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We develop and deliver world-class training for the fire sprinkler industry. 

Earn CEUs/CPDs!

We offer training for new and experienced professionals in the fire protection industry. Our classes range in topics from the basics of sprinkler spacing, to the review of plans and calculations, to the latest research and changes in the industry. 

New classes will be posted as they become available. Check back often!


From the Director, February 2017

Posted on February 24, 2017

Introducing Michelle Potenberg

Posted on February 23, 2017

Greetings from the Academy, February 2017

Posted on February 23, 2017

Spring!  Almost.  As the seasons change and the weather becomes friendlier to my old bones, I am in wonder of the changing world around me.  For the Academy, the new season brings travel.  Before Spring is over, we’ll be in Baltimore (twice), San Diego, Las Vegas, Boston and Raleigh.  In that time, we will be working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), and the California Fire Prevention Institute (CFPI). Check out the Coming Events section of this newsletter for info on each location.     

I am so proud that we can introduce you to a member of the Academy Team in each of these early editions of Inside the Academy.  I feel privileged to work with the people on our team.  Every single day, I am reminded of the great experience these people make my life.  This month we introduce Michelle Potenberg.  She is the motivational leader of our team.  Her honesty and hard work make all of us want to be better.  As our team has fought to build the Academy, she would often look us all in the eyes and with some intensity say, “Forward Progress Always!”  For nearly a decade, we have repeated that phrase to each other many, many times.  

Michelle is the inspiration behind, and will be a strong leader in, our leadership training initiative.  Keep your eyes open for opportunities to grow professionally and personally as this offering rolls out over the next few months. (You know….. since we don’t already have enough going on….)  

I do hope you’ll be a part of our efforts to live up to the Academy motto: “Learning, Leading and Lasting”.  We hope to be of service to you as we work together to better our industry.  Let us know what you think.  You just might end up on our homepage!

Introducing Travis Mack

Posted on January 19, 2017

Travis Mack is one of the two new instructors joining the Academy Team.  
Travis has been in the fire sprinkler system design industry for 27 years.  He graduated from UM-St Louis with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.  He has been working as an independent consultant since 2001.  He attained his NICET IV in 2003.  He has taken classes in the Masters of Fire Protection Engineering program at Cal Poly - SLO.  He intends to sit for the FE exam in 2017 and hopes to attain his professional engineer registration as soon after as practical.  
Travis currently uses the AutoSprink software for design work.  He is also well versed in the 3D 'BIM' process.  He does work across the US and internationally. In his spare time, he does a fair bit of weight lifting.  Travis has competed and placed in the top 5 of regional body building and physique shows.  He has two daughters that are very active in dance making him one of those "dance dads". (Pictures of the "Dance Dad" to follow, we are sure.)

Introducing Paul Myers

Posted on January 18, 2017

Education has always been important to Paul Myers, the Academy’s Continuous Improvement Specialist and newest member of the staff. He’s from a family of educators with many of his relatives having worked for the Shelby County (TN) Schools.

“When I was a kid, like most families, our family got together a lot–especially during the holidays–and sure we’d eat, play games, and exchange gifts and stuff. But, what I’ll always remember are the discussions that ‘the adults’ had about the local schools. What was going right, but more so, how to make them better.”

Myers grew up in Memphis, but now considers Illinois his home. After arriving at Northwestern University in the summer of 1997, he fell in love with the Chicagoland area. While working at Northwestern University School of Law, Paul continued his education at DePaul University, earning a master’s degree in education. “I really felt that to make a difference...and to sort of keep the family tradition going, I had to teach”, Myers explained.

For the next six years, Paul worked in the collar suburbs of Chicago and Gary, Indiana, teaching history and mathematics, often to underprivileged students. He left the classroom, however, in 2012 to serve as an educational consultant and return to school. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying and researching educational policy. He notes, “As much as I enjoyed teaching, I felt like there were problems with schooling – conversations that I wanted to be a part of – that I could not address from my place in the classroom”.

He sees the work that he is doing now at the Academy as being a part of a natural progression.

“I’m really happy to be at the Academy. In education, there’s an ongoing discussion about career education and training. The Academy is uniquely situated both in the water-based fire protection industry, but also as a place of advanced learning. I think what drives the work here is a question that must be considered by adult educators everywhere: ‘How do we make sure that students and employers both get the best out of what we have to offer?’ ”

Currently, Paul’s duties with the Academy includes being the editor of Inside the Academy and data creation to help improve student outcomes. Data related efforts include analyzing previous tests given by Academy Exams, authoring surveys, and curriculum and pedagogy discussions with the academy’s teaching staff. Myers is enthusiastic about the work.

“I work with wonderful, intelligent people. I’m have engaging projects that will hopefully help us improve and serve more people. 2017’s gonna be a great year at the Academy.”

From the Director, January 2017

Posted on January 18, 2017

Hello from the Academy Exams office!

The Academy Exams program started 2017 off with some policy changes to our recertification process. In an effort to better serve our certified inspectors and provide service that better mirrors the industry, we've altered our certification statuses.

