Summer 2009 Newsletter

Members Present:

Shelly Brown-Ferguson, Kevin Kane-Viking SupplyNet, Randy Knighton-Knight Fire, Bill McKay-Advanced Fire, Ashton Wolfe-Wolfe Heating & Fire, Chris Russell, Security Solutions NW, Steve Wilson-Vanport Fire, Joe Wilson-Vanport Fire, Chuck Bamford-Bamford & Assoc., Mike Balsey-Advanced Fire, Steve Muncy-AFSA, Mark Hoyt-Lubrizol, Richard Mack-Riverside Fire Authority, Chuck Duffy-State Fire Marshal’s Office, Roger White-Knight Fire, Ron Greenman-Bates Technical College

Randy opened the meeting at the appointed time although we all thought he was going to be late. Fooled us. The first topic of discussion as might be imagined was the state of the economy. At the moment Washington is doing better than other parts of the country but we’re starting to slip. This isn’t unusual since we always tend to be behind the curve of the economic ups and downs. Noticed by everyone is the high number of generals bidding every job. Bill mentioned that Federal recovery money is starting to become available in the construction sector. Joe Wilson reported that the only thing going on in the Portland area was a few apartment complexes. Several members noted seeing an increasing amount of out of state GCs bidding in Washington.

I had brought several administrative issues to the table. I suggested a separate Executive Board meeting each year apart from the general membership meetings to discuss strategies and issues that might be taken to the membership at large. Since the dinner meetings are mostly information exchanges there isn’t a lot of time for any real new business. The idea was approved. These will be open meetings and the entire membership will be notified of date, time and location. All members are welcome, but remember that these meetings may be irregular and ad hoc in nature so notification might be on short notice and they are for the purpose of better conducting the business of the chapter.

I brought up our current treasury (I don’t want to publish this information but if you’re a member and are interested you may call me and I’ll be happy to let you know) and noted we have returned from the abyss. I suggested that we might want to reconsider our dues structure. The members present unanimously voted to keep the current structure in place. The idea here is that we may now be able to get back into scholarships or the baseball tournament or what have you. Speaking of which, if you have an activity you’d like to see happen let me know and I’ll take it to the Executive Board meeting.

I brought up we were required by AFSA to have a membership chairman to meet our obligations as a chapter. I also suggested that the job fall on the immediate past president/chairman. Everybody liked that except Bill who made a big phony commotion and then graciously accepted.

We voted positively on accepting the “New Incentives for Chapter Staffing” and the responsibilities that that will incur. Since most of the latter falls on me, and I’ve been doing most of these things already, it’s pretty much a wash.

Prior to the meeting the Executive Committee (Randy, Ashton & Kevin) agreed to make the meeting fee for AHJs a flat $25.00. This should make it easier for AHJs to attend since they will know the cost ahead of time. The rest of us are still on a sliding scale.

The members attending voted to sponsor my trip to the AFSA Convention in San Diego this coming October. The last one I attended was in 2000 when I took on the Executive Director job for the Chapter. Thanks to all the PacNW Chaopter members.

The wage surveys are not out yet. If any of you get one please let me know so I can notify the other members. This is important and as fitter licensing in Washington kicks in it may end up being of great benefit to open shops. There was a long discussion about licensing. There may be a silver lining.

The Washington Sprinkler Coalition (Ashton is our rep) participated in a couple of side by side burns in a quadraplex slated for demolition. The demonstration was a huge success, turning the opinion of at least one elected city official completely around from a flat “they just cost too much even if they’re free” attitude to a “we gotta have these” change of heart. The main participants included South Kitsap Fire, Bremerton Fire, the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office, Bremerton Housing Authority and Sprinx Fire. A film crew from Bates Technical College recorded the event and a short DVD is in post production. What I’ve seen so far is pretty good. It will be ready by our next meeting and I’ll try to have 25 or so copies to distribute to the members.

Steve Muncy, President of AFSA, was up next and he talked about the national economy, the state of AFSA,  and the state of the industry. 2008 was very good for AFSA, as were previous years. 2009 is not so good but because of judicious policies during the good times the health of AFSA as an organization is good. The industry itself, due to projects already funded, is behind the economic situation of the rest of the country by about six to eight months. California, Florida, Nevada and Michigan are hurting badly.

The homebuilders are doing their damnedest to make sure residential sprinklers do not become mandatory. To that end they are mounting an effort to overthrow the last ICC floor vote at this years ICC convention in Baltimore. Something new from ICC though. You now only need be a member, not an official also, to vote. If you can get to Baltimore and are an ICC member do so and vote. If you can get to Baltimore and aren’t an ICC member then join, go, and vote. If you can imagine North Dakota and Texas have adopted laws that make it illegal for a local jurisdiction to require residential sprinklers even if the state adopts the 2009 IRC with the residential provisions intact. I believe these are both home rule states!

AFSA has some pretty spectacular deals running as well as a lot of information you need. Go to their website at or to ours,, and click on the AFSA link.

I urge you to not let your AFSA membership lapse. It’s in hard times when solidarity of purpose and the ability to share ideas are most important and beneficial. While you’re cost cutting and streamlining consider AFSA membership as necessary to your business as insurance, fleet maintenance and fuel. You want the best prices and value but you you know you need to them all.

So everybody was well fed and the meeting broke up. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the AFSA Pacific Northwest Chapter will be held at the 13 Coins in SeaTac at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, 10 November 2009.