Jan 25, 2021
Jonathan Bernal is a recent graduate from the Oklahoma State University fire protection and safety engineering technology program. In this episode, we talk about Jonathan’s fascinating career and what it’s like to graduate during a pandemic. Tune in for networking and professional development tips to stay competitive in the current climate.
How did you find fire safety? 2:15
Would you speak about your time at Oklahoma State attaining the fire protection and safety engineering technology (FPSET) degree? 9:35
What was one of your favorite courses during your time at OSU? 13:25
How have you been involved with professional societies? 17:24
Would you speak about the new role you have accepted? 32:45
What are you plans for the future? 34:30
What piece of advice would you have for others who are graduating college right now? 39:10
What would you recommend as a resource for professionals? 46:10
Hello, all welcome to the show. I'm Gus Gagliardi, and this is fire code tech on fire code tech. We interview fire protection professionals from all different careers and backgrounds in order to provide insight and a resource for those in the field. My goal is to help you become a more informed fire protection.
Professional fire code tech has interviews with engineers and researchers, fire marshals, and insurance professionals, and highlights topics like codes and standards, engineering systems, professional development, and trending topics in the industry. So if you're someone who wants to know more about fire protection or the fascinating stories of those who are in the field, you're in the right place.
Welcome to episode 21 of fire code tech. On today's episode, we have Jonathan burn. Jonathan is a student who just graduated during the pandemic. On this episode of fire code tech, we get into Jonathan's fascinating career, all the different roles he has had leading up to his graduation. And some of the interesting topics involved with going through the end of your college experience in the pandemic.
I know you might be thinking what could a college kid have to teach me or. Can a recent graduate have in his bag of tricks that I don't know, but I would invite you to listen to the episode because I think Jonathan's really gonna give you a surprise. Although Jonathan just graduated in December. He's had no list than five roles in which his duties involved, fire protection and life safety.
We go over some great professional development tips and Jonathan lets us know how you can stay competitive in the global pandemic in job seeking. Don't forget to subscribe. So you never miss an episode. Also check us out on YouTube. I'm gonna start. Adding clips. So you can get a taste of the episodes and smaller doses.
If that's something you're into and follow us on social media. So you can see all the resources that we post let's dive in. Well, Jonathan, thank you for coming on the show. Welcome to fire code tech. Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I'm I'm really excited, really excited that we were we're able to do this.
Yeah, me too. Me too. So yeah, I just wanted to get things kicked off with, uh, telling people a little bit about your background and, and how you found at fire safety. Absolutely. So to me, the way I first first see it is, uh, I started off as a volunteer firefighter in, uh, long island, New York. And, you know, when, when he joined the volunteer fire department, they're required to go to the fire academy.
So I went and I didn't really know what to expect. You know, I, I didn't have anyone in my family who's ever been in, you know, anything fire related. So I went to the academy and I actually got to learn about fire science. And that's what initially I want to say sparked my interest into the science of fire, the fire phenomenon.
And I did that for, you know, I did the volunteer fire department thing for about three years. And eventually what happened was. I kept waking up three o'clock in the morning to false alarm, you know, especially in the volunteer environment, you know, our house, particularly, we didn't really have like a shift.
So it's like I'm leaving my house at three o'clock in the morning to rush to the firehouse, to get changed, to rush to a false alarm. And eventually I told myself, I was like, What is causing these alarms? So I went on Craigslist. I looked for a job opening. Um, I just typed in fire alarm and I sent my resume to two places and one place called me back and was like, yeah, we'll hire you.
And then eventually after I got involved with fire alarm systems, I eventually wanted to start getting more, uh, more involved and I just wanted to do more. I wanted to get more involved into the. The engineering side. So that's eventually what led me to. Seeking a program that had all those things. That's fascinating, Jonathan.
Yeah. You know what? I got a funny story about how we met. Um, I remember, uh, we were, I was at a joint S F P E meeting. For, uh, they were giving out awards for the students and I, I was part of the professional chapter and I was up at Oklahoma state. You, uh, you had won one of the awards for, uh, the scholarships that we were giving out that year.
yeah, I remember. I remember. Yeah, everybody was, you know, asked to, to say a couple words and, you know, basically. You know, there was somebody who came up before you and they maybe had like a, like a one or two minutes of exposition and talking about stuff. And then, um, you came up and you got to speak about your background in New York.
And your, you know, time as a fire alarm technician, and I was just blown away. And you were, and you were dressed to the nines. You were dressed up in a suit and I was like, man, this guy has got it going on. He is not some, uh, you know, uh, teenager who's struggling to, to find himself. In, uh, you know, as you were accepting this award.
And so like immediately I was impressed with you. And, and really I told that story, uh, to say, you know, I'd love to hear more about, you know, your, your fire alarm technician days, because I know that you're, uh, selling yourself short by just saying, you know, you got involved. You got involved in fire alarm technician stuff.
And then, you know, you wanted to learn more about, you know, how systems can get an education. You know, you had a very, uh, unique, um, intro into your career. So yeah, I'd love to hear more about your time in New York. Yeah, I appreciate that. I appreciate, I remember that event. Exactly. Um, , you know, it was my first semester, I think at OSU, it was my first year at OSU and, you know, I had, I was told I was gonna win the award.
So I had emailed, uh, Dr. Charter, Virginia charter, and I was like, Hey. Um, am I supposed to do like a PowerPoint? Cause to me that that was a standard, you know, anytime you give her presentations, like PowerPoint, PowerPoint, PowerPoint. And she was like, yeah, go for it. and I felt so bad cuz like the other recipients, like didn't do a PowerPoint and uh, I didn't want to do it.
