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Mid-South 2015 Annual Report

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The following is the Annual Report as prepared by Jerry Vuoso, President of the Mid-South Chapter of the SFPE, presented to the chapter in November, 2015.


Chapter Meetings:  

This year we again had many rewarding chapter meetings covering many topics. The following is a list of meeting topics and speakers:



    1. January 20 – Meeting canceled due to lack of speake
    2. February 24 - Dan Burton, Southeast Regional Sales Manager, Potter Electric Signal Co., “Corrosion in Fire Sprinkler Systems
    3. March 17 – Jerry Vuoso, Sr. Property Protection Engineer, International Paper, “Review of Some Basic Sprinkler Hydraulics
    4. April 21 - Mark Harris, Territory Manager Engineered Systems, Tyco Fire Protection Products, “Choosing and Specifying Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems
    5. May 12 – Rick Boisclair, VP-Suppression Products, Hochiki America Corp., “Aerosol Fire Extinguishing Technology
    6. June 16 – James Hunt, VP of Business, SPP Pumps, Inc., “Fire Pump Characteristics
    7. September 15 – Chris McMillen, VP Business Development, Soni Tech., “Interior Sprinkler Pipe Inspection Using Non-Destructive Ultrasonic Techniques
    8. October 13 – Meeting canceled due to lack of speake
    9. November 17 – James "Andy" Lynch, Amped I, R&D Division, “Manhole/Confined Space Fire Nozzle, Petroleum Pipe Rack Nozzle and other Technology Advances”

All in all the meetings in 2015 where diverse and provided a wealth of technical and general information. Thank you to all the presenters for providing their time and sharing valuable information. 


Executive Meetings:

Although an Executive Meeting is to be held quarterly, due to travel and other time commitments, the Executive Board/Officers did not have any formal meetings. Chapter business was handled by e-mail and short meetings following normal chapter meetings.  Also conference calls were held in August and November with chapter officers and Board members to discuss the business of the chapter.


Membership and Membership Growth:

The number of individuals who have indicated interest in the chapter and are on the chapter contact list for the chapter has grown from 51 in November 2005 to about 190 in November of 2015. The number of National Society members in our chapter is now six.  The number of individuals that paid chapter dues decreased by one to 37 in 2014 to 19 in 2015.  This is a substantial reduction in dues paying members.  The total dues collected in 2015 was $266.00. The chapter dues has not been changed since the chapter was formed.  Dues is still $20.00 per year with the exception that members of public agencies pay $1.00.  The Executive Committee will focus on increasing dues paying membership in 2016. We also would like to suggest that more of our chapter members become national members.


Chapter Leadership: In 2015 the number of active chapter leaders has been reduced to the President, Secretary and Treasurer.  Other elected and past officers that form the Board of Directors have been inactive.  This has resulted in reduced ability of the chapter leadership to support the needs of the chapter.  The chapter will not grow or even exist without the membership stepping up and taking leadership roles in the chapter.  Chapter leadership is considering operating the chapter on a reduced schedule or suspending operation unless more individuals take on leadership roles.  The same small group has supported the chapter as leaders, and just like any organization, this is not sustainable.  A new group needs to step in and over time take the chapter into the future.


University Affiliation:

Jerry Vuoso, Chapter President is a member of the SFPE Higher Education Committee which recently published a sample Curriculum for Fire Protection Engineering Bachelor and Masters Degrees. This information will be used to support our relationship with local universities, specifically with the engineering programs.


2015 Annual Technical Seminar:

Due to venue and speaker scheduling we did not have a technical seminar in 2015. It is planned to have a technical seminar in 2016.


Scholarship Committee: We now have three members on this committee that is charged with the operation of the Grant program.  This program, which is funded through the annual seminar, is charged with establishing the program and selecting candidates to receive the grants.  Current committee members include Leo Old and Peter Dogloma and Terry Donovan.  The activities of the committee have been placed on hold until the future of the chapter is determined.  


Partnership with the Fire Museum of Memphis:

The chapter is still maintaining an open relationship with the Fire Museum of Memphis. Although no formal meetings have been held with the museum in 2015 the chapter still supports the efforts of the museum.  The chapter will regularly inform the membership of museum functions and activities and possibly provide speakers for museum functions. 


