My Fire Sprinkler Story

May 27th, 2008

I am a native of Las Vegas, Nevada and have spent all but the first 3 years of my working career in the fire protection industry. I must admit to you that I did not find fire sprinklers, but rather they found me.

At the time I entered the field, most sprinkler professionals were either born into the industry or referred to it by a friend or acquaintance. The latter is my story.

I had spent my first two and a half years after college in the credit insurance industry working for a large managing general agency. I found it unfulfilling and dull.

I began looking for a career that provided:

  • – a worthwhile product or service
  • – created an opportunity to develop a technical skill
  • – offered an unlimited potential for leadership.

A lay leader in my church told me that the company he worked for was recruiting sprinkler system design trainees for their formal training program. I really had no idea what a fire sprinkler was, but I applied, interviewed, and was eventually accepted.

I found my home. I was fascinated with these small inexpensive devices and the protection they provided and I took every opportunity to increase my knowledge and skill.

After completing my training I was relocated to San Diego, California and my career path was set. I moved through a series of responsible positions including that of general manager for a mid-sized fire protection contracting firm.

A fellow fire sprinkler professional, Bill Holden, and I formed a company called Fire Design and commenced business in June of 1990. We provided fire sprinkler system working drawings for contractors and conceptual plans for owners and architects.

This was a great learning opportunity and eventually led to the defining moment of my career—working with one of the most passionate and innovative fire protection professionals in the industry, Bill Tomes.

In 1991, Bill Holden and I joined with Bill Tomes, Chuck Van Rickley, and Jim Tomes of Tomes Van Rickley and Associates in forming Fire Design Group, Inc. We eventually changed our name to TVA Fire Life Safety, Inc. With the exception of Chuck Van Rickley, who left the firm in early 1996, we are still partners today.

Over the years, we transformed our small consulting firm into an international fire protection provider with annual revenue for 2007 in excess of 80 million dollars (US). Telgian Corporation offers a breadth of services utilizing a model for customer advocacy that is unmatched.

Along the way, I have been active in local and national industry promotion and training. A look at my resume will provide a glimpse of my involvement and passion for this great industry that is only now beginning to realize its potential.

With the increasing emphasis on life safety (residential fire sprinklers), the economic realities of sound risk management (Sarbanes-Oxley), and the global exporting of our technology, the fire protection industry is on the verge of an expansion that will dwarf all previous growth.

My personal mission is to help facilitate this growth. Sound cost effective life safety and risk management are worthy objectives and I am proud to be associated with an industry that does make a difference in people’s lives.

The vision of Telgian is to transform the business of fire and life safety on a global basis and I plan to assist by continuing to promote our industry, to look for innovative solutions, and to professionalize our industry through training and education.

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