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Feb 14, 2022

On episode 46 of Fire Code Tech we are interviewing a professional that has a tremendous drive and personal story about her journey in fire and life safety. Tune in to hear about how Jeyra has cultivated personal and professional relationships, great tips for any professional. Also we break down tips and tricks for learning fire protection if English is not your first language.


Another Podcast appearance by Jeyra



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 46 of fire code tech. On today's episode, we're talking with JIRA Rivi in our episode today with JRA. We talk about plenty of professional development, tips and tricks, and lots of interesting information about the burgeoning new career of Jada today's episode is an inspiring story about how you can too make a transition into fire and life safety.

And what are the resources that you need to be successful in your career? we dive deep into professional development topics and pull out some real gems, like how to stay competitive as somebody who is just getting into the field and might be stranded in a remote work situation. JRA talks about her superpower, which is finding and cultivating mentor relationships.

If you're looking for some interesting information on how to stay competitive, or you just want to hear an inspiring story of a young professional who is going places you're gonna love this episode. Don't forget to hit subscribe wherever you're listening to your podcasts and give us a five star view.

If you wouldn't mind on Google play apple podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your info also do follow us on LinkedIn. That's where we post most frequently, and you can find out about all the different, uh, life safety and fire information that we post about. Jada, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Welcome to fire code tech. Thank you so much for having me very excited to be here with you today. Awesome. Well, I love starting these interviews with a little bit of your background and to get the listeners acquainted with, uh, about your story and just how you kind of professionally got started. Of course.

So, um, like you mentioned, my name is JRA. I am a fire protection engineer at Smith. And I pivoted actually from mechanical engineering to fire protection. Um, so yeah, that's pretty much how an kind of a elevator pitch version of my career. And I guess as we go, we're gonna, you know, keep elaborating about my history and like my story and how I evolve as an engineer

Sure, sure. So, uh, I understand that you recently. Um, just completed schooling and, you know, kind of, uh, finish your program and had some internships. Would you tell me a little bit about your college experience and, you know, uh, kind of like what classes and stuff you enjoyed? Yes. So my college experience, I started in Puerto Rico, my bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

Um, I went there for 2014 to 2017. Then I came to the states cuz I was visiting at the time. Um, I got stuck in Chicago, um, for, um, a hurricane that destroyed back home in Puerto Rico. Um, so yeah, I ended up transferring schools, um, at the spring 2018 due to that. So, yeah. Then from there, my mentor, Nancy koha at the time was my hiring manager.

She hired me as an intern. And from there, I kind of started doubling into designing architectural engineering. Wow. That's really impressive. Yeah. I was so shocked. I listened to that, uh, podcast, uh, the episode's called do the thing that scares you. And you're speaking about how you didn't hear from your family for weeks after that hurricane happened.

And I was like, oh my gosh, like, I'm sure everybody who was listening to that had the same feeling of, I can't imagine the terror of, you know, not knowing if your family was okay during. during that hurricane. That sounds so emotional. Yeah, it, it was a lot at the time. And ironically, I was like three weeks shy from turning 21.

So I feel like I jumped straight into adulthood with that. Um, it was very, I think one of the most scary things that I've gone through so far, there's not knowing my family was even alive. Yeah. Oh my gosh. That's terrifying. But, um, Yeah. So, uh, speak a little bit about your experience once you, you know, kind of, uh, got through college and, you know, you're, you're going on this internship, uh, what kinda work are you doing?

Um, as a architectural engineer, you know, like what does that look. um, you mean as of today or when I was dabbling with like the internship in school? Oh yeah. Just like, uh, kind of, uh, still, um, looking at that early on part of your career where you're in the internship in school. Okay, perfect. Yes. So I was going to school full time and well, before deciding to transfer schools, I should say I was working full time for that E D firm that I was hired, um, as an.

Um, Nancy asked me, I started in October and then by December she asked me if I, you know, if I should, I should consider transferring schools to Chicago and I could work part-time um, in the company. So I was like, okay. I mean, I'm fine with it, but I don't even know how the process will go when it comes to the college applic.

so she actually was the one that helped me through that process, cuz her oldest daughter was also applying, um, to college at the time. Um, so yeah, I transferred school. I was working, um, while I was going to school as well. Honestly, I looking back, I don't know how I did it. Um, I guess it's part of living in the state of Fireflight.