And she was like, just do it anyways. But yeah, definitely. So, uh, when I started off as a fire alarm technician, uh, I started off as a help. You know, making $10 an hour and just really learning as much as I could. And between working for one company called New York city alarms as a helper doing $10 an hour.
Within my first year, I had switched to a few different comp, uh, for just a few different reasons. Eventually I aligned at DJ security systems and within my first year I actually doubled my salary. I went from $10 an hour to making $20 an hour. I think a lot of that just, you know, it is not really to brag, but I think it just shows the, the promise and kind of the vision that company had for me, you know, within six to eight months of starting off as a fire alarm helper.
I became a service technician. Uh, I was doing service calls on my own. I was running teams of fire alarm inspections, and, you know, I was getting company vehicles. They were giving me company phones. You know, I felt like I was getting a lot of responsibility, uh, for someone who was just fairly, very new to the industry and my view, I have no electrical trade school experience.
So anything electronics wise is very, very much limited to my low voltage, uh, fire alarm experience. Anything I know about electronics, it has, you know, I learned on the job. I, I didn't go to trade school or anything. I worked on huge projects, you know, I worked on in, uh, projects at the Lincoln center. Um, I did there's this one building in times square, where they house, um, homeless teenagers.
And it's three buildings with one fire alarm command system in one of the buildings. So, you know, it's kind of a challenge to try to do an inspection like that because you're controlling three buildings simultaneously at the same time on one panel. So, you know, it, it, it definitely was challenging, but I would definitely say my boss threw me to the wolves and I was lucky enough to come out surviving.
And, um, that's kind of, you know, I I'd say the gist of the fire alarm experience. Sure. That's awesome. That's extremely compelling. You, you know, hearing you talk about your, your time in, in New York and, uh, yeah, I was just, uh, immediately very impressed with you. And I was like, you know, Jonathan did it exactly the right way and I didn't think it was strange or awkward at the time at all.
I just had the thought, I was like, Man, this is kind of like what more I was expecting. And, you know, there was no like strict guidelines that we gave people for, you know, accepting the reward or whatever, but right. No, I thought you just knocked it out of the park and you immediately made a indelible mark on my mind about your, uh, your character and, uh, your ability.
So I was thinking that that was, uh, I appreciate that definitely the right choice. So thank you so much. Thank for those who don't. About, you know, where you're at in your career. And I just wanted to talk a little bit about your time at, at Oklahoma state in the fire protection and safety technology program and, um, give people a sense of, uh, you know, your time at OSU.
Yeah, absolutely. Um, well, I will tell you this, uh, in high school, I was not the student I am today. . Um, and that being said, when I came back to college at the age of 26, I wanted to kind of make up for that. So I was never involved in like student government, student organizations, any clubs at school, you know, I did sports, but you know, it's not the same.
And well, that was one big thing, you know, especially when I came back to school and I was at OSU, I got heavily involved in student organizations. I think like my first semester there. I was in like eight different organizations, um, outside of the benefit of getting free food, uh, when you attend the meetings, , you know, I just wanted to get involved.
I wanted to see, you know, what, what organizations I clicked with, you know, you know, what I thought was gonna be best re professionally and socially. Um, so I got very involved, uh, at OSU. Um, you know, I got to. Get involved with administration and making policy changes, uh, which I was happy about. But you know, other than that, I mean, it's, it's, that's one thing about going to school at OSU is I'd say the degree in engineering is very breathable.
You can like do engineering. And still have a life, you know, it's, uh, you know, which I wouldn't say it's always the case for some other schools. So, you know, for those who aren't, you know, particularly familiar, you know, the fire protection program, the first, I'd say the first two years, freshman, sophomore, It's very hands on, big picture oriented.
Then you go on to your junior, senior year and it's more, it's more detailed and technical. Um, and I definitely feel like the pedigree of the, of the degree has gone up since I arrived. I mean, almost all the faculty except one currently have their PhD. And that one that doesn't is, you know, she's on her way to, to.
To, to get her PhD now. So, you know, I think definitely the pedigree that degree has gone up, um, in the past, you know, four, uh, short few years. Yeah, definitely. It seems like, uh, OSU recently has taken, uh, extra initiative to, um, make the degree more technically sound, um, kind of rounded out for the, uh, for industry.
I know that they. Conversation with industry stakeholders to make sure that we're providing the, the right kind of classwork and education and practical knowledge that you know is what these employers are looking for. So, yeah, I know that when I was in school, um, they didn't require. Organic chemistry.
But I remember that as like, as I was getting towards the end of my degree plan, I know that they had, uh, made some changes to adding organic chemistry and, uh, like, um, some higher, uh, engineering, math as well. So it seems like they are, you know, trying to make the degree more technically sound. I agree with you in that regard.
So that's awesome. Yeah. I, uh, I'm a big fan of the okay. State program. So, yeah, I just like talking with you about that, but no, no gun to you on this one, but , uh, I just wanted to, you know, get a sense of, you know, everybody kind of has a class or a subject that they're more drawn to. I mean, for me, I really enjoyed sprinklers and in hydraulics that for my time at okay state.
But yeah, I just wanted to, to get a sense of. For where you are now and for where you wanna go, you know, what kind of coursework did you enjoy when you were at OSU or, you know, what was one of the, the subjects that you were most interested in? Definitely, definitely. Um, top of the head, I'm going to have to say fire dynamics.
