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The John J. Ahern President's Award
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The John J. Ahern President's Award

Originally created by the SFPE Board of Directors in 1987 as the President's Award, The John J. Ahern President's Award honors individuals whose conspicuous contributions deserve very special recognition by the Society and its leadership. The Award was renamed in 1993 to honor the Society's first president, John J. Ahern, P.E., who was elected in May 1951.


Ahern was professor and director of the Department of Fire Protection and Safety Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1948, Ahern was appointed chairman of a special NFPA Committee to consider the professional status of fire protection engineering and make recommendations on actions needed to further promote it as a profession. A key finding from this work was the recommendation to create the Society of Fire Protection Engineers within NFPA.


In addition to his work with NFPA and SFPE, Ahern served as director of security at General Motors Corporation, where his responsibilities spanned fire protection, safety and industrial security. 


2016 Recipient

Russell P. Fleming, P.E., FSFPE

Russ began his career with the National Fire Sprinkler Association in 1975 following receipt of bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and became active in SFPE shortly thereafter. He rose through the offices of the New York Metropolitan Chapter to become chapter president in 1982, and was honored by the chapter in 1992 as its “Engineer of the Year.” At the level of the international society his earliest involvement included service on the SFPE Qualifications Board, and as chair of a committee to update the Society’s Code of Ethics.  He taught classes for the SFPE and has been responsible for the chapter on automatic sprinkler systems in all five editions of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering. He was elected a fellow of the Society in 1995. He served on the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2009, and was President in 2008. He was a charter member of both the SFPE technical steering committee and the Editorial Board for SFPE’s Fire Protection Engineering magazine, the latter of which he has served on since 1999, and was until recently a member of the Honors Committee. During this same period he was also very active in the NFPA, and is one of only a handful of individuals honored with both of that organization’s highest awards, the Paul Lamb Award and the Standards Medal. His career at the NFSA led to his service as President from 2012 to 2015, and while he has since stepped back to an advisory role, he continues to serve as Managing Director of the NFSA’s sister organization, the International Fire Sprinkler Association. 

Prior Recipients

  • David A. Lucht, P.E. (1988)
  • Philip J. DiNenno, P.E. (1989)
  • Dr. Craig L. Beyler (1990)
  • G. Thomas Castino, P.E. (1991)
  • Jane I. Lataille, P.E. (1992)
  • Donald G. Bathurst, P.E. (1993)
  • Dr. Vaughan R. Beck (1994)
  • Dr. James A. Milke, PE (1995)
  • Marian H. Long, P.E., CSP (1996)
  • Paul M. Fitzgerald, P.E. (1997)
  • Harold D. Brandes, P.E. (1998)
  • J. Kenneth Richardson, P.Eng. (1999)
  • David A. Lucht, P.E. (2000)
  • Phillip J. DiNenno, P.E. (2000)
  • Harold D. Brandes, P.E. (2000)
  • J. Kenneth Richardson, P.Eng. (2000)
  • John J. Ahern, P.E. (2000)
  • John A. Neale (2000)
  • Elmer F. Reske (2000)
  • William G. Schultz (2000)
  • James J. Duggan (2000)
  • Warren J. Baker (2000)
  • John N. Pryce (2000)
  • Joseph E. Johnson, P.E. (2000)
  • Robert A. Pedersen (2000)
  • Edward F. Tabisz (2000)
  • Martin M. Brown (2000)
  • James W. Nolan, P.E. (2000)
  • William H. McClarran, P.E. (2000)
  • Harry C. Bigglestone, II, P.E. (2000)
  • Jack Bono, P.E. (2000)
  • Maurice R. Boulais, P.E. (2000)
  • Harold E. Nelson, P.E. (2000)
  • Ralph E. Collins, III, P.E. (2000)
  • Rolf Jensen, P.E. (2000)
  • Walter W. G. Miller, P.Eng. (2000)
  • Richard J. Morley (2000)
  • Kenneth W. Dungan, P.E. (2000)
  • H. Homer Wallace, P.E. (2000)
  • James R. Quiter, P.E. (2000)
  • David D. Evans, P.E., Ph.D. (2000)
  • John E. Woycheese, P.E. (2000)
  • SFPE Staff (2001)
  • Phillip J. DiNenno, P.E. (2002)
  • Arthur E. Cote, P.E. (2003)
  • Chester W. Schirmer, P.E. (2004)
  • Thomas A. Gray, P.E. (2005)
  • Martin H. Reiss, P.E., FSFPE (2006)
  • Samuel S. Dannaway, P.E., FSFPE (2007)
  • Richard L. P. Custer, FSFPE (2008)
  • Raymond A. Grill, P.E., FSFPE (2009)
  • Frederick W. Mowrer, Ph.D., P.E., FSFPE (2010)
  • Richard J. Davis, P.E., FSFPE (2011)
  • William E. Kofffel, Jr., P.E., FSFPE (2012)
  • Dr. John L. Bryan, FSFPE (2013)
  • Jeffrey M. Shapiro, P.E., FSFPE (2014)
  • Jimmy Jönsson (2015)

  • Russell P. Fleming, P.E., FSFPE (2016)


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