We now  recognize two certification statuses:

Active - current to expiration date
Expired - one day past expiration date and beyond

Because an inspector's certification status is dependent on his/her certification expiration date, inspectors need to be aware of that date. We provide electronic and written documentation of an inspector's current expiration date when an individual passes our exam or recertifies with us:
                  -an email notification of passing score or successful recertification
                  -a hard copy of the results or recertification letter
                  -a stamped and signed certificate
                  -a wallet card

In addition to these documents, we will do our best to remind our Academy certified inspectors of upcoming expiration dates--emails as their date approaches and passes--but ultimately, each inspector is responsible for his/her own certification requirements.

This flow chart depicts how an Academy Certification Status progresses over time.


Once a certification expiration date has passed, that certification is considered "Expired"; however, there are still opportunities for an inspector to recertify! As you can see, an inspector has up to a full year past his/her expiration date to recertify (with additional fees) before losing his/her certification and needing to register and test again.

We've extended these new parameters not only to those with Current certifications, but also to those whose certifications expired between August and December of 2016.

The fees for recertification are listed below.

The new recertification policy has been implemented and we've already recertified individuals whose certifications would have been considered expired under the old policy--the system seems to be much clearer and is working well. We're excited to see how certification renewals will be affected by these changes.

If you have any questions about our new policy, we'd love to hear from you. Feedback always helps us improve our service, and we welcome it!



Greetings from the Academy, January 2017

Posted on January 18, 2017

Welcome to this month’s edition of Inside the Academy, the monthly newsletter from The Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology for fire protection industry professionals.

All I can say is…. WOW!  The industry’s response to our newest classes has been awesome.  By the time we start our next Design Prep-school (45 days from now), we will have delivered 30 new designers to the industry.  One company has already sent five designers through the course. 

This effort has been so successful that we have had to increase our faculty and staff to enrich the new trainees’ learning and experience.   We welcome Travis Mack and Cliff Whitfield to the Academy’s Team of instructors.  You can read more about them here.  We’ve also added Rebekah Krejci and Paul Myers so we can keep giving you the service you deserve.  In this edition, you can learn more about Paul Myers in our “Introducing…” section below.

Look for even more new classes soon.  We are working on full NICET prep classes, and it won’t be long before we introduce our leadership and teamwork classes.

It is my incredible honor to work with the Academy’s Team.  I know you’ll be pleased by where we are headed.  I hope you’ll want to come with us. 


Tech Tip of the Month: 

You can use the “quick response reduction” rules when you are designing a retail or grocery store (any mercantile occupancy).  If you meet the five requirements in NFPA 13, Section, you might be able to flow around 40% less water when performing hydraulic calculations.  That may mean you could use smaller pipe sizes and a smaller water supply.  You could win the project with a lower bid.  Better yet, you may be able to save money buying and installing smaller pipe. (That last line means more profit!)

Here are the five basic requirements:

  1. Wet system
  2. A light hazard or ordinary hazard
  3. A maximum ceiling height of 20 ft.
  4. No unprotected ceiling pockets…
  5. No unprotected areas above cloud ceilings…

We teach this application to all of our students!.  Let us know if this Tech Tip is helpful for you.


Introducing Stacey Krejci

Posted on December 28, 2016

Stacey Krejci understands the double-edged sword of small businesses using new technological tools in an ever-changing environment.

Krejci serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the Academy. He also owns his own small business, designing websites for businesses and other nonprofits. Yet, the Champaign, IL, resident did not come about this career path conventionally.

While at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Krejci imagined a future in music: “My senior year, I joined a band. I thought that was what I was going to do. As you can imagine, my parents were ecstatic.” Krejci enjoyed the adventure of being in a band, but not the constant travel. After getting married, he decided it was time for a new career and enrolled in a course that taught him web design in 1995. An autodidact and entrepreneur, Krejci parlayed his newly developed skills into technology-driven positions in education. Later, he started his web design business when the writing was on wall in the form of a state budget crisis which might have cut into the funding of his position.

 “In 2010, I thought, ‘This is my chance.' I had always wanted to start my own business, so I decide to go for it. I’ve been working for myself ever since.”

 Krejci has been working with the Academy in some capacity since 2010. He uses his skills to thoughtfully enhance the capacity and communication efforts of the Academy with an “awareness of how technology affects people both emotionally and cognitively.” 

With an eye toward the fire protection industry, Krejci thinks deeply about “using technology to increase control [for students, exam takers, and designers seeking recertification] of one’s information—to sign up whenever you want, to pay whenever you want, and eventually, to take the tests whenever you want. It gives you freedom.” He also recognizes that although this control can be beneficial, ultimately, he knows that some people are more comfortable with technology than others, and he must accommodate a diverse group of users and meet them where they are. 

He is currently developing an option for tablet-based testing for the Academy’s Inspector I and Inspector II exams and, along with Cecil Bilbo, producing asynchronous, on-demand design courses. He's aware that these steps must be taken carefully: “It’s not kind to just demand that people use new and ever-changing tools, especially for those that are not comfortable with the technology, We are working hard to be as humane as we can in all this.”