Uh, just to me, it was like the most science and math based class. It just made the most sense to me. And I think for me, Like when I first got into to engineering, I was like, well, I, you know, I wanna wanna learn, like, what are the equations of, uh, you know, behind fire? Cause it's such a phenomenon, you know, and for me that, that's what interested me, it, you know, understanding the units, uh, behind the energy, you know, behind energy and fire.
But you know, at the same time, a lot of my classmates did not enjoy fire dynamics as much as I did. Uh . Which was a little unfortunate for sure. Yeah, that's gotta be one of the, one of the hardest class in the, in the degree, without a doubt. I know that as far as just, uh, the calculations involved and, uh, there's a lot of, you know, vocabulary and it's, it's pretty intense one, but that's pretty neat that you like that, you know, uh, looking back on, uh, my time at Oklahoma state and just, um, have taken and passed the professional in engineering exam in.
Believe it was, uh, 2019, but there was a lot. Yeah, thank you. There's a lot of questions that, uh, pertain to fire dynamics in the, in the, uh, fire protection engineering exam, I'd say it was like pretty substantial portion of the exam, like, like 20 plus percent or, you know, were these fire phenomenon, fire dynamics question.
So that's definitely a good one to be interested in. Yeah, absolutely. And I. One more that I could think of. You know, when I first got there and I took, um, F P S T 30 13, which is, you know, fire alarms and sprinkler and, you know, fire and Sprinklr alarms. And in that class, you get to be so hands on with the stand pipe systems and as a ex fire alarm technician, the biggest thing I have ever been scared of while doing inspection.
Is tripping the sprinkler system to the point where like it had to be reset, you know, and the fact that I was able to put my hands on a stand pipe, taken apart, reset the valve, you know, when it comes to the drive, the drive valves to me, that that was, and you know, to me, my money, my money felt great.
Putting it into the program. As soon as I was able to learn about doing that. I think that for you. Any individual getting involved in fire protection technology, you know, like the technology or the system side of things. It's, it's a lot to, to take in for, you know, to understand the components of a we pipe, sprinkler valve, or the components of a, you know, dry pipe, deluge pre-action systems.
And so. To have that lab where you can put your hands on the nuts and bolts of it. I, yeah, I worked for a time at a, uh, fire suppression contracting. Company. And yeah, I could see immediately that that heads up knowledge of the system and its component architecture was, uh, invaluable. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it, it, it brings you to asks, you know, when you're doing an onsite inspection, how familiar are you with these components that you can actually.
Point out something that's not to be the way it's supposed to be, you know? And I think that class definitely helps with that, for sure. With that adapt. So you spoke a little bit about, um, these professional organizations and how you got involved when you, um, got to okay. State, but. Yeah, I just wanted to hear a little bit more about your, um, involvement with professional societies.
Would you tell me a little bit about that? Absolutely. So when I first got to OSU outside of S F P E uh, the first organization I really got involved with was ship, which is a society of Hispanic professional engineer. And within my first month there, I became their public relations officer. And, you know, in the past three years, I've attended two of their national conferences to their regional conferences.
Um, in my involvement, I made internal bylaw restructuring. I did corporate outreach, corporate fundraising. And even after I wasn't in the exec position anymore, I helped mentor the other exec officers, um, up until now, now that I'm graduat. Um, which that, that organization got me involved with a lot more policy and administration stuff when it came to the college of engineer technology, because that position put me into.
um, the colleges, diversity equity and inclusion, um, council, and which is now the Dean's student advisory board. So within that I help foster the relationships be, um, relationships and events between like ship, um, AE, which is a. Female based engineering organization and then NSBE, which is the national society, black engineers.
Um, so I helped, you know, foster those relationships, get them to do events with each other. And then I also was a master of ceremonies for their annual seat, um, seat diversity award banquet. I didn't even know this was a thing, but, you know, just in, throughout my own, like, you know, fruition of like always wanting to work hard and putting 100%, um, I actually got to win the seat diversity student of the year award my first year there.
So I was pretty, pretty, pretty excited about that. Um, I didn't even know that was an award I remember going. Uh, going to the award ceremony and not winning the ship member of the year award. And I was like, really? I put in so much work. I was, I was kind of upset. It was my best friend. I wanted his name's Daniel
I was kind upset. And then the next, the next award is like the bigger award, like, and now for the C year award time. And I was like, oh, okay. Okay. I won something. that's impress. Yeah. And, um, you know, I also got involved with the seat ambassadors. So if anyone listening doesn't know what seat is, it's an acronym for the college of engineer, architecture and technology.
So I would give tours like perfect students, academic and athletic talent donors. And then, um, you know, eventually I became, I became the president for S F P E, and I was able to organize, I think the largest today. SPE and as SS E networking, social we've ever had. So, you know, I was pretty, um, was pretty excited about that.
That's awesome. That's such a good experience that you got to be, you know, not on top of, I mean, not to mention the, you know, educational, but that you took and seized these extracurricular opportunities. You know, I know that, uh, Just keeping up with, um, education can be enough trouble at times. So that's pretty incredible that you , it's pretty incredible that you, um, filled your time with all these excellent extracurricular activities and, you know, professional societies that I'm sure are gonna serve you for the rest of your career.
I appreciate that. Thank you. That's pretty incredible. So yet, so. As a transition, you know, just to highlight more of your, your time at OSU and kind of the, um, your career. I wanted to talk about, uh, your internships and some of the different, um, roles that you had over the summers, um, from your time at O.
