First place winner Joe Headrick of Rapid Fire Protection, Inc.

Joe Headrick Wins National Competition

Rapid Fire doesn't do anything small, and that includes competition. We are here to represent! This year, that is exactly what we did. Rapid Fire had the privilege of sending one of our aspiring apprentices to the National American Fire Sprinkler Competition held in San Diego, CA. Joe Headrick, an apprentice out of our North Dakota Region, was our competitor and represent he did. Joe brought it!  He placed 1st in the 2019 AFSA Competition. He took each feat with ease. Completing his written test in just under 30 minutes and moving into the installation with fluency. The awards ceremony was filled with excitement and apprehension.  But Joe’s skill stood alone and his excellence was rewarded!

Joe came to Rapid Fire in August of 2017.  He has accelerated through his books at a breakneck pace, showing mastery for the trade with each pipe installed.    

Randy Ables, the North Dakota Regional Manager and Dan Chrest, the North  Dakota Regional Labor Superintendent, both have laid testament to Joe’s work ethic, heart to be part of the team and diligence to get the job done right!  He has been a shining star in our Northern Region.     

When asked to share his thoughts on his journey, Joe said it so perfectly.  “It is quite an experience and I think everyone should try their best to get there.”  What a true testament that hard work and perseverance do yield reward! Joe, we are proud of you and can’t wait to see the big things you will contribute to our Rapid Fire Team!  We feel we have only hit the tip of the iceberg on the value you will create by being one of our own.

It is quite an experience and I think everyone should try their best to get there.

Joe Headrick
2019 AFSA Champion,

Following is the AFSA Competition 2019 press release from the American Fire Sprinkler Association:

DALLAS, TX - The 26th Annual National Apprentice Competition at the American Fire Sprinkler Association's AFSA38: Convention, Exhibition & Apprentice Competition in San Diego, California on October 4 was a showcase of top apprentice talent in the fire sprinkler industry. Almost 1,500 spectators gathered in a crowded exhibit hall to observe as the apprentices constructed and pressure-tested a mini fire sprinkler system.

Joe Headrick of Rapid Fire Protection, Inc., Bismarck, North Dakota won first place in this year's Annual Apprentice Competition as well as a cash prize of $5,000. Ricky Sutter of JPI Development Group, Inc., Murrieta, California, won second place and a $3,000 cash prize, while Federico Martinez, Jr. with Western Fire Protection, Inc., Poway, California, took home third place along with a cash prize of $2,000. 

Honorable mentions and $1,000 cash prizes were awarded to: Fernando Arias, A&D Fire Sprinklers, Inc., Anaheim, California; Kevin Trella, Central Connecticut Fire Protection Inc., Meriden, Connecticut; Brian Feeney, Piper Fire Protection, Inc., Clearwater, Florida; and Jared Whitten, Sunland Fire Protection, Jamestown, North Carolina.

The competition began in June with written examinations proctored at libraries throughout the United States. The top seven scoring apprentices won expense-paid trips to compete in the national competition, held at AFSA38. During the competition finals, participants took another, more thorough written examination and installed a steel and CPVC sprinkler system with pendent and sidewall heads. The systems were pressure-tested and participants were graded on accuracy, craftsmanship and safety.

Started in 1994 by the late Robert L. (Bob) McCullough, then chair of AFSA's Apprenticeship & Education Committee, the Annual National Apprentice Competition was created to promote apprentice training and give recognition to the apprentices who are actively enrolled in the AFSA Apprenticeship Program. Over 25 years later, the competition continues to bring fire sprinkler apprentices from AFSA local chapter and member training programs from all corners of United States together in the association's foremost showcase of excellence in training among future industry leaders.

Tools, materials and support for this year's competition were provided by AllSouth Sprinkler Company; Alwest Fire Protection; Anvil International; Armstrong Fluid Technology; BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems; Brendle Sprinkler Co.; Central Connecticut Fire Protection, Inc.; Crawford Sprinkler Co. of S.C., Inc.; Deep Blue Integration, Inc.; Eastern Fire & Safety, LLC; Etna Supply; Foothill Fire Protection, Inc.; Hampshire Fire Protection Co.; Jimco Fire Protection, Inc.; Kaufman Fire Protection; Metro Fire & Safety Equipment Co.; Milwaukee Valve Co., Inc.; Modern Sprinkler Inc.; Noble Company; Parsley Consulting; Permabond Engineering Adhesives; Rapid Fire Protection, Inc.; Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company; RIGID; Southeast Fire Protection; Telgian Corporation; United Fire and Safety; Vanport Mechanical & Fire Sprinklers, Inc.; Victaulic; Viper Tradeshow Services; Western Fire Protection, Inc.; and 900 Industries Incorporated.

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