Florida ' top tech' team takes top honors at NFSA show

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, July 1, 2007

LAS VEGAS--A team of techs from Florida won the Top Tech Contest at the 2007 National Fire Sprinkler Association's annual convention and exposition, which took place here May 3-5. "Florida is a large market and the jobs are very competitive, so we have extremely good design technicians down here," said David Bowman NFSA regional director for Florida.
"Florida got bragging rights for this year, but all of the teams were really good," he added.
The Florida team and the 11 other four-person teams from the U.S. and Canada were created from competitions that were held in each region earlier this year. Winning teams in each region received expenses-paid trips to the conference.
And the Top Techs from Florida received a monetary award for taking first place.
Did they spend their winnings at the tables in Vegas? "I'm sure they did," Bowman said.
Overall, this year's conference was the "largest ever with most diverse workshop offerings," said David Vandeyar, NFSA director of communications.
More than 1,500 people and 120 exhibitors attended the event. In order to attract "second and third-tier managers" as well as company owners and chief executives, the NFSA offered special rates for contract management personnel. The Vegas locale was very popular, Vandeyar said, so the NFSA will consider coming back to Vegas again soon.
As he did last year, NFSA president John Viniello reported on the state of the sprinkler industry as part of his address to attendees.
The picture was rosy in 2006 and things looked equally good this year.
A recent downturn in the construction market is offset by other good news in the industry, he said.
"Even though the residential and commercial market may go flat," he said, "the sprinkler industry is doing incredibly well and we attribute that to the developing retrofit market."