Okay. Yeah, definitely. Um, well, before OSU, I, I had two internships. Um, I had one with Brook Haven national lab through the department of energy, and then I interned for Jens and Hughes. And then during my time at OSU, I interned for Cincinnati insurance based out of, uh, Ohio. And we Jenny Elzer, which is a mainly an architecture engineering firm who recently started the fire protection engineering division.
And I would say, you know, my biggest project at Cincinnati was they, you know, my, what I was assigned to. um, I was assigned to the lost control department, but I was their first non lost control intern. Um, so within the loss control department, I'd say like on a pecking order, there's loss control and then above it, there's a technical specialist unit.
And that was a unit that I was primarily interning for. And, uh, what they did was they had purchased. And I'm not sure if you're familiar with this program. Uh, Tyco. Yeah. Yeah. I, I think, I, I think I'm aware of, uh, spring calc. Okay. So they, they bought this program and what my job for the summer was. To develop a training program.
So then I could, you know, so then they could then use it and distribute it. So what I did was I traveled to five different cities to meet with five, five different, um, technical specialists. And I made the, I made the training program and I would train it to them on the spot. And then I would kind of see, you know, like, you know, sometimes, you know, it's kind of like, um, doing calculus.
When you do a calculus, sometimes you skip the step to algebra, right. Um, you know, just cuz you know, the algebra, you don't, you know, you know, you already know that. Practices a plus B squared is, you know, a square plus two B plus B squared, right? Like you can skip all those intermediate steps. And sometimes, you know, when, when you're making a training program, that's what I was doing.
So when I would go out and meet with these people, I was making sure that I wasn't skipping any steps that they understood how to use the program, um, effectively. And then they would use that program to analyze, uh, pipe schedule systems. Because a lot of the, a lot of the systems that they insured were old pipe scheduled systems that were in occupancies that were not supposed to be having pipe scheduled systems.
If you get what I'm saying. Um, yeah, so like warehouses with pipe schedule systems and you know, things like that. Um, so I created that training program for them. And then with WG, I would say that was my hardest internship I've ever. I think part of that has to do with my boss, from Jen and Hughes was the one who recruited me for w and his name.
Who's been a great mentor ever since he gave me a lot of challenging projects. And I think, you know, just cuz he trusted me to do them and you know, I got to work on like safety designs. Um, Uh, egress and occupa load calculations when I haven't even taken life safety yet. That was the crazy part for me.
um, I worked on egress planning for like a mass timber residence. Uh, I worked on federal facilities. I designed a firearm system by myself, which was the hard part was they didn't have like a template at that time for, for CAD work. So it was like I was making all those symbols from scratch. And, um, so it was pretty interesting internships that I feel really got me prepared.
Um, you know, for, you know, for when I'm about to start working and hopefully the next month or so, man, that's incredible. You have, uh, really run the, the gambit of, uh, different roles that you not only got to work for. Um, a pretty, pretty big, uh, Um, architecture and engineering firm, a couple, I mean, Jensen Hughes.
I mean, they gotta be the biggest, uh, The biggest name in the game when it comes to just fire protection in the United States, they are, uh, absolute Titan. Oh yeah. W J E I mean, there's some definite members in that company that they are heavily involved in like S F, P E and N F P, and so well connected people as well there.
So that's pretty incredible. I liked, uh, when you were talking about. Analyzing the pipe schedule systems because, uh, you know, yeah. I mean, you run into these systems and they can be grandfathered in and you wonder how, how well pipe schedule really does cuz you're so used to seeing everything hydraulically calculated these days.
Right? Um, yeah. Interesting. Uh, design, uh, challenge I ran into recently was, uh, you know, somebody was, uh, a client was. Wanted us to analyze the possibility of, um, installing a, uh, new, uh, pipe schedule, um, system for a new facility, which is something that we would, uh, you know, generally never even think of as a option.
We're so used to doing hydraulic because of the competitiveness of the, you know, pipe sizing and valve sizing and all that. Yeah. But, uh, yeah, I don't know. I think so. I think it's an interesting topic you bring up and that's pretty incredible that you got to man. You just had a, really a wide range of experiences.
That's awesome. Thank you. Thank you. And one, one of the things with that was, you know, we were trying to use that program to analyze, to see is if we did, if we did have a pipe schedule system in place, could we replace the K 5.6? Uh, with the next one. What's the next, what's the next 8.6 K eight. Yeah. K 8.0.
So the, you know, the issue is no 5.6 is, are on half inch, right on a half inched. So the idea was to cap it. Install a mechanical T right next to it, and then put a three quarter inch. Hmm. And you know, that, that was one of the things that we trying to see if, if, if it still met, the hydraulic require, you know, the, you know, the math, uh, if it's still, you know, if it's still provided enough protection, if we did that.
So that, that was one of the big things that they were working. That's really interesting. Yep. I have a, I still have a big, um, uh, passion for the hydraulic side of things and, and just fire suppression in general. So I think that's fascinating. I wanted to get into a little bit about, you know, um, the next chapter and, um, what you see.
What you see in your future? I understand that you've, uh, accepted a role. Um, and yeah, and those who don't, who, who don't know, I, we kind of danced around it, but yeah, you just, uh, graduated. I mean, um, when we're recording this, it's been, it's been mere hours from when you, uh, attended your virtual graduation.