Um, it kind of pushes you to do things that either I make it work or I make it. Yeah. Um, I think that's, that was kind of my grid for the past almost four years. wow. But it was, oh, go ahead. Sorry. Oh, no, I just was saying, wow, sorry. It sound like it was loud on to you. I didn't mean to loud. Wow. Into the microphone.

no, you're fine. Um, but yeah, that's pretty much how I did it. Um, in between it was good looking back because I, I. That I could pay more attention as I was learning and practice. And on my inners, I was learning how to use rev. I was learning how to do low calculations, how the thing works. Like how plumbing fixtures work, like what is, you know, GPS?

Why do I care about GPM? So I started learning all that in practice. So when I went to school, having the technical background was like, oh, things are clicking easier. And I was able to pay extra attention to the classes that I knew. I was like very interested in like Thermo, he transferred H B a C you know, there were, um, fluid mechanics.

So I was able to kind of recognize that from the get go. Yeah. I heard you say in that podcast episode that you considered yourself a lifetime learner. I love that sentiment. Would you talk about how. That has been something that has been rewarding in your career and, and why you feel that way? Absolutely.

I, I always joke that I will never strive to be the smartest person in the room. Um, but I wanna know who the smart person is. So I feel like that curiosity, it kind of translates to how I see every oh, but how this works, but oh, or who knows this, that, uh, this question, like who can. I feel like I've always been like that.

And I don't know it the way that it, it paid off, I would say, I mean, I was able to pivot careers of being able to like transfer schools. I've been like a lot of doors have been, um, open for me just because of my willingness to keep learning and to. I don't know, to have that interest in just always knowing more.

There's no such thing as knowing everything. And I will be scared if someone claims that, honestly. Yeah. You don't wanna be, honestly, sometimes it's not even a good idea to try to be the smartest person in the room, in the room or the, you know, unfortunately I see a lot of times and people who are the, the smartest and most technical engineers, uh, oftentimes.

Might struggle with the emotional intelligence piece or with the, you know, social interaction piece. Uh, heard a funny joke about engineers the other day. And it was, uh, how do you know who's the extroverted engineer and, uh, the punch line is, um, they'll stare at your feet, not theirs. Uh, that is so funny.

so, uh, yeah, I don't know. Um, I think that you. it's a weird thing being, uh, an engineer or working with technically competent people is, you know, a lot of people are technically competent, but I think the it's really hard to be, um, good with networking, good with seeking out a mentor and kind of leaning into, to learning.

So I'm happy to hear that those are big themes in your career. Oh, thank you. so. Uh, you know, for, for the people who are listening, uh, the way we met was, uh, you know, you had reached out, uh, because you were going through, uh, a career change, you know, uh, speak, speak a little bit about that career change and you know, how you made the transition to fire and life safety J cause I think it's, it's pretty fascinat.

Yeah. So, uh, like you've mentioned everything started, cuz I was kind of researching about fire protection cuz I was in the midst of pivoting careers. Um, so everything kind of, it kind of started to put together in 2021, but this kind of started at the beginning of 2020. Um, I was being interviewed for an ownership position at Smith group.

That's the company that I'm working on. Right. Um, actually Nancy again was interviewing me, which is kind of very full circle. There's like a bunch of full circle moments in my career, I would say. Um, so yeah, she interviewed me and there were like three people, it was her, another, the mechanical engineer and a fire protection engineer.

Um, so yeah, and then like the interview went and at the end she mentioned like, oh, you should consider, um, looking into fire, protect. because it's, you know, it's a very small niche and I think you'll be a good fit. And I'm like, what is fire protection? So , I started researching and I'm like, oh, this seems very interesting.

And I'm curious to learn more. So I started also looking within the presentation. There's like a bunch of presentations that happen across our company on a very frequent basis where engineers and architects kind. Discuss the projects that they've been involved in, like the challenges and so on, so forth.

So seeing the fire projection engineers discussing like these very cool projects, like with this level high level of complexity and kind of recognizing that as fire projection engineers, you don't have the same issues nor come with the same solutions. Um, to me it's very fascinat. So that's kind of how it started.

And as I was doing my internship, even though it was only mechanical and I was doing mechanical and plumbing, I made the approach to the fire protection engineer. Um, Steven Barrett, which funny he's my boss now. Um, so yeah, I reached out to him and I'm like, um, I'm interested in learning a little bit, um, more about what you.

And he kind of started assigning little tasks about life safety here and there, but nothing too formal at that time. So then on my, it was spring 2021. I asked him to mentor me, um, because I was serious about making the change. I was like, okay, I'm pretty sure that I wanna make the change. I don't know how I'm gonna do it, but you know, Steven, at the time he also has, uh, mechanical engineer.

