Bob Caputo – CFPS – American Fire Sprinkler Association

Bob Caputo, president of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), is chair of the NFPA 24 and NFPA 291 technical committees and a member of multiple NFPA technical committees, including NFPA 13 and NFPA 25. Caputo is a contributor of the NFPA 13 and NFPA 25 Handbooks, and the NFPA Inspection Manual. A senior member of NFPA and AFSA faculties, Caputo has written and presented seminars worldwide on fire protection and life safety systems and is a regular speaker at AFSA and NFPA conventions. Caputo is an instructor at the National Fire Academy and an advisory board member at Oklahoma State University School of Fire Protection Engineering & Safety. Caputo’s industry distinctions include “Fire Prevention Officer of the Year” from San Diego County in 1994, “Man of the Year” from Fire Protection Contractor magazine in 1997, and the Henry S. Parmelee award from AFSA in 2017. Caputo attended the University of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is a U.S. Navy veteran and former volunteer firefighter.

Chip Hollis – NICET President

At NICET, Mr. Hollis is responsible for implementing the policies and directions established by the NICET Board of Governors and daily operations. He promotes the value of NICET certification to technicians, employers, contract specifiers, AHJs and other stakeholders. He strives to create a customer friendly environment and improve processes while preserving the rigor and integrity of NICET certifications.

Prior to joining NICET in 2006, Mr. Hollis spent most of his career in marketing and communication in the association sector. Additionally, he spent three years performing financial analysis in the telecom industry.

Mr. Hollis holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration: Marketing from California State University, Long Beach. He earned recognition as a Certified Association Executive in January 2023 from the American Society of Association Executives.

Jeffrey LeBlanc CSP, ASP, CIT, CSHO, SSH – Querbes & Nelson

Jeffrey LeBlanc is Director of the Loss Control Department at Querbes & Nelson Risk Management Firm in Shreveport, LA since 2010. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Louisiana Tech University in 1992. His insurance career started in 1994 working as a claims and accident specialist for three major insurance companies over a fifteen-year time span. Jeffrey has an extensive background in property and casualty claims in both commercial and residential applications.

He is certified through Board of Certified Safety Professionals and has attained his Associate Safety Professional (ASP) #27324, Certified Safety Professional (CSP) #36227, and Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT) #13999 designations. He has also received his Certified Safety and Health Official (CSHO) designation in Construction and his Specialist in Safety & Health (SSH) designations in General Industry from the University of Texas at Arlington.

He is a Medic First Aid CPR and First Aid Certified Instructor, PEC Safeland Certified Instructor, PEC Pipeline Certified Instructor, OSHA 500 Construction outreach trainer, H2S Safety Trainer, and HSI Medic First Aid/ AVERT Active shooter trainer. He is a licensed insurance agent in Property & Casualty and Life & Health in the State of Louisiana.

Jeffrey specializes in jobsite hazards mitigation, crisis claims management, Experience modifier analysis/projections, OSHA inspections/investigations, and third-party administrator software compliance for his customers.

Allison C. Foster – Querbes & Nelson

Allison C. Foster serves as General Counsel and Director of Claims at Querbes & Nelson. Ms. Foster received a Bachelor of Science degree in General Business in 2006 from Louisiana State University, Magna Cum Laude, and her Juris Doctor degree along with a Graduate Diploma in Civil Law in 2009 from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She was admitted to practice law in Louisiana in 2009.

In her role as General Counsel and Director of Claims at Querbes & Nelson, Ms. Foster generates claim review documents for clients and conducts claim review meetings with clients as often as requested – monthly, quarterly, biannually, annually – it is entirely up to the client. Ms. Foster also acts as an agency claims advocate, closely following claims and remaining in contact with adjusters regularly.

Prior to joining Querbes & Nelson, Ms. Foster practiced insurance defense at Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway in Shreveport. While at Cook Yancey, Ms. Foster represented insureds in a wide variety of insurance-related litigation, including premises liability, automobile and trucking accidents, general liability, malpractice defense, among many others. Prior to joining Cook Yancey, Ms. Foster practiced in Shreveport as staff counsel for Allstate Insurance Company, representing Allstate, Esurance, and Encompass and their insureds in automobile accident litigation. As a former insurance defense litigator, Ms. Foster is uniquely equipped to assist clients with many aspects of claims litigation, including working closely with retained counsel, recommending litigation strategies, and attending mediations as a client representative.