I didn't even get. To ask you if you had got to virtually walk across the stage or how they did that. Yeah. I, I, I, uh, I virtually walked from my bedroom to my living room.
man, the pandemics. What a bummer. You've been working so hard for this moment. I know. Oh man. It's it's um, it's been a little disappointing. What was nice is the fire protection, uh, fire protection, safety engineer, technology department. They put together their own graduation before, before Thanksgiving break.
And, you know, they had like a little something with all the graduates, so it was still nice. That's nice. That's that's good. They did that, but yeah. So I just wanna make sure we said that for sure. Cuz that's awesome. And a, in a big accomplishment, but yeah, I wanted to get into a little. Of, um, the next chapter, which is, uh, the position you recently accepted in Las Vegas.
Would you mind speaking about that? Yeah, absolutely. So I'll be working for TURP consulting, um, based on the Las Vegas, when I position is a fire protection consultant and I plan to be primarily working on, uh, onsite inspections and fire alarm. That was, uh, that was the biggest thing that made me competitive.
For that job was my prior experience with fire alarm. That's fascinating. That's cool. That's exciting. Are you, uh, so you gotta be pretty stoked coming outta, coming outta school with the offer in hand and, and getting to move on and it feels great. And at the same time, you know, it's really a blessing at this, you know, where we're at in this country right now.
It's it feels really like a blessing because when it was. Prior to COVID. I had three job offers back home in New York. Wow. And I lost them all after COVID like, oh my gosh, all my communication, you know, there was just like, we don't have, you know, we don't have, we're not financially stable enough to, to ensure that this position's still gonna be here.
You know, you know, March to December, you know, I'm like at that time I was like, what? Eight, eight plus months from graduating. Wow. You know, so. It was, you know, it was definitely a shock to, to go from three to zero man, you know, and then I applied to a couple dozen companies and positions within the span of like a month and had maybe like a dozen interviews.
And I finally was able to lock down this position with TURP and I was happy. I was able to do it, you know, cause you know, I, to me, what what's important is like company culture, like company culture and work environment. I really feel like they have that. So, um, that, that's one thing I'm looking forward to about moving to Vegas.
Definitely, man, that's an incredible story about, uh, you know, I, I can't imagine a much stronger candidate for, uh, a job outta college, then somebody who's had three internships, uh, prior work. You know, two jobs before college in the industry, you know, or in the periphery of the industry that they're trying to get involved with.
And so, man, I can only imagine how, um, students yeah. Would maybe less experience are, you know, um, dealing with the pandemic right now and graduation that's uh, I know OSU is, you know, the fire protection safety technology program is usually really strong as far as job opportunity, uh, out. Out of school and, and having, you know, that, uh, ability to have multiple offers and, and that, so that's a really crazy story about, uh, what a shake up this year's been.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, yes. So it sounds like you're going to be getting into fire alarm work and some onsite inspection. And I bet you'll be getting to work on some pretty significant jobs in, in Las Vegas. I'm sure that will be some fascinating work that you get to be involved with. But, um, yeah, go ahead.
Yeah. I just wanted to say, I think that that was one of the things, you know, during my interview, like why Las Vegas? And I was like, well, do you see the type of buildings you have? Like, these are like one in a million buildings. Like each building is so like it's architecture designed just for them. Cause everybody wants to stand out.
You know, there's like no cookie cutter designs when it comes sometimes, you know, to the, to these hotels. And I think that's what makes it interesting. I want the challenge yeah, definitely the, uh, the type of buildings and, you know, I mean, people are pushing buildings, architecturally, and, you know, as far as fire protection and life safety goes to the limit.
Um, for what the building code is capable of providing. So I think you're going to get to be involved with some really unique and, um, big projects. It, I bet that'll be, um, awesome for you, but, uh, yeah, so I just wanted to, you know, talk about, we talked about, you know, where you are now. Yeah, I'm interested since you seem like an individual who is looking to progress and looking to push the needle as far as, you know, your career and your, and your, um, education and involvement.
Yeah. I just wanted to ask where you see yourself, you know, in the future, you know, two. Three five years down the line. I mean, I don't, I know you just graduated like hours from now but yeah, I just feel like you're the kind of guy who, who, uh, has a plan. So I'm just interested in, you know, kind of where you see your career going.
Yeah, absolutely. So obviously, PE license. You know, that's, that's definitely, I think that's an obvious, uh, an obvious thing to, you know, to be said, um, outside of that, you know, hopefully I can get more involved with NPA and S technical committees. Um, right now I am involved with a S S subcommittee, but, you know, it's for diversity.
So I would love to, you know, get more involved in the technical side of things. Um, and a big passion of mine is to make sure that I can continue to help mentoring someone else in the future. You know, throughout my whole fire protection education, I've had, you know, one significant person who's really mentored me the whole way.
And I just wanna be able to give back that same advice and experience it to, you know, if at least one person, but if not, you know, multiple and several people. So, you know, outside of, you know, mentorship, I would hopefully like to increase the awareness. Of the fire protection engineering industry. Yeah.
That's all great. That's all great stuff. You know? Um, the PE I'm sure. I, I didn't, uh know, have you, uh, taken your Fe or gotten into that business yet? Uh, I did. Yeah. I just paid for it a few weeks ago. I'm gonna take it in June, um, with a body of. He's graduating in industrial engineering and we're both gonna take the industrial engineering one together.
