Anthony R. Cole, P.E., CFPS, CFEI is an Assistant Professor at Eastern Kentucky University. He teaches in the Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology Program in the School of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management, which is part of the College of Justice, and Safety. He also owns ARC Fire Engineering, a small firm specializing in various aspects of industrial fire protection, investigations, and emergency response.
Location: Nicholasville, Kentucky, a suburb just south of Lexington, Kentucky.
Current responsibilities: “For the longest time I was in the industrial fire protection and process industries field, spending time both as a HPR/Insurance Loss Control Engineer and a Fire Protection Engineer. Recently, I joined the ranks of academia at Eastern Kentucky University. My major responsibilities include curriculum development and instruction at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Additional responsibilities include student advising, research, and promoting the fire protection and safety engineering field."
Career path: Tony's career has taken him around the U.S. and to the Middle East. He has a fascinating history beginning with a decade of experience in local fire departments. Then, he worked as a loss prevention engineer and project manager for several consultant firms. Tony made a life changing decision and moved to Saudi Arabia where he took on new roles as the fire chief of Saudi Iron and Steel and fire protection engineer for a Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Recently, he's managed two consulting businesses and joined the world of academia.
When and where did you take your last NFPA certification class or exam?
“I’ve been working hard for many years earning different certifications, starting with my first professional certification post college, the CFPS, which I earned in October 1997. Since then I have earned several other certifications including my Professional Engineers License in Fire Protection. I think back to when I first earned the CFPS certificate and the positive comments and questions I received about the program. At the time, it was not under NFPA but nonetheless; I always felt that it gave me a clear advantage professionally.”
How has your NFPA certification changed or opened new doors for your career?
“I felt so strongly about the program and professional credentialing in general, that I was able to bring CFPS to Saudi Arabia for the first time some years ago while I was at Saudi Aramco. I am happy that Saudi Aramco has embraced the program and it is now included as part of the development of young Saudi Engineers as they progress in their careers.”
Industry insights: “One of the things I have recently noticed on new job openings is the requirement for the CFPS listed in the job qualifications. I think this speaks volumes for the certification program at NFPA and the CFPS certificate in terms of being more sought after by employers. I think that with the tough job market, employers are looking for the best candidate to fill a position and this type of professional credentialing is becoming more important.
With CFPS now in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, I see the program really growing on the international market. So many professionals abroad are looking for a way to distinguish themselves from others on a global scale, that the CFPS certificate is one of the best ways of doing so. With my previous international experience, I hope to bring that additional skill to the CFPS Board of Directors in order to help grow the program even more. I think there is an un-tapped market for international certifications in fire protection and the CFPS certificate is poised to capitalize on this. With the backing of the NFPA brand name and the high level of professionalism the CFPS certificate has, it certainly is a winning combination."
Tony Cole was elected to the CFPS Board of Directors in June 2013. During the past 15 years, Tony has been involved in several NFPA Technical Committees and he is a prolific writer and lecturer.