Stars at Night Awards Dinner Honors Thirteen with the Highest Recognitions Bestowed by NFPA for Significant Time and Effort in Reducing Risk in Our World

Blog Post created by laurenbackstrom Employee on Jun 17, 2019

Last night, a very special evening was held here in San Antonio as NFPA Conference & Expo gets underway. The NFPA Board of Directors, our Standards Council and members of the NFPA staff gathered to recognize thirteen incredible individuals in seven distinct award categories which are the highest recognitions bestowed by NFPA.


These individuals have invested significant time and effort in reducing risk in our world through big ideas, careful consideration, progressive actions, and creative collaborations. Through their actions, they are advocating for the components of the fire and life safety ecosystems in ways that are resonating with the global community – and making our world safer.


Award: The Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Week Award

Honoree: Robbie Stone


This award recognizes individuals and organizations that help educate neighbors, employees, and families about fire prevention and safety during Fire Prevention Week.  Robbie Stone is Emergency Management director and fire chief of the Atkinson County, Georgia fire department who was instrumental in creating a new fire safety program that resulted in a 30% drop in fire calls. This leader and his department have also stepped up their fire prevention efforts, even as they dealt with reduced staffing, spending a considerable amount of time educating the next generation of fire safety advocates in local schools, and raising awareness of Fire Prevention Week messaging.


Award: Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award

Honoree: Barry J. Brickey


This award honors an educator who works for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office in the U.S. or Canada, and uses NFPA materials in consistent and creative ways. The recipient must demonstrate excellence and innovation in reaching out to the community, and view NFPA as the leading source for fire safety information.


Barry Brickey has been teaching NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn® program to elementary school children for more than a decade. Shortly after implementing Learn Not to Burn, he began educating elderly residents and community organizers about fire and fall prevention strategies using NFPA’s Remembering When™ program materials.


A passionate safety advocate, Barry has filled some big dog shoes over the years as the voice of Sparky the Fire Dog® during national campaigns and media tours. His ability to collaborate with others has resulted in billboard campaigns that have promoted Fire Prevention Week themes, home fire sprinkler information, and smoke alarms. He was also a key contributor to a team effort that reduced call numbers at a high-volume apartment complex in his jurisdiction.


Award: Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal

Honorees: Daniel Brandon, Matthew Hoehler, Brigit A.-L. Östman, and Joseph Su


This medal recognizes a Fire Protection Research Foundation project completed in the previous year that best exemplifies the Research Foundation’s fire safety mission, commitment to overcoming technical challenges, and collaborative execution of projects.


The winning project for this year’s Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal involved true collaboration to execute a study that aimed to isolate what contributions timber had on a compartment fire in order to compare the performance of cross-laminated timber systems to other structural systems commonly used in tall buildings. This work will serve in informing building codes, emergency response techniques, and in fact has already led to changes in manufacturing standards. 


This award recognizes everyone that was involved with the project and includes the research team, the project sponsors, and the technical panel.  For this project, the National Research Council of Canada and the Research Institute of Sweden were contracted for technical services, and full-scale testing was conducted at the National Fire Research Laboratory at NIST.  This study was sponsored by the American Wood Council (through a grant from the USDA) and the Property Insurance Research Group.


Award: Harry C. Bigglestone award

Honoree: Wojciech Węgrzyński


This award is given annually to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize from NFPA.


This year’s Bigglestone award winning technical paper was selected out of an impressive array of 103 articles. The work focused on developing guidance for coupled wind-fire analysis, which applies to wildfires, tunnels, indoor flows, and other scenarios.  The paper provides valuable information for engineers and designers by presenting best practices for how to incorporate wind modeling into fire analysis.  The findings will help optimize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of wind and fire so that they can work to prevent and predict different scenarios. Wojciech’s work will have an impact on evacuation strategies, mitigation measures, and resiliency plans.


Wojciech has spent a significant part of his career focused on how architectural features of a building impact smoke control performance, and how to make smoke exhaust systems less expensive and more efficient. He is an assistant professor and deputy head of the Fire Research Department at ITB, the Polish Building Research Institute in Warsaw, a member of technical committees working to develop new European standards for smoke control, and a vice president of the Polish Chapter of SFPE.


Award: Standards Medal

Honoree: Stephen King


The Standards Medal recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to fire safety and the development of NFPA codes and standards, and represents the most distinguished award given by the NFPA Standards Council.


Stephen has enjoyed a 30-year career with the Fire Department of New York, eventually climbing to the role of Battalion Commander. On September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center buildings were struck, he was the citywide safety chief, arriving on scene within nine minutes of the first strike. This fire leader was operating a command post when the second tower was hit, causing debris to come crashing down. His knee was shattered, resulting in a permanent disability. He retired after that fateful day, but has remained actively involved with the fire service since.


He serves as chairman of the NFPA Technical Committee on Structural and Proximity Fire Fighting Protective Clothing and Equipment, and as a member of the Correlating Committee on Fire and Emergency Services Protective Clothing and Equipment. He has 10 years experience with the Naval Reserve; has been a commercial instrument pilot for the United States since 1970; and holds a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration and a masters in protection management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


Award: James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal

Honoree: Jon Nisja


This award was established in honor of Jim Shannon, who served as NFPA’s president for 12 years. Shannon was a tireless advocate known for promoting fire safety in the interest of the general public and the fire service. Jon demonstrates comparable passion, he started his fire service career in 1978, and 15 years later began to focus his efforts on fire prevention and fire investigation. Serving as fire marshal for two communities, he has been a fire safety supervisor with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division for the past 10 years, where he oversees fire loss data, fire protection, and training. A former president of the Fire Marshals Association of Minnesota, our honoree is also a past president of the International Fire Marshals Association. He has authored chapters in five books, and is widely known for his knowledge of fire protection interests, including fire safety history, means of egress, fire protection systems, building construction, and using performance measures to show effectiveness.


Award: Philip J. DiNenno Prize

Honorees: Roger Allard, Robert G. Bill, Gunnar Heskestad, and Hsiang-Cheng Kung


The prestigious Philip J. DiNenno Prize recognizes groundbreaking innovations that have had a significant impact in the building, fire and electrical safety fields. The prize, which comes with $50,000 in prize money, is named for the late Philip J. DiNenno, the greatly respected former CEO of Hughes Associates, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to fire safety.


This year’s DiNenno award is being given to the four individuals above who have played a significant and substantive role in the successful promulgation of truly effective, occupancy-specific, fast-response sprinklers, which involve three independent technologies related to sprinkler response.


Because of the four award winner’s hard work and perseverance, the following statements can now be made with certainty: first, the use of Response Time technology has been overwhelmingly accepted worldwide for the characterization of fast response links. Second, Quick Response residential fire sprinklers are widely accepted and used in residential settings worldwide. And last but not least, Early Suppression Fast Response fire sprinklers are broadly used in commercial and industrial settings worldwide.