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Mar 21, 2022

Welcome to episode 31 of the solocast of Fire Code Tech! On this episode we are talking about professional development. We speak about professional societies, technical resources and how to cultivate a mentor mentee relationship. Understanding how to continue to hone your skills professionally and to keep appraised of the fire and life safety environment is of critical importance.

Fire Protection Summit

Joe Meyer:

Chris Campbell:

Jose Oliveira:



Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal I.

Hello. All welcome to episode 30, one of fire code tech on this episode, we're talking about professional development. Yes. I think that professional development has always been a theme in fire code tech. So I wanted to take a moment today to speak to you all about some lessons learned that I have found over the last two years of producing the podcast today.

I want to talk about the benefits of understanding. Professional societies, technical resources, mentorship, building continuous development and professional credentialing. If you're listening to this episode, when it comes out, you can go check out another podcast by me, a video podcast with Erin Johnson.

Where we speak on the fire protection industry affairs, virtual summit. And we get to talk about, uh, an interview with me in a podcast and basically go over some of the different things I've learned, starting the podcast, and some tips for those who would have any interests in starting a podcast of their own.

So, yeah, I'll add a link down in the show notes, if you want to check that out today. And, uh, if you miss. And you still wanna view the, the podcast? Uh, I believe I'm gonna have a chance to release it later, or you can, uh, buy a seat if it's the week after the week of the 21st of March in 2022, and go watch this, uh, podcast there as well.

Don't forget to subscribe. So you never miss an episode and follow us on social media. Oh. And if you want to give us a rate and review where you listen to your podcast, that would be huge. So today we're talking about professional, uh, development or professional advancement. So what does that mean? So to me, professional development is how as a professional, do you continue to hone your skills and be appraised of what is happening in the industry and really keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on and continue to develop.

So I've broken it down into a couple different categories. The first one I wanna speak about, and I talk about this on a lot of different fire code take interview episodes is professional societies. So why I always recommend. People joining and getting involved with professional societies is because there is so much to be gained from a personal level, from a network and building social skills level.

It's really a great place to hone your skills, to communicate and show a bit of community involvement. So professional societies are a huge benefit to not only you as a professional, but also it's a good way to give back being an extremely, technically competent professional is important, but what's more important is the ability to make connections and to, uh, build relationships that will last a career in a life.

Participating in professional societies is a great way to be knowledgeable about your local community of fire protection and professionals. And also you can even go broader than that to a national or global perspective in your professional societal involvement. I've had our opportunity to be involved in my local S FPE chapter and work on, uh, fundraising for.

You know, events where we are raising money for, for scholarships. And also it's been a great opportunity for me to make professional connections, whether it's in order to problem solve, like making connections with people in different areas of the fire and life safety community, like those who are technicians or authorities having jurisdictions.

It's a great way to build your personal and professional network. Professional societies are generally starved for people who are interested to get involved and to, you know, really be a part of moving the organization forward. So if you really do have interest in getting involved, I guarantee there's going to be an easy way for you to do that.

If you have a local community and. I bet if you stick around for a couple years, you could even be on one of the committee chairs or on the board because, you know, uh, it takes time and effort to be involved in these societies and people have busy lives. So if you want to reap some of the rewards and benefits of being involved in these professional societies, there's a low barrier to entry.

The next subject I wanted to talk about is technical resources. So what does this mean? So this kind of pairs along with professional societies in that, you know, where do you go to consume content about, um, new trends or new technology in fire and life safety? So these can, you know, coincide with, uh, some of the other topics, but really, I just wanted to speak about, you know, The big two or the big three in the us at least are, you know, NFPA national fire protection association, SS S F P E the society for fire protection engineers and probably, uh, ICC the international code council.

These are three huge organizations in the us and really kind of drive, uh, or are. Integrally involved in policy change and codes and standards change. So being, uh, knowledgeable about their websites and how to navigate their resources. You know, I like to speak a lot on the fact that NFPA documents are, uh, available for free online.

So any NFPA you can think of, you can go find it online for free. If you just sign up for an. And the same goes for ICC. If you need something from the building code, uh, there are a variety of places you can go. One of them is the ICC website and another place is, uh, is a alternative website like up codes who has online codes available for you to use for problem solving, which I do frequently.

