committees, became a member of the NFPA Sprinkler Committee in 1980, and served on the NFPA 13D subcommittee. He was awarded the NFSA’s Technical Service Award in 2007.
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.
Thomas G. Allan – Allan Automatic Sprinkler – A native of San Francisco, Tom Allan earned a business administration degree from UC Berkeley in 1939, served a year as a police officer, then undertook officer training for the U.S. Navy. In 1943 he joined the San Francisco Fire Department, but in 1954 he left both the fire department and the Navy reserves to devote more time to Allan Automatic Sprinkler Corporation, the fire sprinkler company founded in 1920 by his father. In 1955 he brought his company into the Association, and in 1956 he and his sister founded Allan Automatic Sprinkler of Southern California. A past chair of NFSA’s San Francisco Regional Committee, he was extensively involved in state licensing for C-16 fire protection engineering contractors, from its inception in 1949 through the fight to defend the work against C-36 plumbing contractors in the 1960s. He also served on the local apprenticeship committee, and served as a member of the Association’s Board of Directors in 1973 and 1974, when the Association was restructured with separate Contractors and Manufacturers Councils. He passed away on March 1, 2008, a week after celebrating his 90th birthday.
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.
Charles F. Averill – Grinnell Fire Protection Systems – After serving with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater in World War II, Charlie Averill began a 38-year career with Grinnell Fire Protection Systems Co. and became widely known as a leading expert in the protection of special hazards. For many years he represented NFSA on NFPA technical committees addressing aircraft hangars, foam-water sprinklers, mining facilities, water cooling towers, explosion protection systems, foam, and foam-water sprinklers. Following his retirement he served as a consultant for high-profile projects such as the Toyota assembly plant in Tennessee and NASA’s West Coast Space Shuttle Complex at Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. He passed away at the age of 87 in May of 2007.
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.
Joe F. Kirschner – AFCON – Staring his career at the Curtis Automatic Sprinkler Company in 1947, Joe Kirschner rose through the ranks to the position of Executive Vice President before founding Hythercanics, Inc. in 1952 as a manufacturer of fire protection products. His 1953 patent for the AFCON spray sprinkler included significant improvements in the link and lever design, and the first orifice cap produced on a punch press. In 1954 he founded the sprinkler installation company Automatic Fire Control, which eventually operated over 12 western states, and in 1968 designed and patented the AFCON adjustable sway brace, which became the first UL-listed sway brace for use in fire protection systems.
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.
Stephen A. Comunale, Jr. – S.A. Comunale Company – After graduating from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, Stephen joined the S.A. Comunale Company and worked through various positions to become Vice President of that organization. Although his life was cut short by cancer in February of 2006 at the age of 27, he had already established himself as a dedicated member of the fire sprinkler community, responsible for the installation of sprinklers in numerous significant projects.
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.
Philip H. Merdinyan – Grinnell Fire Protection Systems Company – A 1943 graduate of Brown University, Phil Merdinyan was the Manager of Research and Development for the Grinnell Fire Protection Systems Company at the time of his retirement in 1983. He had joined the NFSA Fact-Finding Committee, now known as the Engineering and Standards Committee, in 1968, and served as the Chairman of its UL/FM Standards Liaison Subcommittee from its inception in 1970 until his retirement. He is best known for the invention of the first listed on-off sprinkler, the Aquamatic, in 1972. He passed away in February of 2004.
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.
Lewis K. Berman – Raisler Corporation – He represented the Raisler Corporation, a New York City mechanical contracting firm that also manufactured sprinklers, on the Association’s Board from 1928 until the resignation of Raisler during the worst of the depression in 1936. He rejoined the Board in 1948 and was active until 1960, when he was still trying to improve relations between the Association and the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York City.15
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.
Raymond J. Casey – National Fire Sprinkler Association – Hired by the Association as Director of Labor Relations in 1952 following graduation from Union College and an early career spent in industrial relations within the steel, paper and textile industries, he was named the Association’s Executive Director in 1955, and President in 1971. He served until his retirement in 1978 and is credited with the vision of an Association offering a wide range of services to its members while increasing the demand for the sprinkler concept through the vehicle of codes and standards.
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.
John Carroll – Superior Sprinkler Company – Beginning his career in the fire sprinkler industry in 1947 as a designer for the Walton-Viking Company in Kansas City, Missouri, he moved through positions as estimator, salesman, and branch manager to become President of Viking Sprinkler Company in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1960, and founded Superior Sprinkler Company in that same city in 1965. He served on the Contractors Council and Board of Directors from 1979 through 1983, and championed the name change for NFSA that took place in 1983 from the former National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association.
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.
The four individuals inducted in 2002 into the Fire Sprinkler Hall of Fame were officers of the New York City Fire Department who were among those killed on September 11, 2001:
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.
