New Fire Protection Consultants at NFPA ConferenceWe recently attended the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) Annual Conference and Expo for the opportunity to strengthen ties with other members of the community. I decided to take two of our newest fire protection consultant recruits with me so they could become more familiar with the fire protection ‘scene’ and hopefully develop some professional contacts with vendors, as well as initiate personal relationships in the industry.

The experience changed their perception of fire protection engineering. After the event, fire protection consultant, Kevin Johnson, commented on his general impression: “Fire protection is a large industry, but people have been in it for so long that in some way everybody knows everybody. It’s really accepting, and it is a neat concept because you have engineering firms who would normally compete, with Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), all exchanging information. It was great to see the collaboration for the higher purpose of creating safe, effective industry standards. It was a unique experience.”

The NFPA annual conference is one of the best environments for new recruits because of how accepting it is, but we were not there to rest on our laurels. Before the conference, I outlined a plan with strategic points of contact that I wanted the gentleman to meet. Vendors, engineers and AHJs were on the list, as well as faculty members from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

Kevin is currently studying to obtain a master’s in Fire Protection Engineering at WPI through their distance learning option. He finally had the chance to meet some of the WPI faces behind the screen, both at the official booth they had set up, and later during their reception at the well-named “Fire House Restaurant.” He met Milosh Puchovsky, the professor of practice and director of corporate and professional education. Jeff also introduced them to Dick Davis who discussed his career at FM Global and his responsibilities as a Senior Engineering Technical Specialist.

We know without a shadow of a doubt the Conference had a profound impact on the two young men. Now that they have been introduced to the social network of the fire protection engineering world, they are set up for success as contributing fire protection consultants.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.