Hello, fellow fire protection professionals. As CFPS Chair I bring greetings from the entire Board, with hopes that you are having a fire-safe summer, and are having an opportunity to enjoy some vacation time. We held our annual meeting at the NFPA Conference & Expo® in early June, and I have some news and developments from that meeting to share with you.
The immediate past-chair, Bruce Clarke has previously informed us all of the election results, and the addition of two new Directors to the Board. But this is important information worth repeating: We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to retiring Directors, Ray Lonabaugh (after untold years of service to the organization), and Chris Butts (who served faithfully on the Board from 2010 thru 2014). It was my great privilege to present plaques to these two gentlemen at the annual Certificate Holders Meeting, in recognition of their service. While we regret saying goodbye to those individuals, we welcome two new Directors, elected this spring and sworn in at the annual meeting: Frank L. Keisler of Duluth, Georgia, and Kevin Sluss, of Dothan, Alabama. Welcome, gentlemen.
Obviously I am the “new-guy” in the Chairman’s seat. I have been greatly blessed and honored to be elected to the Board for a final term, and to have been selected as Chair. I have very big shoes to fill in the absence of Bruce Clarke, who served in this capacity for the past 5 years. I am deeply grateful that Bruce is sticking around for a while to show me the ropes; and equally grateful that he will continue to do a great job of maintaining the CFPS page on LinkedIn. We have a tremendous following there, both Certificate Holders and future certificate holders, and it’s a great credit to Bruce’s leadership for helping that grow into the force that it has.
At our main, annual meeting each year, we always review and analyze the sheer numbers of the program as tabulated by our 3rd party administrator, NFPA. We are pleased to report continued growth in the organization. Figure 1 illustrates the growth in certificate holders over the years. Looking ahead to the future of the organization, of course it is our mission to see those numbers continue to increase. But with additional focus on marketing and reaching young fire protection professionals around the world, we wish to make that growth curve steeper.
Figure 1 – CFPS Program Growth Year/Year
In Figure 2 you may find interest in the number of CFPS Certificate Holders by state. You’ll notice we have reached 49 of the 50 United States now, and it is our hope that North Dakota will come around pretty soon. With heavy energy exploration and production in North Dakota, perhaps that next CFPS from ND is already in the process of becoming certified. If one of you happens to relocate to North Dakota, please notify us of your updated address so we can check that milestone off our bucket list!
Figure 2 – CFPS Certificate Holders by State (US) & Province (Canada)
Finally, in Figure 3 we see that we are clearly no longer just a U.S. credential. A full 9% of our Certificants are now from outside the United States, and we see that percentage to continue to grow each year. Our charge as the Board of Directors is to recognize that growth potential, and to find ways to cultivate it.
Figure 3 – CFPS Certificate Holders Worldwide
Also at our annual Board meeting, we were fortunate to hear the presentation by longtime Certificate Holder and Director John Waters, on the history of CFPS. He also presented the historical overview to at the Certificate Holders Meeting. John did an outstanding job of putting this material together, calling on the resources of John Strouse, Ray Lonabaugh, and other long-timers. We are working on possibly posting a video of his presentation, or a narrated slideshow in the near future. Keep an eye on the CFPS website for further information.
The Board takes very seriously the future of our examination process, and with the coming age of a digital Fire Protection Handbook, the implications of testing on a digital knowledge base is foremost in our minds. We have set up a “Testing Transition Committee” to keep close watch on the development of the digital handbook; and to work with NFPA, our testing vendor, ANSI, and other key figures to make sure our knowledge base remains relevant to our credential, and to keep the testing process secure, valid, and accurate. This will be a primary focus in the coming year(s) – for as long as it takes to shepherd the process along successfully. So you can expect to hear more about this on a regular basis.
Over the past couple of years, the number of candidates seeking Directorship on the Board has decreased significantly. While we still have well-qualified and capable candidates involved and being elected, we are concerned about this trend. It is not too early to begin considering whether YOU might be interested in serving as a Director. It does not require a huge time commitment, there is little to no personal expense involved, but the work is vitally important to the future of the organization. Most employers I am familiar with are very supportive of having one of their employees serve on the Board. So consider running for the Board next year – and talk it over with your employer and family members. Please feel free to contact any of the twelve Directors for more insight about what it means to serve on the Board, the election process, or other questions of interest. In a nutshell for you, we meet in person at least annually at the NFPA conference, four times a year via teleconference as a full board; and periodically as needed via teleconference at the committee level.
With that, I will end the Chairman’s Corner for this quarter. I am quite honored to Chair the CFPS Board for the coming year, and am very excited about the future of our program. Please contact me if I may be of service to your needs as a Certificate Holder.
David W. Ward, CFPS Chairman, CFPS Board of Directors