William Carey – Underwriters Laboratories – A fire protection engineering graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, he was a senior staff engineer at Underwriters Laboratories, where he served as a member of numerous NFPA technical committees, and was involved in dozens of individual sprinkler research programs. He interacted with the NFSA as a longtime member of the UL/FM/NFSA Standards Review Committee and as a member of the US delegation to international standards activities relating to fire sprinkler equipment.
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.
John Eidson – Cosco – Starting his career in 1955 as an engineering technician with the Los Angeles office of Rockwood Sprinkler Company, he served briefly in the U.S. Army as a construction draftsman, and in 1962 joined another California sprinkler contractor, Barnard Engineering. He joined the Cosco Fire Protection division of Zurn Industries in 1966 and rose through various positions to become President. A longtime member of the Local 709 Joint Apprenticeship Committee and 669 Negotiating Committee, he served as a member of the NFSA Contractors Council and Board of Directors from 1977 to 1980.
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
Howell M. Evans – Moore Pipe and Sprinkler Company – A longtime member and supporter of the Association, he joined the Moore Dry Kiln Company in Jacksonville, Florida after service in World War I. Moore Dry Kiln Company started the Moore Pipe in Sprinkler Company in 1926, becoming one of the first independent sprinkler contractors in the country, and Evans became General Manager. Evans bought the company in 1958, and Moore Pipe and Sprinkler began operating throughout the southeastern United States.
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.
James Kowalczyk – Viking Fire Protection – Employed by Viking for 33 years before passing away unexpectedly in 1997, he was a participant in the 669 JATC, and represented the Association for many years as a member of the American National Standards Institute committees on safety and scaffolding.
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%.
John A. Coakley, Jr. – ASCOA – A graduate of Georgetown University, he served as President of “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America from 1958 to 1964, following in the footsteps of his father, and was active in the Association, serving as President in 1958 and 1959. John was active in civic affairs and his church. He headed a number of campaigns in the Youngstown, Ohio area, including the All Faiths National Bible Week observance and the Catholic Schools Campaign in 1957. He was knighted by Pope Pius XII for his work on behalf of the church. He passed away in 1996.10
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.
Harold P. Eidson – E. Crawford and Slaten Company – Beginning his career with the E. Crawford and Slaten Company in Georgia in 1928, he worked with a number of sprinkler contracting firms, including Rockwood Sprinkler Company, “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America, Barnard Engineering Company, the Scott E. Campbell Company, and Cosco Fire Protection. He remained in the industry to the age of 80 and was a major supporter of the Association and its efforts.
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.
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.
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.
Horatio Bond – National Fire Protection Association – As Chief Engineer for the NFPA for 35 years, he was an outstanding advocate of fire sprinkler protection and worked with the Association to resolve problems such as water service connection charges. He authored hundreds of technical papers, reports and articles on fire protection, many of which promoted the effectiveness of sprinklers.
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.
A. D. Bosch – NASA – A longtime member of the Association staff, she retired in 1955 after more than 40 years of service. Miss Bosch recorded the actions of the Board of Directors over most of those years, and was known for her extensive work on the Association’s News Bulletin.
James B. Francis – A hydraulic engineer in Lowell, Massachusetts, he was manager of the Locks and Canals on Merrimac River, and was responsible for planning a comprehensive fire protection system for the mills, in contemplation of a local system of mutual insurance. He developed the first pipe schedules for perforated pipe systems, connected to a pressurized water supply through valves located outside each mill. This led to the first pipe schedules for automatic sprinkler installations.
William Mather – Mather and Platt – Head of a British engineering firm, his visit to the United States in 1883 on behalf of the British educational system brought him into contact with Frederick Grinnell, whereupon he secured the rights to Grinnell’s sprinkler for the entire eastern hemisphere. He promoted the worldwide use of fire sprinklers.
F. H. Maynard – General Fire Extinguisher Company – One of the prime movers in the reorganization of the National Automatic Sprinkler Association in 1914, he insisted that the Association be headquartered in New York City. He represented the General Fire Extinguisher Company on the Association’s governing Executive Committee, and served as chairman of the executive committee from 1919 to 1928.
G. A. Neracher – “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America – Although W. A Neracher was involved with Association activities from 1918 until early 1926 representing the General Fire Extinguisher Company, G. A. Neracher became involved on behalf of “Automatic” later in 1926 and served as President of the Association in 1928 and again in 1931. He presided over a reorganization effort to broaden membership that in 1929 welcomed all manufacturers, with independent contractors allowed to join as “associate” members.
Domenick Serrano – S & S Fire Suppression – A founder of S & S Fire Suppression, Serrano was a longtime supporter of the NFSA, as well as the New York Sprinkler Contractors Association. He served on a number of NFSA committees, including the Engineering Credentials Committee, the efforts of which led to the development of the NICET program for certification of sprinkler industry engineering technicians.