Joint Meetings with the ASSE:

The chapter did not have any joint meetings with other local technical societies in 2015.


SFPE Annual Meeting:

Jerry Vuoso, Chapter President attended the 2014 SFPE Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA and attended the Senate Meeting as the Mid-South Chapter representative. Many items where discussed and a report has been written and distributed to the Chapter Board for action.


Jerry will be attending the 2015 Annual SFPE Technical Conference, being held in Philadelphia, PA from November 8 to 13. He will attend the Leadership Forum representing the Mid-south Chapter.    


Treasurer’s Report for 2015:


As of November 5, 2015 -


Checking Account

          Balance as of November 14, 2014 -       $2,742.14

          Balance as of November 5, 2015 -         $2,630.34

          Dues Collected in 2015 -                        $266.00


          Scholarship Account

          Balance as of November 14, 2014 -       $5,309.00

          Balance as of November 5, 2015 -         $5,309.00


Since we were not able to provide a seminar in 2015, there were no additional funds added to the Scholarship Fund in 2015. The 2015 Donation to the Dr. Guylene Proulx Scholarship Fund given during the 2015 SFPE Conference and Expo will be $100.00.      


Focus on Future:

As is true for most chapters, we are always looking for new ideas and paths that will increase the value of the chapter to the members and the Mid-South region.      


The focus of the chapter in 2016 will be directed toward matters that will grow and strengthen the Mid-South Chapter of the SFPE as a local professional society and as a “Focal Point for Fire Protection and Fire Prevention” in the Mid-South. To do this the following areas must be considered:


  1. Growth in Membership - We must grow the membership of the local chapter as well as participation in the SFPE International. We must increase the dues paying membership but yet keep an open door to invite individuals and/or groups to participate in individual meetings and events that are of interest to them. We need to provide more opportunity for joint meetings with other local professional, contactor and municipal groups and societies. We must try to gain the support and participation of the local fire departments and governmental agencies. Lastly, we must forge relationships with the local universities to share ideas and to work on common goals of assisting students’ to select career opportunities in the area of Fire Protection Engineering.

  2. Member Participation-

    1. The chapter must focus on developing the chapter leaders of the future. If new individuals do not step up to start the process of developing new leadership, the future of the chapter is in question.

    2. We must strive to get participation in chapter meetings and events by those on the mailing list and guests. During 2015 the average attendance to our chapter meetings has declined to point where it is questionable if future meetings will be supported. To gain more participation we must have more member interest and participation in supporting the chapter and its basic function of providing technical meetings that will inform and educate members in the area of fire protection technology. Members must provide meeting topics and possibly act as meeting speakers. With the help and input of chapter members we will try to arrange interesting chapter meetings including arranging joint meetings with other groups, and try to get chapter members to participate on the Program Committee. This committee is charged in assisting to identify and arrange for meeting presentations and topics. Please consider working on this committee.

    3. We also must strive to get all involved with chapter committees and in other ways to assist in the workings of the chapter. Without the membership involvement with committees and in assisting with the normal operation of the chapter, the future of the chapter will be severely affected.

  3. Diversity in Membership – The Chapter must look to open lines of communication and cooperation with other professional groups and all local municipal groups involved with fire protection engineering and fire safety and prevention. We must push to be the leaders in our community when it comes to Fire Protection Engineering and Fire Safety and Prevention to again make our group the “Focal Point for Fire Protection and Fire Prevention” in the Mid-South. We will try and develop relationships with the local fire departments, universities and corporations.

  4. Educational and Professional Growth Opportunities – The Chapter must be a mechanism of providing educational and professional growth opportunities to not only chapter members but to all those involved with Fire Protection Engineering and Fire Safety and Prevention in the local community. As always we will need the assistance of the chapter membership and ask all to consider participating in the Seminar Committee.

  5. Community Service - The Chapter should strive to develop a local community service program related to fire prevention. The primary reason would be to benefit the community in some manner related to fire prevention. But this will also benefit the chapter by possibly making other individuals aware of the chapter thereby growing the chapter membership.


    This is the completion of the Presidents Report for 2015


    Respectively submitted by Jerry Vuoso, President, Mid-South Chapter of the SFPE


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