From the Director, December 2016

Posted on December 28, 2016

Hello, from the Academy Exams office!

Academy Exams is getting ready to hold our 40th exam event, coming up in Miami on January 20th--and there's still time to register! We're so excited to be providing such an important service to a vital industry, and we're proud that we're becoming a preferred choice for certification in the great state of Florida.

As a small organization, we strive to offer the best personal service we can to our clients. We've made it our goal as a team to respond to every phone call or email message by no later than the end of the day we receive it.  We are even changing our phone system to better help us with this goal!

We're also moving to a set quarterly exam schedule, beginning in 2017, to better help companies and inspectors plan for their testing needs.  The quarterly exams will rotate throughout the state to offer opportunities for those in all regions. Additionally, we will be sprinkling in (see what we did there?) supplementary exam events here and there at locations spanning the state. Want an exam event near you? Let us know! We want to go where we're needed. Further, we hope to add company-requested exams in the future--look for this option soon.

2017 marks other changes, as well; our Recertification Program will be getting an update, so be on the lookout for emails detailing that. Also, we'll be updating and refreshing our exam question database. It's constant movement forward here at the Academy!

Academy Exams is striving to improve our service to you! And we want to hear from you--let us know what we do well and what we can work on. Your feedback is important to us. Drop me a line at michelle@sprinkleracademy.com. And per our new communication goal, look to get a response by the end of the day you message us!

Have a very Happy New Year!

Michelle Potenberg

Director, Academy Exams

Greetings from the Academy

Posted on December 28, 2016

Cecil Bilbo,Welcome to the inaugural edition of Inside the Academy, a monthly newsletter from The Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology for fire protection industry professionals, including the Academy’s present and former students. Our goal is to provide useful and timely information in a easy-to navigate, bite-size format. We encourage feedback from you, our audience, so that each month we are able to better serve you. Also, we want you to share this newsletter as much as possible with your co-workers and other industry professionals who may be interested in the content that we provide. In the upcoming months, you can expect to see the following sections and contributions in Inside the Academy:

  • New at the Academy. This section highlights news at the academy centered around our courses, curriculum, and staff.
  • From the Director’s Desk. Our Director, Michelle Potenberg, offers insights related to academy and the field, at large. 
  • Introducing. This section introduces members of our staff, Board of Directors, affiliates, and others in the field. 
  • News from the Field. Updates in state laws, codes, and other pertinent information will be featured here.
  • Upcoming Events. Academy courses, other training opportunities, and industry gatherings will be listed here. 
  • Guest Columns. Industry experts and friends of the academy will offer their expertise for those new to the industry and those seeking to learn more.
  • All in Good Fun. Humor and musings. 

Thank you and we look forward to your feedback.


The Fire Protection Research Foundation has released their final report on “Fire Protection for Cloud Ceilings”.  The Academy was privileged to participate on the technical panel for this project. 

Read the report here: 


Nearly 400 Certifications earned from the Academy Exams program in the state of Florida!

The Academy Exams is a certification program offered by the Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology. Individuals that have achieved the Inspector II Certification from the Academy are eligible to apply for a permit from the Florida State Fire Marshal to perform the inspection, testing and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems. Individuals that achieve the Inspector I Certification are eligible to apply for a provisional permit.
The program was initiated by the Florida Fire Sprinkler Association, a chapter of the NFSA, and created by stakeholders from all across Florida, including the AFSA's Florida Chapter. The first certifications were delivered in September of 2012.
Congratulations to all those that have received their Academy Certifications!

Inspectors may apply for a state permit after receiving the Academy’s Certification.  Apply for the Academy’s Certification here:  www.academyexams.com

Earn CEUs via our new GoLearning continuing education classes, featuring our primary instructor, Cecil Bilbo.

See the GoLearning Courses

Upcoming Classes


Calculating Simple Loops - Live Online Classes - Mar 21-23, 2017

Learn how to manually perform Hydraulic Calculations through a looped piping arrangement. Learn from the author of the calculation supplement in the NFPA 13 Handbook.

Attend these live and interactive lessons to receive very personal and individualized training.

Can you spare two and a half hours a day for three days?  We will meet daily from March 21 until March 23 (Tuesday-Thursday) from noon to 2:30pm CST. 


The Academy is pleased to bring you a FREE On-Demand Lesson.
"The Introduction to Most Remote Areas" is available to anyone that has created a profile on the Academy website.

29 minutes                      Beginner

Excellent Class for: AHJ’s, Contractors, Designers, Enforcers, Engineers

This course will guide the participant through the requirements for sizing a remote area found in NFPA 13.  Participants in this class will learn the basic concepts for sizing a remote area.  Students that complete this course will be able to:

-          Select the remote area size from figure in NFPA 13

-          Identify when the ‘Quick Response Reduction’ may be applied         

-          Determine the correct reduction in remote area size permitted with the ‘Quick Response Reduction’

-          Determine when the size of a remote area needs to be increased

-          Determine the required minimum length of a remote area.

Click to see the class page and register for "The Introduction to Most Remote Areas"