Nearly 1,400 industry professionals attended the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) 26th annual Convention and Exhibition, which was held Sept. 26-30 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge hotel in Phoenix, AZ. This attendance mark was up six percent from last year.

Those in attendance included fire sprinkler contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, architects, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and other industry professionals. The exhibition was held in the hotel’s Grand Canyon Ballroom and featured 157 booths showcasing the products and services of 123 companies.

The convention also included nearly 30 educational seminars, which drew representatives from a record 177 contractor companies - compared to 147 contractor companies in 2006. For the 15th straight year, AFSA offered local AHJs a free plan review seminar, followed by a workshop on residential sprinkler ordinances.

On day two of the event, in a taped message, Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin (D) thanked the association for naming him its Fire Sprinkler Advocate of the Year for his efforts to pass legislation aimed at making fire sprinklers more accessible to businesses.

Also during the general session, AFSA Chairman of the Board Manning Strickland, Strickland Fire Protection, Inc., College Park, MD, presented the 2007 Henry S. Parmelee Award to Tom Groos, chairman of Viking Group, Grand Rapids, MI.

During the afternoon exhibition on day three, the nation’s top seven fire sprinkler fitter apprentices (from a record 185 apprentices who entered this year’s contest) competed in AFSA’s National Apprentice Competition installing mini-sprinkler systems before a large crowd.

Three apprentice competition winners and four honorable mentions were announced during the Route 66 Street Party and Awards Ceremony, which closed the 2007 convention.