Background and bachelor, and he also pivoted to fire protection engineering. So my train of thought was that okay if he did it, I can do it as well. And I wanna know how he did it. So that's kind of my idea of asking him to mentor me. Came from, and, you know, he started and he gave me like a bunch of resources, which I find that was very nice of him.

He made me like a huge list of like resources, webinars, like in FBA, like a bunch of like UL webinars, a bunch of things that I could kind of start learning and familiarizing with. Um, so that's pretty much how things kind of unfolded up until the point where it's like, oh, okay, we have a, uh, we need fire projection engineers.

And I think, you know, this will work and, you know, the opportunity came and I'm like, let's do it. And that's when I started kind of researching more into the practice of fire protection engineering and I'm like, I love podcast. So let me find a fire protection podcast. And I found. And it was very interesting to me, cuz I already knew that as fire protection engineers, you are holistically solving a bunch of problems.

Like life safety, fire, alarm smoke, like smoke, uh, modeling, fire modeling. There's so many things that you're solving and working with as a fire protection engineer. I don't know, I just, I could be talking all day, but it was very fascinating. And that's why I reached out to you. I'm like, oh my God, you're discussing this topics, please.

I wanna know more well, yeah, that's so many great points. I love that. You're talking about how, you know, uh, my, you know, you're saying that you have a mentor that. Originally a mechanical engineer, you know, turned fire protection engineer, and then that's kind of who you approach for a me and your pursuit of the discipline.

Uh, I think that's awesome. One of my biggest mentors in my life and fire protection engineering was originally a mechanical engineer and she. Made the move to, to be the fire protection engineer. And so I think that's so funny. That's such a big, common, uh, thing in the industry where the engineers of different disciplines or backgrounds kind of fumble their way into fire and life safety.

But I was so impressed when you reached out and, um, we had a conversation over the phone and you were so well prepared. You went through a list of like maybe six or seven. Uh, really awesome questions about, you know, how to find resources, you know, what are competitive ways to advance in your career? Uh, you, you know, is, you know, the benefits, the pros and cons of, uh, higher education.

I mean, you basically had kind of fleshed out. How do I make the biggest bang for my career? And you were going to somebody and reaching out and trying to find those answers. And I was just kind of blown away by, uh, your ability to, to do that. I mean, usually. Nobody does that. And then they certainly don't do it in a nice way.

They might barrage you on LinkedIn with like one word kind of questions or inquiries, but you know, you did it so politely and so succinctly and, and gracious and thoughtful of the time. And I was just like, wow, I'm so impressed by this person. So I was just like, kind of blown away when you reached out.

That is so NA thank you. I, I feel like I strongly believe, I should say. Networking should be genuine relationships rather than, oh, I see that you, for example, I see that you're a fire protection engineer. Oh yeah. Please. Let me just connect in. Please gimme a job. Like I don't, I don't think that's how it should go.

I strongly believe that they should be relationships developed within people and over time there's like, okay, something happens and it's like, oh, I know this person that can help me out. You know, vice versa. So yeah, I cannot see relationship like, like that way. So, but I appreciate that. You tell me that cuz I, I don't know.

It comes very natural to me, so I wouldn't think that that's not as common. Yeah. I think that's a superpower. That's probably your superpower and you don't even know it, but I think that's one of the, you know, I have. Sisters-in-law in, in college. And I always am trying to tell them, you know, uh, to, to use LinkedIn, to use network here, networking, to use mentorship and to reach out to people that you, you know, wanna learn how to do what they're doing, cuz most people who are passionate professionals or, you know, really care about what they're doing, they want to help people out, you know, They wanna see people who are willing to do the hard work, willing to, uh, take the advice and do good things and, and go out and, and conquer and be awesome.

You know, we all want the field to have great people in it. And fire protection is in constant need of passionate, uh, professionals who care about, uh, fire and life safety and progressing the field. So I think it's, uh, just as invigorating. The person who gets to help out, you know, but agree with what you're saying.

You. Um, approaching people for me, mentorship is the two way street. You know, you have to kind of cultivate that rapport and relationship and, and be able to, uh, facilitate it from both sides instead of just viewing it as transactional. And I get what I need out of this relationship and, you know, then I move along or whatever.

So it's more fruitful in that way that you're talking about where you view it as a, like, Like, you know, uh, more of a friendship or, you know, you're not just taking. Right. Yeah. It's like, okay, I'm, I'm taking knowledge, but hopefully there's something that I can contribute to the conversation as well to make it too way.

