Sprinkler Academy

About the Academy

We are a leader in the development and delivery of world-class training for the fire sprinkler industry.

We offer training for new and experienced professionals. 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.

Fire sprinklers save lives, and the Academy is committed to contributing to the industry in a real and significant way. We accomplish this by giving our students the knowledge and skills needed to perform high-quality work with efficiency. We also help experienced professionals update their knowledge of codes and standards. Being involved in the development of the codes and standards gives us a unique position from which to provide the best training available.


Code Development

  • Through our volunteer work with the National Fire Protection Association, we represent the industry on major code committees that have a direct impact on public safety.
  • Our representation on the NFPA 13 Committee directly affects the rules for the design and installation of fire sprinkler systems worldwide. NFPA 13 is The Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems.
  • The Academy’s work on the NFPA 3 and 4 Committee helps to shape the requirements for the design, installation, and continuous upkeep of fire and life safety systems that interact within the built environment. NFPA 3 is The Recommended Practice for the Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. NFPA 4 is the Standard for the Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems.
  • The Academy is also involved with the NFPA 25 Committee. We help the committee create and modify the rules found in NFPA 25. NFPA 25 is The Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems.
  • The Academy’s work on the NFPA 14 Committee has made an impact on the rules for systems in the built environment that firefighters use during fire events. NFPA 14 is The Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems.


Mark G. Karr, Vice President
Director of Work Study

Mark serves as the Academy's Director of Work/Study. To fulfill the duties of this position, Mr. Karr ensures quality and meaningful real-world projects for each of the Academy's students. He serves as a liaison between the Academy and sponsoring contractors.

Mr. Karr is well suited for this position. He has over 20 years of experience as a fire sprinkler system design technician, receiving his Ohio certification in 1995. In 1998 he began his current role as President of MG Fire Design, Inc., located in Ohio. Outside of the Academy, Mr. Karr works closely with contractors, developers, property managers, architects, and business owners. Mr. Karr holds a NICET Level IV Certification in Water-Based Systems Layout.

Other qualifications include his current service on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Fire Safety Coalition, and affiliation with the National Fire Sprinkler Association, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

Mark is married to his high school sweetheart, Lynne. They have three wonderful children.


Cecil Bilbo, President
Director of Engineering Technology

Cecil serves as the Academy's Director of Engineering Technology. As a faculty member of Parkland College, Mr. Bilbo is responsible for developing and delivering curriculum to students.

Mr. Bilbo has more than twenty five years of experience in the fire sprinkler industry. Bilbo started in the field, installing sprinkler pipe, in 1986. While working as a fire sprinkler design technician, he received NICET certification in 1992. He was formerly the Director of Technical Services for the NFSA Engineering Department, where he created and taught classes on Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based systems to over 3,000 people. He has been a contributing author to the NFSA's textbook for layout technicians, the NFPA 3 - Commissioning Handbook, and the NFPA 13 - Sprinkler Systems Handbook.

He is also a member of the following committees:

NFPA 3Committee on the Commissioning of Fire and Life Safety Systems
NFPA 4Committee on Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems
NFPA 13Installation Criteria Committee
NFPA 14Committee on Standpipes
NFPA 25Committee on the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Systems
NFSAEngineering and Standards Committee
AFSATechnical Advisory Council

Other qualifications include his role in the development, support, and training associated with the SprinkCAD and MEPCAD software packages.





The Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology could not exist without the help of its growing support base. The following names represent those businesses, organizations, and individuals that have made contributions.