Author(s): James Pauley. Published on September 1, 2016.

Commitment & Passion

A note of thanks to NFPA's Board of Directors


AS SUMMER COMES TO A CLOSE, it is a busy time here at NFPA. We are coming off of a great Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, the new 2017 NEC® is on the street, and we continue to have a positive impact on fire, electrical, and life safety across the globe. As I sat down to write this column, it dawned on me that there is one very critical aspect of NFPA that I have not talked about before—our Board of Directors.

As you are aware, we have a board made up of volunteers who come from a cross section of our stakeholder base. From CEOs to fire chiefs to enforcers to engineers to firefighters and a host of other disciplines, our board is a collection of dedicated individuals who share a common passion: advancing the NFPA mission.

Throughout my career I have served on many boards and with a lot of great people. But I have never been involved with a board that is as passionate and dedicated as our board at NFPA. Every time the board comes together, members are focused on not what is best for their particular industry or segment, but rather on what is best for NFPA, our stakeholders, and the advancement of our mission. It’s an incredible thing to watch.

Board members lend their expertise and wisdom at every turn and act as a sounding board for our direction and initiatives. As we developed and rolled out our new strategy over the last 18 months, the board was there each step of the way. They asked the critical questions, provided guidance, and ultimately became part of the messaging of our strategic direction.

The working relationship between the board and NFPA staff is also unlike any I’ve seen. Every board member is approachable by anyone at any level of our organization. They listen and they offer perspective. The open dialogue that occurs is critical to our success and the envy of many other associations.

At our June conference, the membership elected three new Board members: Teresa Deloach Reed, chief of the Oakland (California) Fire Department; Stacy Welch, senior director at Marriott International; and Hatem Kheir, general manager of the Egypt-based Kheir Group. As representatives of the fire service, the large user community, and international fire protection engineering, they reflect the impressive breadth of what NFPA does. Each brings great experience and insight that will complement our existing board composition.

100%NFPA Board of Directors

NFPA's 2016 Board of Directors.

I would be remiss in talking about commitment if I didn’t mention the great contribution Ernest Grant has made over the last two years as chair of the Board. Ernest has been a staunch supporter of NFPA—you can see this firsthand in the video of the speech he delivered at C&E in June, and his wise counsel to the organization is greatly appreciated.

To the NFPA Board: Thank you for your time, your dedication, and your wisdom. The entirety of NFPA benefits from your contribution.