You inspired me. I wanted to say that, that you inspire me by, you know, cuz uh, it took me so long for me to be able to do that, to reach out to people when I was so terrified. Um, when I first started reaching out to people for the podcast, I was just like, oh my gosh, like I'm just bothering this person. I feel so weird.

I feel like I wanna crawl outta my skin, uh, asking people to come on the podcast. So, uh, I think that's, that's why I'm saying it's a superpower and you should lean into that because it's really cool. And, and, uh, there's so many neat things that you can learn and ways to leverage that to grow in your, in your career.

So that's awesome. Thank you. Thank you. So we spoke a little bit about, um, you know, networking and mentoring and a little bit on the, the front side of your career. But so I wanna know about, so when you started learning about fire protection, you know, you mentioned a couple of good resources, but where did you go to start really learning about the profession and kind of figuring out, uh, what it means to be a fire protection?

Um, the simple answer, my mentor, Steven Barrett. I feel that that was my starting point when it comes to what a fire protection engineer is. Um, he was my, my first, my starting point. And from there, he kind of offered a bunch of resources that I could kind of start, like I've mentioned kind of learning. and just seeing in practice.

I, I, I'm lucky to have, um, across offices, we have a huge team of fire protection engineers, and I find that those are my peers and my seniors are my best resources at hand. Then, you know, when it comes to the practice and interpretation and whenever I have questions along the way, also, of course you need your N FBA, you know, um, knowledge, your Colia I've been since my.

Background is in mechanical. I've been taking an FBA life courses. Um, just for me to kind. Understand a little bit better. Um, the code and interpreting the code, um, like at web betters as well, YouTube, like I have a whole playlist of our protection engineer interviews. I have podcasts like yours. um, I, I don't know.

I love learning. that's awesome. I think that's so great. You know, somebody it's really surprising. Uh, I think. Something that will help anybody, you know, progress and, and stay relevant in your career. Is that, uh, pension to keep learning and to, to be curious, I think that it's something that has paid a lot of dividends in my career, so I think that's awesome.

Um, yeah, I wanted to ask about, uh, have you had any involvement in like professional societies or. You know, uh, anything like that for fire protection or any other professional pursuits? Yes. Um, I think looking back now that you've mentioned my, you know, the emotional intelligence, what I've learned about my soft skills it's because of fire engagement with professional organizations, like I've been involved with, um, engineering related organizations since I was a freshman in college.

So I feel like that kind of. My self skills, you know, self skills, skill set. And so to answer the question I've been involved with, like, um, NSPE national professional, um, societal professional engineers, um, NSBA um, also a member now, um, Ashray, that's for mechanical and as the studies, um, for forming as well.

So I think involving, I am involved in a couple of, um, professional. Organizations outside of of course work yeah. That's good stuff. Those sounds like you're I love that you have ver remained involved with some different disciplines. I think that it's probably gonna be. Uh, a good resource for you always in your career that you had that experience as in mechanical, because you know, there are plenty of people who are engineers who have more generalist kind of roles, you know, they do a little bit of everything.

So it's a real benefit that you have that background where you've seen a little bit of design for mechanical and plumbing. I think that's. Yes, it it's, it plays to my advantage, like, and I can say it from like very early on that I'm right now in my career. It's like, oh, I, I can understand how things kind of combine holistically and within the me MEP design.

So it's, it's pretty awesome. Like you eventually definitely has advantage. Yeah. Yeah. So. I, you know, in, in listening to your, your other podcasts and, you know, taking a look at your LinkedIn, I've noticed that you have a big focus on, you know, equity and diversity and inclusion. I'd love to talk about what you see as places where fire protection.

Can, uh, be better in this regard, you know, where do you see opportunities in that space for fire protection, fire and life safety? Um, I feel like there's a, a good space to, you know, help and increase these numbers when it comes to, um, diversity, equity and inclusion. Um, if I go to the macro as engineering, there's only 2% of the workforce are Latina.

As engineer. So of course, if it's only 2% of engineering, like it has to be like way less when it comes to like different niches. Right. So I feel like the best thing and something that I'm doing, um, as well is to put the word out there about what is in this case, fire protection engineering, what is life safety engineering?

Like what, why is important? Like, what even is it like, what do we do? I. The best thing that we can do at this moment is to put the word out there about our profession and about what we do. Cause once people know better, at least they have options to do better. Yeah. I think that's a great point. I think that, uh, the industry is really struggling to, uh, figure out how we get the word out.