Robert M. Shaughnessy – Orvin Engineering – Beginning his career in the sprinkler industry as a design trainee with “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America, he moved to Orvin Engineering in 1956 and joined with three partners to buy the company ten years later. He was active in the Association on both a local and national level, and was also a founder of the Tolco Company, a manufacturer of hangers and braces.
Charles E. Swingley and Charles F. Wall – As Chiefs, respectively, of the St. Louis, Missouri and Toledo, Ohio fire departments, they were among the first to understand and apply the fire sprinkler concept to public fire protection. At a time when most fire chiefs were reserving the public water mains for their exclusive use, they recognized that water storage tanks reserved for sprinkler use would inhibit widespread installation of sprinkler systems, and convinced their colleagues in the International Association of Fire Engineers to permit fire sprinkler systems to be supplied from street mains.
C.J.H. Woodbury – Boston Mutual Insurance Company – As an inspector and later Vice-President of the Boston Mutual Insurance Company, he conducted the first comprehensive tests on automatic sprinkler devices in 1884, leading to the first device approvals. This concept established the level of quality necessary to promote widespread acceptance of the reliability of fire sprinkler systems.
Rube J. Barrett – National Fire Sprinkler Co. – Starting his career as a pipe fitter for “Automatic” in 1922, he became Chairman of Walton-Viking in Kansas City, which became the National Fire Sprinkler Company. One of the first to use rate-of-rise sprinkler equipment, he was also one of the first regional committee chairmen. He remained active in the industry and NFSA until his death in 1985.
Frank J. Fee – Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company – Coming from Ireland in the 1890’s, he started a plumbing and mechanical contracting company in New York City. Unable to purchase sprinklers, he started his own sprinkler manufacturing business in 1918 by importing a Canadian design. The independent sprinkler manufacturer in turn fostered the growth of independent sprinkler contractors, reshaping the industry.
Fred Gloeckler – Star Sprinkler – Beginning his career with Star Sprinkler in 1939, he was awarded more than a dozen patents over half a century, including the first concealed sprinkler, the “unspoiler”. He served as a member of the Association’s Engineering and Standards Committee from 1969 to1978.
Lester A. Grimes – Star Sprinkler – With his brother Sherwood, he started U.S. Sprinkler, later to become Star Sprinkler. After selling the company, they started the sprinkler division of the Raisler Corporation, developing the “Grimes” line of sprinklers and valves, and later worked to expand the Reliable product line.
Stewart A. Harrison – A major in the First Engineer London Volunteers, he is credited with inventing the first automatic sprinkler in 1864. While the device was never patented or marketed, it was actually superior in a number of respects to many of the sprinklers that followed it, especially with regard to sensitivity.
Charles T. Mallory – Globe – “Chic” Mallory served as a Director of the Association from 1950 until 1965, and as a member of the Labor Relations Committee during much of that time. He was appointed the first chairman of the Building Code Committee in 1954, and served as the Association’s representative to many NFPA technical committees. In 1964 he founded Arden Sprinkler in Philadelphia, which he directed until his death in 1984.
H.W. Park – Rockwood Sprinkler Co. – One of the prime movers in the reorganization of the National Automatic Sprinkler Association in 1914, he represented the Rockwood Sprinkler Company in Association activities until 1931. He served as President of the Association in 1921 and again in 1929.
William H. Stratton – Beginning as a pipefitter with the New Haven, CT firm of Foskett, Bishop & Co., he was involved in the historic installation of sprinklers in Henry Parmelee’s piano factory in 1874. He received patents for three different types of sprinklers, but none was ever produced and installed. His contributions included insurance incentives for sprinklers in commercial and industrial occupancies.
Norman J. Thompson – Factory Mutual – As Director of the Laboratories of the Engineering Division of the Associated FM Fire Insurance Companies, he contributed substantially to the understanding of how sprinklers control and extinguish fires. Best known for the development of the standard spray sprinkler, his 1964 text entitled Fire Behavior and Sprinklers was a landmark publication with regard to the development of the science of fire sprinkler protection.
H.G. Vogel – H.G.Vogel Co. – One of the prime movers in the reorganization of the National Automatic Sprinkler Association in 1914, the firm established by H.G. Vogel patented a sprinkler in 1904, which was never used in the United States, but marketed briefly in England under the name Laconia. For many years the company, later acquired by Grunau Corporation, marketed the “Esty” sprinkler. He served as President of the Association in 1923.
William J. Carroll – Rockwood Sprinkler – President of Rockwood Sprinkler, he succeeded John Alpine as Chairman of the Association’s Labor Relations Committee in 1947 and held that position until his retirement in 1962. He also served as Chairman of the Executive Committee, and was President of the Association in 1948 and 1949.
