Derek Strickland loves an adventure. Eager to get out of his hometown of Tucson, Arizona after college, he moved to an unknown city and is always excited to explore somewhere new. And while he knew he wanted to pursue a career in engineering, one of his greatest adventures so far has been in fire protection.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in mechanical engineering, Derek learned about a job opening for a sprinkler designer with a local contractor. His prior exposure to the fire protection industry was limited, and his college training was primarily centered around large companies, which he said never really drew his interest. He went into the interview not knowing what to expect.

“Throughout the interview I discovered the combination of technical challenges, variety and the fulfillment that comes with providing life safety,” he said. “I was intrigued but at that time, I didn’t know the depth and the challenges that continue to keep me intrigued.”

This Fall, Derek joined the team as one of our newest fire protection consultants. After four and a half years working for an Arizona-based contractor, his background is almost entirely in sprinkler design, and he’s looking forward to becoming a well-rounded P.E., expanding his expertise to include other elements of life safety such as fire alarm, egress, smoke and special systems.

“The most rewarding aspect is the feeling of accomplishment when a project is complete with a life safety system that is properly suited for the occupancy,” he said. “Driving projects with a mindset of life safety is difficult and when the project is complete and in accordance with the design and is accepted, it is work that I can be proud of.”

Located in Lubbock, Texas, with his girlfriend, Derek spends his free time hiking, catching up with friends at local breweries and riding his bike. He’s enjoying West Texas but misses the mountains, so he’s making plans to buy a travel trailer, with more adventures on the horizon.