Foundation Staff

Meet Our Staff 

The SFPE Foundation is a global non-profit organization that supports research and education to improve the scientific understanding of fire and its interaction with the natural and build environments. Affiliated with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Inc., the SFPE Foundation leverages support from external grants and individual, corporate, and SFPE chapter donations to fund professional awards, student scholarships, and research grants; lead cross-sectoral research collaborations; conduct research workshops and meetings; develop new initiatives to support the next generation of fire protection engineers; and disseminate knowledge to advance the field of fire engineering and fire safety science globally. 

With strategic oversight from the Board of Governors, the SFPE Foundation is supported by a full-time staff whose work is essential to delivering impact in support of our mission and ensuring transparent, reliable, and effective administration of the funds entrusted to our care. Learn more about our staff below! 


Leslie Marshall, Ph.D. 

Director, SFPE Foundation 

Pronouns: She/her/hers 

Location: Colorado, USA 



As the inaugural Director of the SFPE Foundation, Dr. Marshall oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s programming, represents the Foundation in external partnerships and activities, drives organizational strategy and operations, liaises with the Board of Governors, and supervises all SFPE Foundation staff.  

Prior to joining the SFPE Foundation, Dr. Marshall served as founding Associate Director of the Center for Sustainable Business at the University of Pittsburgh, overseeing all aspects of the center’s programming. In that role, she was also Co-Principal Investigator, Project Manager, and Lead Author for the Marshall Plan for Middle America (MP4MA) Roadmap, an award-winning, non-partisan, multi-sectoral research effort to envision a more equitable and sustainable regional economic future for the Ohio River Valley and Upper Appalachia.  

Her academic work has been published in top academic journals, including the Journal of Experimental Political Science, The Journal of Politics, and the Quarterly Journal of Political Science. She has extensive field experience coordinating large-scale data collection and research efforts in Lebanon, Uganda, and the United States, and has spent time studying in Indonesia on a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship. As an independent consultant, she has worked with the United Nations Development Programme, Innovations for Poverty Action, the Centre for Women in Governance (Uganda), and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. She also co-owns a small consulting firm, the Research Group for Sustainable Impacts (RG-SI), that assists organizations in developing more inclusive and sustainable practices for measuring and evaluating the impact of their programs.  

She is an affiliate of the Economic and Social Rights Research Group of the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute and sits on the Advisory Council of the Ohio River Valley Institute. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Denison University. 

Steffen_Blings_.jpgSteffen Blings, Ph.D. 

Research Project Manager, SFPE Foundation 

Pronouns: He/him/his 

Location: Illinois, USA 



Steffen Blings, Ph.D., is the Research Project Manager at the SFPE Foundation. He is responsible for leading the Foundation's research initiatives, including developing the SFPE Research Roadmap and disseminating research outcomes. He also manages the Foundation's academic/university partnerships, including the Academic Leadership Council. 

Before coming to SFPE, Steffen served as an assistant professor at Utah State University and as a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College. At those institutions, he taught various classes, supervised student research, secured grants to support research and course development, and managed research teams. 

Steffen earned his Ph.D. and master's in Government at Cornell University and a master's and bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Bremen in Germany. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm (Sweden), as well as the University of Frankfurt (Germany), and studied at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). 

Aimee_Zube.jpgAimee Zube 

Donor Relations Manager, SFPE Foundation 

Pronouns: She/her/hers 

Location: North Carolina, USA 



Aimee Zube is the Donor Relations Manager at the SFPE Foundation. Aimee’s role at the Foundation is to create new opportunities for donor engagement and stewardship, build a planned giving portfolio and create clear pathways for donors to support the field of fire protection engineering through the creation of scholarships and awards.  

Aimee has worked in non-profit fundraising and development for over fifteen years. Her experience ranges from donor engagement, events, board education, planned giving, donor database management, grant-writing, volunteer management, and much more. Previously, she served as Director of Development at the Bill Wilson Center, as Foundation and Community Relationship Manager at Easter Seals of Massachusetts, and as Foundation and Corporate Relations Development Officer at Ascentria Care Alliance of New England.