A highlight of the recent “Fire Sprinkler Americas” conference in Medellin, Colombia, was the presentation of IFSA’s H.W. Marryatt Award to Mr. Jaime Moncada-Pérez. The award, which has only been given out on five previous occasions, recognizes lifetime contributions in support of the fire sprinkler concept internationally.
Mr. Moncada-Pérez is considered a pioneer in the fire protection industry in Latin America, with more than forty (40) years of wide ranging experience in the design, installation, and testing of water-based fire protection systems. He is a chemical engineer from the University of Antioquia (Colombia), who also holds a master’s degree in industrial hygiene from Harvard University (USA).
In the early 1980’s, with NFPA sponsorship, he started the Iberoamerican Fire Protection Organization, known as OPCI, an organization that has translated into Spanish hundreds of different editions of NFPA codes and standards, and that has offered thousands of fire protection seminars, mostly in Colombia. He is currently president of OPCI, and continues to review code translations, as well as developing and teaching fire protection seminars. He has been the only Latin American to serve on NFPA’s Board of Directors, and was the founding chair of the Colombian NFPA Chapter. His impact in the fire protection industry in Latin America can be seen in the wide use and acceptance of NFPA codes and standards, in the implementation of newer fire codes that require sprinkler protection and other life safety systems, and in the careers of thousands of fire protection professionals in Latin America that either were taught by, worked for, or were clients of Mr. Moncada.