And S F P E frequently produces resources like webinars, free webinars. And you. FPE extra is also an interesting read about once a month. They'll put out an article, also have independent professionals or like bloggers who produce really interesting content on fire and life safety. A couple of my favorite are Joe Meyer who produces Meyer fire.

Chris Campbell who produces the building code blog, and then Jose Oliviera, who has been a guest on fire code tech. If you go back and take a look at episode 30, I guess all these have been a guest on fire code tech. So, um, I'm a fan of these professionals and the resources they put out, and that's why I've had 'em on the podcast.

So, um, I'll add some links to their stuff. But, yeah. And then there are specific technology organizations like American fire alarm association. National fire sprinkler association and American fire sprinklers association. So that's AF AA, N FSA and a FSA. And these companies are professional organizations put out, uh, free resources sometimes and paid resources out all the time.

And they're really good. By people who sit on the committees and really have deep seated knowledge of how the codes and standards process and, and structure works. So those are great technical resources to be appraised of. I wanted to talk on mentorship building or, you know, Developing a relationship, you know, a mentor, a mentee relationship, not only for your benefit, but for the benefit of others.

You know, I think that in my career I have gained from, you know, mentoring and being mentored. By other professionals and it's been one of the best resources in my career. So finding someone who has a disposition for cultivating professionals or being a constructive member of a team and somebody who is not just interested in getting the job done, but also interested in building people up is a great benefit.

You know, I give people the advice frequently to, you know, find someone in your professional network who has the temperament to be a mentor, you know, not everybody has this. Ability to focus on what somebody needs to learn or steps, you know, to, to build upon. So it's a kind of active process of probing your professional and personal network in order to find, uh, somebody who's a good fit with you on a personal level and on a professional level to, uh, help each other out.

I like to tell people that it is not a one race. Mentorship is not a one way street. So you need to bring something to the table as a mentee. Uh, you can't just always come with your hand out. So what you can do is, you know, If you're asking for something, you know, you can try to give it a on it. Doesn't always have to be a transactional relationship, but it is important to, you know, treat people as a friend, treat people as, you know, an equal and to not just always treat it as professionally transactional because.

After a while that doesn't create a long term relationship that just creates like, oh, so, and so is approaching me again with something that they need and they always approach me with something that they need. So, um, really the more meaningful, long term picture of that relationship looks like. You know, a friendship, you know, you have a ex, a standing rapport with somebody and you talk to them at some set interval.

And then in the instance, in which you do need something, it's just like talking to a friend and approaching them about. You know, a different, uh, topic or subject in their life. It's not like a, Hey, I just need this thing from you. And then I'm just gonna disconnect and not speak to you again for another six months.

And then when I need something else, I'll talk to you. Then, you know, people sometimes get discouraged and. I just want to say, you know, if at first you don't find somebody who is the right fit for you for a mentor relationship, you know, keep trying, uh, don't get discouraged because sometimes you're not gonna find it inside your company.

Sometimes you might have to look outside of your immediate personal network and maybe reach out to people online. Maybe, you know, think about where you would like your career to go and what you need to learn to get there and re reach out to the professionals and maybe your, your, you know, social media network or in other places to kind of build that knowledge resource that you are looking for.

Um, so this is something that's been extremely beneficial in my professional career is, you know, if you have something that you're. Uh, passionate about, and you want to learn about find somebody who shares that passion in the industry and reach out to them in a, you know, a very transparent and open manner.

Explain to them, you know, kind of like what your goals and intentions are and then yeah. Kind, try to build that rapport by reaching out to people. Well, I apologize. That was a bit of stream of consciousness, but I think I'm gonna stop there for now. We didn't get into, we only got into about half of the topics I wanted to speak about, but.

Thank you guys so much for listening. Stay tuned. We got some really big stuff coming in the next couple weeks we got the virtual affairs summit and we have the, you know, joint episode with ack on the fire safety or the fire science show. Excuse me. And so those are gonna be awesome and I hope you're gonna enjoy 'em and so, yeah, keep an eye.

We got some cool stuff coming. Thank you guys for listening. Don't forget. Do subscribe, subscribe, subscribe. And we will talk to you next time. 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. Fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.