In honor of the late Philip J. DiNenno, the highly regarded former CEO of
Hughes Associates who passed away in 2013, NFPA has established the DiNenno Prize to recognize significant technical developments that enhance fire safety.
In addition to honoring Mr. DiNenno's memory, the DiNenno Prize will encourage and recognize significant technical developments that have an impact on public safety, including building, fire, and electrical safety. A prize committee will consider nominations submitted from around the world.
The development of oxygen consumption calorimetry
Dr. William Parker of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) was awarded the 2016 Philip J. DiNenno Prize for developing the oxygen consumption calorimetry, now a foundation of modern quantitative fire protection engineering.
Oxygen consumption calorimetry determines the heat release rate of a fire by measuring the rate at which oxygen is consumed. It is often used to evaluate the fire safety of materials and assemblies, making it a crucial element of modern fire testing methods.
In 1974, while working as a research associate at Underwriters Laboratory, Parker observed that the burning rate of a Steiner tunnel sample was proportional to the oxygen depletion percentage in the exhaust. He determined the heat release rate by recognizing the constancy of heat release per unit of oxygen consumed and published his findings in 1977. Parker worked with Dr. Clayton Huggett, a now deceased colleague, who in 1979 first submitted the journal paper that provided the scientific basis for the constancy of heat release per unit of oxygen consumed as a basis for calorimetry. Their efforts provided a means for measuring the heat release rate of a fire, allowing fire research to move forward with confidence.
About Philip J. DiNenno
The DiNenno Prize is a memorial to Philip J. DiNenno (1953-2013) to assure that his contributions to fire safety will be remembered. The DiNenno Prize is given by the National Fire Protection Association, beginning in 2015, to recognize an important innovation that has had a significant impact on public safety (building, fire, and electrical). The DiNenno Prize is the “Nobel Prize of public safety”. The DiNenno Prize consists of a Diploma and Medal presented to each winner as well as a significant monetary award funded by an endowment. The Prize is presented at the NFPA Annual Meeting, where those being recognized for the innovation, are invited to present a plenary lecture on the Prize winning innovation. Nominations for the DiNenno Prize are by invitation only by highly regarded institutions and experts selected by the Prize Selection Committee.
Philip J. DiNenno's long professional history with NFPA:
- Phil DiNenno was a member of the NFPA Board of Directors at the time of his death.
- Served on NFPA’s Standards Council from 1998-2007 and was Chair from 2002-2007.
- Served on many NFPA Technical Committees, including Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems, Merchant Vessels, Water Mist Fire Suppression Systems, Halon Alternative Protection Options, Fire Investigations, and Fire Tests.
- Received NFPA's Paul C. Lamb Award in 2011 in recognition of his volunteer spirit, leadership skills, tact and diplomacy, and dedication.
- Received NFPA's Standards Medal in 2013 for his outstanding contributions to fire safety and the development of codes and standards
Phil was best known as the founding editor of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (1st Edition 1988), which he edited through four editions. He conceived the handbook when he was in his early 30’s as a means for transforming Fire Protection Engineering into a true science-based engineering discipline. The Handbook has come to define the profession. He served SFPE in many roles including President. He was awarded numerous awards by SFPE, including SFPE’s highest honor, the Guise Medal.
Phil joined Hughes Associates (HAI) in 1985, became Vice President in 1992, and was President/CEO from 1996 until the time of his death. He provided technical leadership throughout his career at HAI. It could be said that growing HAI according to his vision was Phil’s primary means of transforming the profession. As President he transformed HAI from a small, highly regarded fire science and engineering firm into a highly respected, full service fire protection engineering firm with an international footprint. Phil made a conscious decision to further the profession of FPE through commitment of HAI’s resources to SFPE and NFPA.
DiNenno Prize Selection Committee
The Selection Committee for the DiNenno Prize includes:
- Chris Dubay, NFPA
- Craig Beyler, Jensen Hughes
- Margaret McNamee, SP Swedish National Technical Research Institute
- Peter Johnson, Arup
- Paul Croce, Factory Mutual Emeritus
DiNenno Prize Fund Donors
- National Fire Protection Association
- JensenHughes, Inc.
- Linda DiNenno
- Craig Beyler
- Eric Rosenbaum
- Wayne Moore
- Joseph Scheffey
- Peter Mogk
- Rodger Reiswig
- Scott Chong
- Charles and Marie DiNenno Burton
- Dan Gottuk
- Kathleen Almand
- Fred Leber
- Nestor Iwankiw
- William Wayman
- Kathleen Deck