What a good thing fire protection is, and you know, how much opportunity there is. And, you know, it kind of astounds me of, uh, the disparity in engineers, uh, between, uh, even just men and women let alone, um, you know, people of, uh, You know, a diverse range of yeah. People of backgrounds. Yeah. People of color typically.

Yeah. Yeah. And so to me, I'm just like, how do we get the word out in general about the industry and how do we make it more inclusive and bring people in, but it's, uh, I think, uh, there's so much opportunity and I just wanna let people know that, you know, it's a good field to, to be in. Um, I don't know, maybe that's some touchy feely stuff, but no, I feel like for honestly, what you're doing right here is this is great.

Like. If you think about it, like, because we've met because I, I heard about your, I started listening to your podcast and I started learning about what is fire protection engineering. And it is kind of a full circle moment. So in a way you're also contributing, cause I am a Latina, who's stepping into fire protection engineering and you know, this is the, to me, I'm a grassroot type of person.

And in my eyes, this is how change happens when you, like, you only need to impact one person's life to create. Yeah, I think it's, it is important. You know, we do really interesting and meaningful work and, um, I think we just need to lower that, uh, barrier for access for people to, to get the knowledge and to be curious and to, to pursue the field.

So I appreciate you saying that, that. That, uh, is meaningful to me. Uh it's uh, feels good to hear that. It's always, uh, sometimes you feel like you're doing these interviews kind of in a vacuum, cuz you know, I get to speak to these great people and then I release it and then it's out into the wind and it's gone and then it's on to the next week.

What's the next topic? right. It always is so nice. Sometimes people will reach out and say nice things and it makes my day, but it's uh, and that's enough of a reward. It feels good, but. Anyways enough self gratification, but , it's always good. Pat yourself on the shoulder is always good. well share. I've been so excited to hear, you know, kind of where you've been.

And, um, you know, now, uh, you've talked a little bit about what you're doing now. Um, you know, you don't have to speak any specifics, but I'd love to hear about some of the project work you're involved with now. And you could talk, you know, real broadly about occupancy types or general building types. You don't have to get into specifics about specific projects, but I'd love to hear about what kind of projects you're involved with now.

Yeah. Um, as of now, I'm mostly engaged with healthcare, um, and offices and business occupa. That's pretty much what I've been involved in. I've been doing fire protection, but I've been more involved into the live safety, which I, I really find fascinating. Um, just not only because of the complexity, of course, but of the LA to me, there's a lot of complexities in English is not my first language.

So there's not only the layer of the technical complexity, but also the language in my case, which I find very interest. Wow. So, yeah, , that's quite, I didn't even think about that as a, I mean, it's hard enough to read these code books. If English is your first language, I mean, they're so dry and, you know, formal most of the time about how they're describing these things and they can be kind of confusing requirements or not real clear requirements.

And so I'd never even thought about, you know, what if the English is not your first language. How much harder does that make these, these random code interpretations? We actually, we found a solution meeting me and Steven, cause I brought that to his attention. I'm like, I think that I'm struggling a lot with the language, like the language barrier being a huge thing.

And he proposed like, is there like an FPH handbook in Spanish? And I'm like, I have no idea. And there it is. So yeah, I have a Spanish and a CA co compliance. Yeah. I have a couple . Oh, nice. Yeah, that's a good tip. That's a good tip. I love hearing about that. Maybe that's a good tip for other people too, who might be having that same issue.

You know, I, uh, I don't know if you've heard it, but there is another Spanish speaking fire alarm podcast, uh, that I've seen out there too. And, you know, I was like, man, I wish I could speak Spanish. I would love to talk with these people about fire and life safety, but, uh, I'd follow 'em on LinkedIn or had to find it and throw it in the show notes.

But, um, yeah, you said you'd heard. Yes. Yeah. I think I've heard, um, an episode, you know, scrambling on the Spotify world. so, yeah, I, um, did I? No. No, this is another thing. Nevermind. This is another thing. Sorry. I was like, wait. Okay. I'm thinking I, no worries. I'll find it. I'll find it and throw it in the show notes for anybody who's interested, but, uh, yeah, no.

Yeah. It's, it's awesome that some people are starting to, to get out there and get into it. Well, that sounds really fascinating that you've been involved in healthcare work. That's some of the most, uh, kind of challenging some of the most challenging fire line safety work. There is out. Hospitals and healthcare is so nuanced and complex when it comes to fire protection.

