New NFPA leader 'not a stranger' to organization

Jim Pauley, NFPA’s new president, has long history with group as member, volunteer, technical committee member
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Friday, July 11, 2014

QUINCY, Mass.—Jim Pauley became the new president of the National Fire Protection Association on July 1, but he’s already familiar to many at the organization.

“The good news for me is that, although I’m new to this chair, I’m not a stranger to NFPA at all,” Pauley told Security Systems News. “I’ve been actually involved with NFPA for 20-plus years. I’ve been a member, a volunteer, a technical committee member and a chairman … of the standards council. So I’ve really gotten to see NFPA from the side of our constituents and members, and that gives me a great perspective coming into this role.”

Pauley, who previously was Schneider Electric’s SVP of external affairs and government relations, succeeds former president James Shannon, who retired in June after holding the post for 12 years. Shannon had been with the NFPA for 23 years.

Pauley said he is “following in a big set of footsteps. … Jim has done a tremendous job during his tenure.”

Pauley started at Schneider Electric in 1985. He has served in several codes- and standards-related activities with the American National Standards Institute, NFPA and for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Pauley described NFPA’s codes and standards development process as “backbone of what we do here.” And he said that NFPA staff “would tell you I’ve hit the ground running at least on the codes and standards aspect.” He said that “not trying to have to understand what NFPA does from scratch, but really knowing about how codes and standards work, how they’re used and what’s done,” is a big advantage in his new job.

He also noted that his previous experience includes everything “from product management, to product marketing, to applications, to government affairs, to ultimately assembling an overall government affairs and advocacy strategy for [Schneider Electric].” Being on the senior management team of a large corporation has given him “a good business sense overall,” Pauley said.

As NFPA president, he said, “my objective is to blend that business experience, along with that backbone in codes and standards, and utilize that to continue to push our mission forward.”

NFPA honored Pauley’s predecessor, Shannon, at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in June with the first James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal. Among the efforts championed by Shannon was NFPA’s work to advocate for mandating home fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes, to enhance safety for home residents and firefighters.

Pauley said he also will be a strong advocate for sprinklers. “We’re certainly going to continue our initiatives in that home fire sprinkler space full speed ahead,” he said.

He also said another key goal is protecting copyrights for NFPA-developed codes and standards. “So you’re going to continue to see us defending the codes and standards system and making sure we’re in a position that, whether it’s us or any other standards developer, appropriate copyright can be maintained,” he told SSN.

Last summer, NFPA and two other standards development organizations (SDOs)—ASTM International and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, filed a lawsuit to stop an organization called Public.Resource.org, from allegedly copying and uploading standards developed by NFPA and other SDOs without their permission.

NFPA said that it and other SDOs underwrite “the substantial costs of developing standards … by relying on revenues from the sales and licensing of our copyrighted standards. Copyright protection provides a revenue stream that allows NFPA to develop codes and standards with independence and effectiveness and to provide both the private sector and governments with the standards they need to keep the U.S safe and strong.”

Another initiative that Pauley said the NFPA will concentrate on is wildfires. That issue, he said, is “another important one that is started and we’re going to continue to do lot of emphasis on.”

With changing weather patterns, he said, “there used to be a fire season, but now all 12 months make up the season. We don’t really have this seasonal aspect. It’s something we have to be concerned with on a continual basis.”