John Powell

John Powell

John Powell joined Automatic Figure Sprinklers in 1962 as their Wellington Regional Manager, and has continued to serve the fire sprinkler industry, even in his retirement, for 50 years.

He has worked for a number of organisations within the industry and latterly, was one of the principals in a well-run fire protection business, Automatic Fire Systems Limited, until his retirement in 2006.

His is particularly respected for his work in contributing to NZ’s Sprinkler Standard, NZS4541, and its associated documents, NZS4515 and NZS4517. He first became involved in Standards as an alternate to Jim Triggs in the late 1960s, and has been involved in every edition of the sprinkler standards, since NZS4541P was first published in 1972, including chairing the committee that prepared the 2003 editions of NZS4515 and NZS4541.

What many people don’t know is that he self-funded this work, and did not rely on contributions from the other shareholders of AFS.

John originally qualified as a motor mechanic – he is still a mechanic at heart, as witnessed by his love of Jaguars and Vintage Motor Bikes – both genders which are unreliable.

A small anecdote – a few years ago, he was tail ended in his new Jag while sitting at a set of lights. The collision was such, that the car that him bounced back and hit him a second time. The Jag was a write off - $140k of damage before they looked at the computers. When he climbed out to talk to the driver, she was very apologetic. John dismissed her concerns, and instead, was more interested in why the airbags in her car had not gone off, given the magnitude of the shunt – a real indication of his mechanical background and inquisitive mind.

John is being honoured by the Association for his 50 years’ service to the fire protection industry, and in particular, for his contribution to the development of NZ’s Fire Sprinkler Standards.