It's really challenging. I love it. I love it. I like it so much. I, I find it very fascinating. How, I don't know. I tend to see problems and solutions, almost like pieces of a puzzle and almost in my head like, oh, how do you rotate the piece to make it. So to me, kind of, you know, navigating healthcare and like life safety and all, you know, one on one and how that works is very interesting.

How, again, you don't have the same solution. Or the, you know, you can have the same exact problem and you will find like different solutions every time because the constraints are different. Yeah. It's definitely strange. You think you'd run out of, of, uh, different problems, but it's always something new.

It's almost never the same thing over and over again. It always feels like you're struggling with some new little snippet. Uh, you know, random sprinkler, uh, application or, uh, fire alarm interface for this week, I was dealing with, uh, coiling smoke doors for, uh, opening protections for elevators. And I'm like, oh my gosh, never had to deal with this before.

What is UL? 1784. What is an FPA? 80. You know, I, I, I've never had to deal with this. Why, you know, do we really need this where's this at, in the building code, you know? And just, uh, you know, I've been doing this for coming up on six years and it's still encountering those new problems. So, um, it's really fun to just be kind of challenged like that.

Yes, it it's. It's very interesting. I agree with you. I don't know. I, the more that I kind of start doubling into it, the more curious, um, that I am, the more fascinated that I am with the profession and I kind of can confirming like, oh, I, I made the right move here. Um, it doesn't feel like work for the most part.

And you know, there's a lot of learning that happens on my free time. Because again, I do recognize that I come from a different back. So, and it really doesn't feel like work. So yeah, that kind of keeps confirming that I made the right choice here. that's awesome. Well, yeah, that extra work is gonna pay off.

I know for out, I know without a doubt, I know it is already paying off for you, so that's a good deal. But so I wanted to talk about, you know, so we've talked about where you've been, we talked about, you know, what you're working on now. Uh, where do you see, like, what are your big and bold dreams for what you wanna do in the next five years?

And, and, you know, in line with kind of, uh, becoming a better FPE and professional, you know, what, what's your five years, uh, plan kinda look like for J. It is interesting. Cause if you would've asked me that question a year ago, I would've told you like step by step my next five years. Um, now I see it more of like, you know, life doesn't have to be that strict.

Um, the only thing that for sure, I know I will be, I will become a professional engineer within the next five. Um, and you know, the rest, I will keep showing up as my best as I've been doing this whole time and just see where, you know, it gets me so far. I can't complain. , that's a good way to take it. It's hard to, it's good to have some goals, but it's hard to be too set on any one thing of life is pretty wild.

I understand what you're saying. I don't know. I feel like I've always kind of had like, oh, what's next two, three years, but then life always kind of has its own decision. So yes, that's a good thing, but yeah. So have you taken your, your Fe yet or have you gotten, I'm taking, I'm taking it, um, within the next two months.

Oh my goodness. So you're in the think of it then? Yes I am. which one are you taking? Are you taking the other disciplines? Are you taking the mechanical one? Oh, I'm taking other disciplines. Yeah. Uh, I'm going through other disciplines. that's a good idea. I think that the mechanical one's supposed to be much harder.

I took other disciplines and passed other disciplines and, you know, surprisingly there was like a, there was one fire alarm question in there. It was like a battery calc question. And I was like, wow, I really did not expect anything to do with fire protection in this exam. So there actually ended being something in.

Oh, that's good to know though. Thank you. yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. Well, that's exciting. It's good. Uh, good to get that FY out of the way as, as close as you can to school, because it feels like that that stuff, uh, starts to go, even though you could probably still pick it up, if you crank out enough practice problems.

Exactly. um, yeah. So as somebody who has. Really excelled in, um, kind of seeking out professional development and just learning and growing. Uh, what kind of advice would you give to, um, a professional that's maybe, you know, in a similar situation in their career? JRA uh, so I would start with being proactive.

Try, um, try your best to be reliable. Also, you need to understand and recognize that at this stage, you really know nothing. And you know, that is totally okay. That is expected. Um, definitely ask a bunch of questions, communicate effectively and very clearly and understand, um, to the point, what are the expectations of the tasks that you are being assigned?

For example, I feel like, yeah, you're not expected to know the answers and you're definitely gonna make mistakes, but at least that you're being proactive. It's, you know, you're showing up already and it shows interest. So I would say being proactive, ask questions and something that, um, Steve tells me a lot is that I am building my knowledge, um, break by.

