Meet Alec, our Technical Manager, who is generally your first point of contact for technical enquiries. He tells more about his extensive experience in technical support and about his toughest challenge: encouraging a more proactive approach in the passive fire protection industry!
I joined the technical team at Quelfire in February 2020, embarking on a new and exciting career in the world of passive fire protection. Over the course of my work history, I have managed to be involved in a variety of different roles and experiences, which have helped me expand my knowledge across a wide scope of subjects. After leaving school, I joined the British Army in the Royal Corp of Signals as a telecommunications specialist. My eight-year military service allowed me to work technically with many different communication systems, work in several different countries, and complete four operational tours in the Middle East.
My knowledge of certain communication equipment was the reason I was approached to work for NATO as a telecommunication consultant and ran a technical helpdesk in Afghanistan. Here, I was able to provide technical support, install communication equipment, perform repair and maintenance, and provide training. The training became so successful that I was able to develop and run a training course in the NATO School for Signals in Latina, Italy.
I finished my time with NATO in 2015 and joined the technical department at Industrial Scientific, who specialise in the field of gas detection. Although this was a new area for me, I was quickly able to expand my knowledge and was able to, once again, provide technical advice, equipment installation, and onsite training. During my time here, I not only increased my technical experience and understanding, but began to look more into the scientific and chemistry side of applications and processes.
Then I came to Quelfire and during my time here I have been determined to increase my passive fire protection knowledge and have successfully undertaken and passed my IFE level 3 in passive fire protection.
After being in the industry for two years, my qualifications and knowledge allowed me to be accepted as a technician into the Institute of Fire Engineers, allowing me to use the prefix TIFireE.
My dedication to my passive fire protection training also allowed me to be one of the finalists for the ASFP Training and Development award in 2021. I went on to successfully win the award in 2022.
This continued development has helped in my mission to provide the best technical support I can for Quelfire’s customers but also to other members of the passive fire protection community.
To provide technical assistance for the passive fire protection industry. Quelfire’s current primary focus is passive fire protection for service penetration and linear gaps, we have a very large library of tested applications. Our technical team assist a variety of different customers from architects, design teams, and fire stoppers as just a few examples. We help our customers navigate through our information to find the right tested solution that matches their application.
The hardest challenge now is trying to help change the culture of passive fire protection in general, from a reactive response to a more proactive approach. Unfortunately, not every scenario can be tested, and applications where no thought has been taken on how service penetrations will need to be efficiently fire stopped, usually end up causing delays, and lead to frustrations between installers and main contractors. Ultimately, they require an untested detail that needs a qualified fire engineer to make a judgement to make it compliant, which then means more costs.
Changing this way of thinking is my hardest challenge but, hopefully, by doing more work with design teams, architects, and main contractors, and having a new forward-thinking approach, my hardest challenge will become my most rewarding success.
I enjoy that every day is different, every enquiry brings its unique challenges and rewards. I also enjoy expanding my knowledge in a complex field and being able to use this knowledge to benefit others.
I enjoy working with our research and development team and seeing our existing product scope being extended in more and more service penetration application types. I believe we have one of the largest amounts of service penetration tested solutions in the UK, and I am extremely excited about future ideas and plans we have . . . watch this space!!!
I have also been very proud of the work I am doing with several main contractors, who have embraced the early engagement steps. This means that their design teams are planning their projects with firestopping for service penetrations at an early enough stage to ensure that they have a tested solution.
I enjoy working with an exceptional team that works as a well-oiled machine, where everyone realises that every cog (person) is vital for the machine (Quelfire) to perform successfully. Every day is different and I enjoy the challenge to provide proven tested solutions for service penetrations to our customers.
I have been lucky to have been able to explore a wide range of experiences that interest me. From outdoor activities such as rock climbing, parachuting, and kayaking to travelling across many parts of the world to experience different cultures and witnessing fantastic sites such as the northern lights, the Grand Canyon, and many fine examples of architecture and art that the world has to offer. Currently, I enjoy spending time with my daughter, allowing her to experience new and exciting things whilst teaching her skills and rewarding lessons in life.