John Denhardt – P.E., ET, CWBSP, FSFPE – American Fire Sprinkler Association

John August Denhardt, P.E., ET, CWBSP, FSFPE, is the vice president of engineering and technical services for the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). He is responsible for strengthening AFSA’s engineering and technical approaches to meeting member, industry, and operational priorities, with an emphasis on service, quality, and integrity. Denhardt is a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in the District of Columbia and the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is NICET Level III certified in water-based systems layout, NICET Level III certified in inspection and testing of water-based systems, and a certified waterbased system professional through NFPA. Denhardt is a member of the NFPA 13 technical committee on sprinkler system discharge criteria, a fellow in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), a member of the SFPE Board of Directors, a member of the Board of Trustees for NFPA’s Fire Protection Research Foundation and sits on the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering’s Board of Visitors. A native of Maryland, Denhardt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland College Park in fire protection engineering. Prior to this role, Denhardt was employed by Strickland Fire Protection in Forestville, Maryland, since 1994, overseeing large-scale projects and assisting with design and installation technical issues.

Kevin Hall, M.Eng., P.E., ET, CWBSP, PMSFPE • American Fire Sprinkler Association

Kevin Hall, M.Eng., P.E., ET, CWBSP, PMSFPE, is the senior manager of engineering and technical services for the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA). He is a member of several National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committees responsible for developing the model codes and standards, including, NFPA 1 Fire Code, NFPA 13/13R/13D Installation of Sprinkler Systems, NFPA 20 Installation of Stationary Fire Pumps for Fire Protection, NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, and NFPA 915 Remote Inspections. He also represents AFSA on numerous UL standard technical panels responsible for revising and maintaining the product standards used in the sprinkler industry. He is a registered professional engineer in Delaware and Maryland, NICET III certified in water-based system layout, a certified water-based system professional through NFPA, and a professional member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees from the University of Maryland College Park in fire protection engineering. In 2021, he was recognized as one of SFPE’s “5 Under 35” award recipients. Prior to his association and committee work, he worked for Reliance Fire Protection in Baltimore, Maryland as a project manager overseeing projects of various sizes and complexity for the Contracts Division.

Joshua McDonald, MSET, CFPS, CWBSP, WBITM • American Fire Sprinkler Association

Joshua McDonald, MSET, CFPS, CWBSP, WBITM, is the manager of technical services for the American Fire Sprinkler Association. He is responsible for developing, updating, and delivering technical content. He has experience in all areas of training for fire protection industry professionals, including web-based and hands-on learning. As a manufacturer, McDonald has been involved in the research and development of new fire protection products and has experience with risk engineering applying to the installation of fire protection systems. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in fire protection and safety engineering technology and a Master of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in fire safety and explosion protection. McDonald is a member of NFPA and SFPE.

George Nicola – Technical Services Manager – Reliable Sprinkler

George has over thirty-three years in the fire protection industry including design, sales, and management experience. George was previously licensed as a Fire Protection Contractor in the state of Florida and has been with Reliable since 2011. He has served as a Board of Director member for various Fire Protection organizations. George holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Youngstown State University and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also an NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS).

Cole Rigney – National Sales Manager – Tornatech

Cole Rigney has been part of the Tornatech team for over 9 years. He is the National Sales Manager of Tornatech in the United States and a resident of Alabama. He works closely with fire pump OEMs, the pump OEM rep networks, the engineering community and the Tornatech appointed factory sales representatives and service providers throughout the country.

Skip Westbrook – Territory Manager • Johnson Controls

Skip Westbrook is a Territory Manager with Johnson Controls, Inc. Skip has 25 years of experience in the fire protection industry including both contracting and manufacturing. He is responsible for the Chemguard and Ansul brands of foam hardware and foam agents for systems in the South-Central Region. Skip joined the Chemguard team in 2004 and began representing the Ansul brand as well in 2018. His area of expertise is in flammable liquid fire protection that includes hazard analysis, protection schemes, and systems hardware requirements down to a components level basis. Skip is considered a leader by his peers in the industry and is often sought for consultation for flammable liquid hazards as well as troubleshooting existing systems. Skip has instructed in manufacturer seminars and webinars, and also has instructed at national conferences for SFPE and ASFA. He was a service manager with a large contractor before coming to the manufacturing side of the business. Skip still enjoys the opportunity to work in the field performing start-up and commissioning for foam systems of all types. Skip is knowledgeable in sprinkler systems, clean agent systems and fire alarm systems. He is also a licensed fire alarm technician in the state of Texas.

Jeff Graham – Business Development – Viking

Jeff has spent the last 12 years of his 20 year career in fire protection with the Viking Corporation. Over the last couple of decades Jeff has held various roles including working directly with fire protection contractors, working with architects and engineers to handling interactions with many fortune 500 companies to help them with their fire protection needs. Jeff is currently active in many SFPE, ASPE, AFSA, and NFSA chapters throughout the Central United States. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M and has an MBA from the University of Houston.

For any questions, please contact:

Ellen Ballard

Louisiana, LFSA Chapter Executive Director
Office: 318.841.1494
Mobile: 318.393.9565

Joy Willis

Alabama Chapter ED
Mobile: 334.546.3815