So, yeah, just build that toolkit on a break by break basis. that's a great piece of advice. I love that I've been, I've been, uh, in the process of onboarding, uh, new staff at my company and. And she's just, I can just see it, you know, every week there's a different brick that, you know, or set of bricks that have been laid down with whatever it is, Revit or, you know, fire suppression system components, or, you know, general construction terms and, you know, project deliverables and what that means.

And so it's, I think it's easy to be disheartened by how much stuff there is to learn, but you just gotta remember that. It just takes time and you gotta, you gotta build that knowledge brick by brick. It is a daily practice though. Cause as, as high achievers, sometimes it gets hard to not have unrealistic expectations, which is that's when it's perfect timing to have mentors to call you out in those type of scenarios.

yeah, I remember. And it's, and it's unfortunate too, that when you're in like that early part of your career, You know, you're just like, you're like, I just really wanna know this answer now. Like, can I know now, like, can I understand it now? And then it just is, so it just doesn't come easy. And then, you know, it's just, it's kind of interesting.

The, the more you keep learning, it just kind of starts to, you start to retain that knowledge just faster and faster and faster. And then the next thing you. That thing that you dreaded, maybe it was doing a fire riser detail your first time, and you didn't, you know, had struggled with all the parts and pieces and couldn't understand why some of it was code required.

And now that's, you know, just easy or wrote task and you don't even worry about it. So it's weird how that, that change happens slowly. And then by the time it happens, you don't even realize it. And you're on to the next. Yes, a hundred percent. It, I was actually thinking about that this week, cuz it's like, wow.

Like four months ago. I really did not know anything. And now it's like, Ooh, I know a couple of things that I did not know, like back in September. So it's been pretty cool to kind of look back and see how much I've learned so far. That's awesome. I like that. So I always like to, in the episode with a couple of different professional development topics, and it's kind of been a theme throughout our entire conversation.

Just a couple things here to round out the interview. Uh, first one is, um, what do you see as a meaningful trend in fire and life safety? Um, we talked about a couple of things of macro level, what we're seeing in the industry off air before the, the podcast started. But I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

So from. I feel like right now, I am a fly on the wall when it comes to these conversations. But what I've noticed is there's a lot of conversations when it comes to fire modeling and EG Eagers modeling. I feel like that's going, if it's not already, it's going to be a trend. I feel like once AI keeps evolving where still we're not gonna keep leveraging on those tools to, even though it's not.

It's always a good practice, you know, it's safety. So we should be as accurate as possible. So I would say, yeah, um, fire modeling. Ooh, that's cool. I like that. I wish I knew how to fire model. I haven't the firm I work for now. Doesn't do much performance based design, but I think it's so, uh, interesting. I would love to.

Love to learn about that subject. I think you're, I think you're right about how it's, uh, on the uptick in my company. Um, we have an expert in, um, about in fire modeling and he's, um, right now kind of starting to train. The younger crowd and of course I'm into that pool. So I'm very excited to start learning about power modeling.

I'm not gonna lie to you. you're gonna have to tell me how it goes. That sounds really interesting. Yeah. It's kind of like that, uh, really neat kind of like computer programming, nerdy stuff that like you always see in magazines, they got cool diagrams of like zone modeling and CFD and stuff. And so. I've always had a real fascination with that.

That's neat. You'll have to tell me how it goes. Yes, I will. but, um, so we talked already about, you know, you said that your, your biggest resources been your mentor, but, um, in learning, uh, you know, what's helped you the most, has it been those code books that are in Spanish or, you know, how, what has been your thoughts on those training courses?

From NFPA. Um, so I took the first one. I, it was a one on one on the life safety one, and it was amazing. It was worth every single thing. I would encourage everyone. Who's interested in learning more about, um, you know, the handbooks to, you know, enroll and take these courses. Cause it was a lot of things clicked for me after, you know, I finished that.

I would say YouTube as well. I've learned a bunch of things from YouTube. Um, there's lot of UL webinars that are for free. Um, I also think that NH PA also offers some, um, webinars that are free, but I'm not entirely sure. Um, LinkedIn as well. I know that Linda, um, part of it, I've watched a couple of. and the reps also have like a bunch of good resources.

Um, when it comes like I've seen fire pumps, videos, acting like fire alarm, like there's like a bunch of free resources that you can start learning from. If you're interested, um, about the, the profession in the field. Yeah, I think that that's a good point. Uh, there's a lot of, a lot of professional societies, like American fire alarm association and national fire sprinkler association and, uh, like, uh, American fire sprinkler association, like they'll host a couple of free webinars, even though, uh, the, probably the lion share of them are paid for.

