About Us

The Academy Exams is an offering of the Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology, Inc.  We are located in Champaign, Illinois, USA.  We created the world’s first degree program for Fire Sprinkler Designers that is offered at Parkland College.   Cecil Bilbo is President of the Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology, Mark G Karr is Vice President of the Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology and Manager of Academy Exams and Michelle Potenberg is the Director of the Academy Exams. 

In October of 2008, the Florida Fire Sprinkler Association asked the Academy of Fire Sprinkler Technology to develop and deliver an alternative certification to the NICET Program.  They asked the Academy to create a certification for those that inspect, test and maintain water-based fire protection systems.  The Academy investigated the requirements to establish this alternative testing program.  In October of 2009, the Academy had determined that the alternative testing was not only possible but very much needed. 

The Academy wanted to ensure that all stakeholders were represented in the development of the Inspectors test for the State of Florida.  In April of 2010, the Academy published dates for stakeholder meetings to be held in the Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale areas of the state.   The May 2010 meetings were well received and progress was made on the Inspector I qualifications, requirements, and testing subjects. 

The Academy wanted to ensure a broad collection of input and extended invitations to the Florida Fire Sprinkler Association (FFSA), the Florida Fire Marshal and Inspectors Association (FFMIA), and the Florida Chapter of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) to participate in a final Stakeholder’s Meeting before question writing began.  In June 2010, the Palm Beach County Fire Department hosted a meeting that included individuals representing each of these organizations.  Inspector II qualifications, requirements, and testing subjects were discussed and validated by those in attendance.

Some of the original stakeholders included:

  • Justin Gey, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.
  • Pete Schwab, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.
  • John Lake, Jr., Wiginton Fire Systems, Inc.
  • Alan Wiginton, Wiginton Fire Systems, Inc.
  • John Duffin, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.
  • Neal Baluha, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
  • Lorrell Bush, Florida Fire Sprinkler Association
  • Joel Summerfield, Wiginton Fire Systems, Inc.
  • Phil Blackmer, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.
  • Kirby Black, Absolute Fire Protection
  • Linda Cox, Cox Fire Protection, inc.
  • Ron Cox, Cox Fire Protection, Inc.
  • Jesse Lapin-Bertone, City of Tamarac, FL
  • Antonia Palermo, Grunau Company
  • John Tomaszewski, Delray Beach Fire Rescue
  • Paul Varga, DaBo Fire Inspection and Service, Inc.
  • Michael J Friedman, Friedman Consulting, Baltimore, MD
  • Chuck Akers, American Fire Sprinkler Association