Cool. Yeah, that'll be good. That's the plan. yeah, that'll be good. It's best to get it knocked out of the way. Um, it'll be good for your first six months of your career. A good goal. But yeah, I might have some tips and tricks for you. Okay. Okay. on the back hat, but, but no, I mean, uh, other than setting a routine and trying to look at those courses, they, they make a lot of courses, um, for those, but yeah, I've found that it's hard to stay regimented.
you know, when you're trying to also get acclimated to mm. I mean, you've worked a, you've had a lot of different job opportunities and worked a lot, so I bet you won't ha have as much of a hard time acclimating as some fresh college grads do, um, out of, you know, just getting into the, the work schedule and that type of pacing, but yeah, it's definitely.
Definitely different, but I'll tell you what I know I left, like, you know, working at nine to five before I have not missed it so much, I have missed it so much. , you know, I personally think school is much, much harder than work, you know, like I have been looking forward to the day that I can just work, you know, you know, have my job and just work and do what I have to do and not have to focus about taking six different courses.
You know, all this other stuff I'm really, really looking forward to working out. Yeah. It's interesting because, uh, you know, it's a, it's definitely a different set of gears to be worried about exams. I feel like when you're studying or getting a degree, you always kind of had this feeling in the back of your head.
I should be studying right now or yeah. You know, like what, what homework? And I still will have test nightmares from every once in a while, but from, be like, be like, I didn't study for that physics test I'm but, uh, but yeah, that's awesome. I think it's, I mean, like, obviously there's plenty to do and plenty to be stressed about, but you know, I think that we're gonna.
Working a, in a, you know, an eight to five job is, is a less stressful it's, it's more of a routine you can get into and just, you know, go in, do good work, come home, kick the shoes off, you know, for somebody I love that you touched on that mentoring piece about, you know, what you wanna do with your career.
I think that's so important. It's, uh, I think that mentoring is, uh, is a big, you know, Moment and management and mentoring is a much as much a skill as doing the job is so I love that you touched on. As far as something you're looking to, um, progress in, in your career. I wanted to ask about, you know, what's a piece of advice that you might have for somebody at a similar stage in their career progression as you.
Yeah, definitely. So I think one thing that I used, the tactic that I used that kind of leverage some of the job opportunities was even though I was probably obviously looking for a full time position. I started off the conversation. When the conversation I started off the conversation, letting them know I would not be opposed to an internship.
And a lot of employers were really taking back by that. And you know, when they asked me why, I mean, I gave them my perspective. I said, well, if your company cannot financially take me on full time right now, at least hopefully they can take me on financially as an intern. And once they bounce back financially, I'm already there.
I can make that easier transition to go from an intern to a full-time employee versus, you know, continuing at, then looking for someone to come in full-time so, you know, definitely, you know, you. I, I use that as a leverage point. Um, I wouldn't definitely, you know, give, you know, tell people be flexible on locations, but be rigid in knowing what what's you're worth.
That was one thing I was very, I was very serious about, you know, don't, don't take a, a salary that you don't think you don't deserve. Yeah. I think that. That right now in the pandemic, it's, uh, important to be flexible and, you know, your approach. And I was helping, um, my sister-in-law she's in college right now.
Look for internships and, you know, casting a wide net, you know, and really exploring different options. And, you know, just people might. No, um, you know, getting into, you know, working full time that, uh, you know, if you just, because where you start out, my father always says where you start out is not where you end.
So I mean, getting your foot in the door as a professional. Is important. And, you know, just because maybe it's not the exact role or the exact town or the exact even industry that you expected yourself in, it's important to get experience and to, you know, you can leverage that, um, further down in your career.
Absolutely. And I think also using LinkedIn, you know, seeing if you know, someone who works there already and ask them, you know, ask them what. What their hiring process is like or what their work environment is like, you know, I definitely use LinkedIn a lot. Yeah. LinkedIn's a great tool. And I think that it doesn't, you know, uh, fire protection and life safety, the community is very tight knit mm-hmm so if you can develop, um, Uh, you know, profile and, you know, practice reaching out to people.
I know it's not something that's easy to do, but if you practice it, it's, uh, not a daunting task. And you know, what's the worst thing somebody's gonna do is not reply to you. I mean, that's probably the worst thing. Yep. Absolutely. I mean, you know, I remember, uh, that was like one of the first things I was doing.
I would, I, I would message random people and be like, Hey, do you wanna go get coffee? Tell me your story about, you know, how you got involved in the fire protection industry. And it would be, it would always blow people's mind, like. Who are you? yeah, I was like, I just wanna get some coffee what's up. yeah. I mean, that basically shows that you're like, you know, 20 years older in your career.
I mean, some people never obtain that ability to, um, cultivate an, a network or to have the foresight to, you know, Connections with people, you know, that you don't have in interest in, you know, needing something from them. I mean, I think that's, uh, it's definitely an art, you know, building relationships in.
And, um, trying to, you know, just connect with people. I mean, the, the podcast for me has been such a great way to reach out to people that would have no business talking to me ever in my life, you know? Yeah. Yeah. I just, I mean, I just get to shoot people a message and you know, sometimes I get to talk to somebody with the incredible life story like yourself.
And man, it's just been so much fun for me. That's awesome, man. Yeah, honestly, likewise. So, uh, yeah, so I wanted to get into some more professional development topics, but yeah, I wanted to, I know that you've, um, been mired in school and just, uh, trying to make it out alive with a degree and a job, but yeah. I wanted to pick your brain on.