Um, they'll still like, even in FPA, we'll have free webinars. I forget. Uh, they had a really good one about, uh, warehouse fire protection last year. I remember attending. And so also, uh, you know, there are other life safety podcasts out there, fire and life safety podcasts, like, um, N FPA and ICC have podcasts.

Uh, so yeah, there's a lot of good resources out there for fire protection professionals or at least if you, if you're willing to dig a little bit they're out there. Right. But, um, it's hard to know. Yes. I feel like these type of efforts, like you putting information out there and, um, you know, other people also putting themselves and their knowledge out there will, is definitely contributing into this conversation and into making change happen.

Yeah, I sure hope so. I mean, uh, a lot of the reason why I started this, uh, endeavor was too, cuz I just, when I started, I was like a, a year in and I was like, well, I kind of get the basics, but I really don't understand the big picture. And it's kind, uh, it's kind of really bugging me that I don't get the big picture and I wanna know now and so.

This has been my way of trying to talk to people from a variety of backgrounds and, uh, and you know, what we do, and also outside of we, what we do. And so I hope, I hope somebody finds it interesting and, you know, can, can help try to facilitate that discussion around, um, different resources and let people know.

where they can go find other good stuff because, uh, yeah, that's the goal. But, um, anyways, JIRA, I think that, uh, mostly does it for, um, the questions that I had prepared, but, um, is there anything that you would like to talk about in conclusion or anything that you would like to ask me? Not to put you on the spot?

Actually I'm very interested about is a question about you. Like, how do you see kind of things moving? Because before we started recording, we were talking about working remote and the adjustment, like mm-hmm how do you see yourself kind of moving forward with this type of. Environment or like the adjustment, I don't know.

Yeah. How do you see yourself moving forward? Yeah. Yeah. I think that working remotely has just become something that companies, uh, who really wanna grow and stay competitive in the industry. They're gonna have to. Wrap their heads around it, right? Because if you want to be competitive on, uh, you know, a national or an international perspective, uh, you are going to need to embrace some level of remote work in order to attract talent.

So, uh, for me, I, uh, I like the hybrid system, you know, maybe the majority of the week you're in the office, but you have the option or the ability to, uh, work remotely. And, you know, uh, have that flexibility. I think that is a fabulous benefit for, uh, workers, for people to who have lives, or maybe you have sick kids or you have to a repair person needs to come to your, uh, house or apartment.

And so I think that there. It's not going away remote. Work's not going away. Um, I think it's here to stay. So it's interesting. I think there's pros and cons it like a little bit of what we talked about, um, before the pod got started, you know, um, there's inherent efficiencies and inefficiencies to, uh, work in remote or working in the office.

So, uh, yeah, I think it's a, it's a kind of a double edged sword. There's good things. And there's bad things about. Yeah, actually, this made me think about another question, sorry. Sure. So since, you know, a lot of us are starting our careers for the most part remotely, what advice would you give? Ooh. Yeah, that's a good question.

I think, you know, I think fostering that mentor relationship remotely is a lot harder because in person people can kind of stop by or see when you're floundering. But remotely, it is a lot harder for people to, you know, kind of engage and, you know, be connected with. That, uh, mentor mentee kind of a relationship to build that rapport.

So I think my piece of advice would be to really lean into finding somebody who has the ability to mentor. Uh, not everybody kind of has that disposition or inclination to want to take on somebody and really teach them a. Uh, some people are just more naturally geared for that. So seek out that person that you see has some proclivity for teaching and learning, and really try to engage that person.

And don't wait for them to. To, to ask you how you're doing, or if you have it all figured out that like you were saying earlier, be proactive, engage, engage your mentor, engage your network for solving problems and, you know, really focus in on, uh, getting the task done. And, and, you know, don't wait, don't be a hand fed bear.

Don't wait for people to bring you work, go, you know, knock on their door and say, Hey, what can I do? You know, what, how can I, how can I create value? So I think that would be my advice. Thank you. thank you. I appreciate it a lot. yeah, no worries. Awesome. Well, JIRA, I just want to thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

I'm really excited to see what you're gonna do in your career. I know it's gonna be big things, but yeah. Thank you for coming on the podcast. Thank you so much for having me guys it's being a pleasure. I hope we keep in touch and keep chatting. without a doubt. 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.