What a year was 2021.
What started as hope for a 'return to normal' felt more like a ramped-up version of 2020.
I'm not even going to pretend I'm qualified to speak on world events, but I can say with certainty that our fire protection industry is seeing a great degree of change, and it is happening quickly. Many consultants and contractors I speak with talk about a need for talent - and I only see that growing once the 'Great Resignation' takes place in the coming 2-5 years and many of the remaining Baby Boomers see their retirement come to fruition.
I've also seen a rapid adaptation to new technology, and somewhat of a willingness to consider new approaches to where and how we work that I wouldn't have thought possible just a few years ago. Remote work is here, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.
What does that mean for collaborative-intensive environments like design? What does that mean for our training processes that have relied on one-on-one, side-by-side mentoring for so long? What if we can't just overhear the conversations from the experienced mentor in the next cube?
The truth is our industry needs to recruit, empower, and develop new talent.
If we don't, I could see a lot of overburdened professionals, sloppy and under-baked work, and a real stress on jurisdictional authorities to police designs, installations, and building upkeep.
However, I do think we are up for the challenge.
I think we, as an industry, are recognizing that major change needs to happen and we need to support our people to make great work happen in a compressed timeframe like we've never had to do before.
That's the big focus for us at MeyerFire this year.
How do we empower and radically support the professionals in our industry - to keep up with the increasing demand - actually improve quality - and develop new talent all at the same time?
It is possible.
Just three examples on how we're working on this include the new MeyerFire University, which is constantly expanding with new content. I'm helping support with NFSA's 3rd Edition of the Layout, Detail, and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler System book that has long been a staple reference for designers and engineers in suppression, which will soon be expanded with many new visuals. The last I'll just tease - and say there's some great potential for a community-driven work that details how our systems are actually put together. More on that to come in the next few months.
I look forward to working with you and the team in the coming year to help drive the industry in the right direction and empower the pros that make great work happen.
If you have ideas - concepts - questions - need support - I'm always available at email@example.com.
Thanks for being part of the platform, and I hope your new year is off to a great start! We look forward to what's in store around here.
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Joe Meyer, PE, is a Fire Protection Engineer out of St. Louis, Missouri who writes & develops resources for Fire Protection Professionals. See bio here: About