Yeah. What you see as, uh, you know, a career in fire and life safety, you know, or you could just, uh, you know, what's a career in, uh, like, uh, what you've been experiencing lately with the pandemic and what, um, business and jobs and all that. Yeah. Um, you know, I think when it comes to far protection engineering, and I don't know if you agree with this and you could tell me if you do.
Um, but I think a rebranding might. For a long time, you know, just as an example, people would get hired on as lost control consultants. And now a lot of those positions are being called risk engineers. You know, so if we could maybe rebrand the term fire protection engineering, I think people might stop thinking that we're or at least that's the assumption I get.
Every time someone asks me what my major. They're like, oh, so you're gonna be a firefighter. I'm like, no, I'm not gonna be a firefighter. Like, yeah. , you know, I agree with you. I dunno. What, what do you think? How, how can we rebrand the name? I don't know, I have such a hard time. Sometimes I'll talk with people on the podcast and be like, oh, you wanna call somebody a fire protection engineer, a fire protection professional, but you know, somebody who's in, uh, a fire and explosion investigator.
They're like, I'm no fire protection professional. Or, you know, if you say fire protection engineer to somebody who started off as an electrical. Engineering, but does fire protection stuff, they don't wanna be called fire protection. So it's like, I dunno how you encapsulate what we do cause it's such a, a generalist role.
And you know, like the different areas that we get into and the different building systems, I mean, You know, you could only ever deal with the, you know, passive fire protection. You know, all you deal with is UL rated, um, fire, uh, barrier and, you know, penetrations and assemblies, and that's a fire protection engineer, or, you know, you could never deal with any of that.
And you could just be designing sprinkler systems and, you know, that's a, that's a fire protection engineer and, uh, you. Depending on the degree and the licensure. And it's like, so yeah, I don't, I don't have the answer, but I agree with you. We need a better PR plan because fire protection is just, uh, kind of in obscurity in a lot of, um, senses.
So I completely agree. Yeah. So, I mean, you know, I think if the industry could fix that, we would be, we'll be great. for sure. Yeah. We need to, somebody needs to give the industry, uh, marketing and PR overhaul, but, uh, yeah. Yeah. So it seems like you have a good, like, uh, finger on the pulse of, you know, like professional development and just kind of, you know, like career progression, but yeah.
What would you recommend as like a resource or. You know for professionals. Um, I don't know if you have any thoughts on that. I think of two things. Well, one of them is, um, as far as resources, what do you mean? Like technical resources? You know, it could be, it could be technical resources. It could be, you know, I like, um, do you use, uh, I, I don't know about you, but do you use, uh, up codes?
I do use zip codes. I'm a fan of, yeah, I'm a fan of up codes. I wasn't aware. I think the first, one of it was a podcast guest that was like, you know, what up codes was or is? And I was like, no, I have no clue. yeah. I mean, I've used it in class. Uh, like for some of these classes that are like open book and they're about like building code, I'm like easy, quick.
Um, I mean, I love it. And, but I mean, outside of that, I think, you know, one of the things, um, that I had wished. Um, you know, throughout my time in the, you know, industry, as far as like in my internships is I have not always seen, you know, mid and senior level professionals always be open to the entry level, uh, people coming in and I, and I understand why they're afraid they're gonna mess it up.
You know, there's a level of trust that just isn't there yet, you know? Sure. But at the same time, it's like, you gotta give. Right. at one point in time, you, you have to just, you know, give it up and I don't mean give up like the project, but like, give that, give that person the opportunity to fail or succeed, you know?
Sure. Um, You know, because anytime I had an internship, I always would finish my projects. And then I would run through the whole office and ask every single person pretty much every day I was like, do you have more work for me to do? Cause would give something small sometimes and I would knock it out and I'd like, alright, I'm done.
Or, you know, or sometimes if I reviewed something and I submitted it, well, now I'm waiting. I don't know how many days for it to be submitted back, you know? So I think it, you know, for the professionals out there, if, you know, maybe be a little bit more open to entry level people, I think it would just help the industry grow so much faster.
Yeah. I agree with you, you know, I think this goes back to, and I've experienced the same thing. So, um, I think this goes back to, you know, mentoring is not an. Delegation is not innate. These are not just things that you know how to do. And so I think that's a skill. I think delegation is a skill. Um, it's something that I've had to work on recently being comfortable with carving off a sizeable enough chunk of a project for it to be meaningful, to give away, but also, you know, not letting somebody who is.
Uh, junior in their career, um, taking too much slack, you know, hurting the project or, you know, hurting the process. So I, it's a hard thing. It's a hard thing to do. Some people are more geared for it than others. And so, yeah, I completely understand what you're saying. Um, it's something I've struggled with recently is.
Knowing how to delegate. And I mean, it only helps you work more effectively. If you can learn how to effectively, um, give away big enough pieces of work to help the young people learn and to free you up to do the higher level work. Yeah. I mean, I think one of the things that one of my, uh, one of the people who've done to me in the past is they gave me, you know, um, something important to.
But they gave me 24 hours to do it. So , I had 24 hours to complete something. Well, they wanted to see what I could come up with in 24 hours. Right. Huh. And if you think about it from your perspective, as a project manager on that project is 24 hours going to make or break your deadline. And if not, give it to the.
You know, see what he comes up with and if it's something that you can use use it. If not, I never got her. I never heard about that project ever again.
It's is that hours gonna, or, you know, your deadline, you just give it that level. Show me what you could do. 24 hours in this project. These are the submittals. If he comes up with it, you know, I would, you know, I would go home and, and continue doing my work cause I wanna, you know, I wanna impress, you know, my senior people in the office.