Everett V. Crosby – Underwriters Bureau of New England – As secretary of the original committee that wrote the sprinkler installation rules, he took on the job of securing the cooperation of the sprinkler and insurance industries. His work as Secretary of the NFPA was of tremendous importance to the industry, and his handbook of fire protection co-authored with Henry A. Fiske, later becoming the NFPA’s Fire Protection Handbook, provided the technical foundation for the industry’s growth.
Gorham Dana – Underwriters Bureau of New England – As the author in 1914 of the text Automatic Sprinkler Protection, he joined his predecessor Everett Crosby as a prime mover for the fire sprinkler industry. His work provided the theoretical basis for use of sprinklers in solving the major fire problems of the early 20th century.
Russell Grinnell – General Fire Extinguisher Company – As President of General Fire Extinguisher Company, which became Grinnell Corporation in 1945, he served as the Association’s President in 1919, 1926, and from 1933 until his death in 1948.
Chester W. Hauth – Fire Protection Company – Beginning his career with Viking Automatic Sprinkler Company of Chicago, he was a founder of the Fire Protection Company and helped develop the first flush sprinkler. He served as President of the Association in 1966 and 1967, and was a charter member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.
Ira G. Hoagland – National Automatic Sprinkler Association – Originally with the Southeastern Tariff Association, he was hired by the Association as a paid Secretary in May of 1914 at $4000 per year. He had previously been editor of “Safety Engineering” as well as an engineer specializing in the examination of sprinkler systems for insurance organizations.
Willis K. Hodgman, Jr. – Hodgman Manufacturing Company – The founder of the Hodgman Manufacturing Company, he is known for a number of inventions and patents, including the flat link with a groove and key, patented in 1920. He served as Director of the Association from 1949 through 1963, and as President in 1960 and 1961.
Ira W. Knight – Grinnell Corporation – Longtime Chairman of the Association’s Fact-Finding Committee, he was appointed to that position at the Committee’s inception in 1946, and served with distinction until 1959.
A.M. Lewis – Globe Automatic Sprinkler Company – One of the prime movers in the reorganization of the Association in 1914, he served as President in 1920 and again in 1932. He also served as chairman of the committee that hired the first full-time executive director for the Association in 1947, and which recommended that membership be extended to companies that manufactured but did not install sprinklers.
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.
W.G. Allen – Niagara Sprinkler Company / ASCOA – One of the three founding fathers of the National Automatic Sprinkler Contractors Association in 1905, he was the Association’s first Treasurer, and was present at the restructuring to the National Automatic Sprinkler Association in 1914. Beginning in 1917 he represented “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America, and served as President of the Association in 1924 and 1925.
John R. Alpine – Grinnell Corporation – A former President of the UA, he went on to serve as Grinnell’s labor relations expert and for many years served as the Chairman of the Association’s Labor Advisory Committee.
T. Seddon Duke – Star Sprinkler Corporation – A member of the Association’s Board from 1947 to 1966 as well as its Fact-Finding Committee, he served as President in 1950 and 1951, and later went on to serve as Chairman of the Board of the National Fire Protection Association.
Frank J. Fee, Jr. – Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company – A member of the Association’s Board of Directors for nearly 30 years, he also served on the Fact-Finding and other committees, represented the Association of the NFPA 13 Committee, served as the Association’s President in 1956 and 1957, and went on to serve as Chairman of the Board of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Frederick Grinnell – Grinnell Corporation – Known primarily as the founder of the company that eventually came to bear his name, Frederick is also credited with developing the art of sprinkler protection, initially installing Parmelee’s sprinklers, and later his own. He patented a great number of improvements to the sprinkler and related devices.
George M. Myers – Standard Fire Extinguishing Company – One of the three founding fathers of the National Automatic Sprinkler Contractor’s Association in 1905, he was elected as its first Secretary. When the Association was reorganized in 1914 with its name changed to the National Automatic Sprinkler Association, he was elected as President and served in this office until 1918.
Henry Parmelee – Credited with inventing the first automatic sprinklers to be used extensively in practice, he patented his first sprinkler in 1874 in an attempt to reduce the fire insurance premiums on his piano factory in New Haven, Connecticut.
John J. Power, Jr. – ASCOA – A member of the Board from 1947 until his death in 1968, he also served as Chairman of the Labor Committee, Secretary of the Association, and as President of the Association in 1954 and 1955.
Emil Tyden – Viking Corporation – The founder of Viking, he also served the Association as President in 1930. He is also known as the inventor of the latched differential dry valve, the dry pendent sprinkler, the flush sprinkler, and other devices.
Clyde Wood – ASCOA – Considered by many as the father of sprinkler hydraulics, his publication of the “Automatic” Sprinkler Hydraulic Data in 1961 was a pioneering effort that led to economical system installation and broader markets for fire sprinkler systems.