You know, I didn't care that I wasn't logging in anything. Like I'm an intern. I don't have like, um, I don't need to log in X amount of billable hours, you know, I don't have, um, what's that called? When you have to do that? Um, uh, like the time sheet hours or what are you referring to minimum amount of billable time or, right, right.
I don't have a utilization goals, you know? So like I can just go home and work on it. Like, what else am I going to do? You know, like I can just go home and work on it. And if my work is good, they're gonna use it not then, you know, I never heard about that project ever. That's a way to look at it sounds like you have a pretty good work ethic and you know, I think that's a huge.
That's a huge, uh, deal as far as in, in, early in your career, getting people to build that trust. You know, I heard you speak about like building that trust and, you know, I remember coming into, you know, one of my jobs and being like, you know, why do I feel like this guy who's been here for four years has, you know, just like people trust and more, and you know, like I've, I'm doing work.
That's good. And. You know, like, why am I, but it just, you know, it's some of that just takes time. Right. But also some of that is, is your track record, like you were talking about and how often you are able to say, Hey, I'm ready for more work. You know? And I've made sure that the work that I had was done well, So, right.
I think that's great. Those are good points. Well, Jonathan, I just wanted to end with, uh, yeah. Is there anything that you, uh, wanted to talk about that we didn't talk about or, um, anything you want to ask me just to, to end the show with? Yeah. What, uh, what inspired you to do this? You know, cause it it's crazy when you started this podcast.
I was thinking about doing one, but I didn't know. I was thinking about doing not a podcast. I wanted to do like tutorials of homeworks and fire protection, because like , I feel like there's no assistance, you know, like if you need help with homework outside of going profess. You know, like there's, it's very small to, to find things on YouTube or such and such.
So I'm just kind of curious, like how, how did you get the motivation to do. Yeah. I mean, honestly, it was the exact thing that you just said right there. I was, you know, I'm, uh, somebody who grew up with the use of the, the internet, you know, of the age, where I've had the internet for most of my life and, um, finding myself in the exact position that you're in right now.
I was, I. Burning up inside with how come there are no resources for me to consume, to become a better fire protection engineer. Right. You know, I don't have a thousand dollars to spend on courses for somebody to spoon feed me this. There is nothing on YouTube. Uh, you know, to tell me how to do this job. I just wanna do my job better.
Um, I would, you know, and I would be listening to. I taught myself how to, you know, like some web development and like computer programming. And there's so many resources online. Like if you wanna pick that up there is. Thousands of YouTube videos where people will teach you that for free. And I was like, it is insane that like how cool the stuff that we get to do and the work that we're involved with.
And there is just feels like, unless you wanna shell out major dollars. , you know, there aren't resources for young professionals who just want to, you know, progress or, you know, and, and I know some more things now about places I could have gone or things I could have done, but yeah, I still think like, uh, fire and life safety is behind a little bit.
And so, yeah, that was the impetus for me wanting to reach out to people. Talk to them about, you know, my curiosities, um, areas that I was weak in areas that, um, I was currently struggling in. And so, yeah, that's kind of the, the backstory for it. So I guess like follow up question on that. At least for me, I'd say one of my hardest things that, um, I showed with as a new person to a company is always.
Reports, because like, I feel like every company has a different boiler plate. Of a report. You know, they, every, every company is different in the way that even though they put the, all, they all put the same stuff, you know, if you look at a, you know, a life safety analysis from company a to company B all the, all the things are the same, but how they structured is different.
Mm-hmm , you know, so, I mean, how would you say you dealt with, you know, when you went into your career with, I think report writing is, is honestly the most cynical part. I mean, you could do all the. You know, the pretty pictures, but when it comes to, you know, putting the actual reports, I think that's one of the hardest things.
Yeah. I would agree with you. Uh, you're like writing, uh, engineering analysis and like a technical report is something that I've had to do a bunch of recently. Uh, we've done a bunch of facility assessments at the company. I work now for. Um, and, uh, yeah, I mean, like, I'd say the number one best way is like reaching out to somebody who's more experienced than you in the company and being like, Hey, do you have a project that, that fits the same kind of template of work that we're doing in this project?
You know, uh, new or existing construction facilities, assessment, you know, these type of systems and then seeing what kind of verbiage they use, seeing the structure of how they write the report. You know, not trying to reinvent the wheel and just think that you need to be some virtuoso that knows exactly what kind of content needs to be included in one of these reports.
Um, you know, I've heard it talked about in like, uh, music or in writing. People will take, uh, famous, um, composers or famous. Writers or authors and they will re rewrite their work, uh, or, you know, redraw the, uh, music or, you know, um, different piece of literature. And so, and then they will learn the structures and, and the kind of thing.
So it's, it's kind of that same theory. Take somebody who's done it before, see how, see the composition of it. And it'll be. You know, you'll be like, oh, okay. I need to describe the, you know, the state of the existing systems. I need to, you know, compare that to X, Y, and Z. I need to, you know, note these type of deficiencies.
So that would be my piece of advice for report writing. Nice, awesome. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show, Jonathan, I just wanna say thanks again. And I really enjoyed speaking with you and yeah, you did great. . Thank you, man. It's been a pleasure. I'm looking forward to hearing it so I can share with everybody.
Thanks for listening. Everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation. Be sure to contact a licensed professional.
If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.