Prof. Milke receives SFPE 2007 Founders Award

The Executive Committee of the Chesapeake Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers is proud to announce that the 2007 recipient of the Chesapeake Chapter Founders Award is Chesapeake Chapter member Dr. James A. Milke, P.E., FSFPE.

The Chesapeake Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers was founded in a meeting on September 13th, 1956 by 15 Charter Members, George Alleback, William Baird, Francis Brannigan, Richard Bright, John Bryan, Carroll Burtner, Robert Byrus, Alfred Dubryl, William Fetzer, Frank Hall, Carroll Henkel, Charles Howe, James McKnight, Ruppert Porter, and George Prussing. Our chapter was proud to celebrate our 50th anniversary with a meeting on September 13th, 2007 featuring Dr. Bryan, Bud Nelson, and many other notable Chesapeake Chapter members. Dr. Bryan described the activities of that first meeting, fifty years after the fact, and the sense of history that took place was quite moving.

The Chesapeake Chapter Constitution and Bylaws were accepted by SFPE on January 4, 1957, and the Charter for the Chapter was accepted by SFPE on January 22, 1957. The Chesapeake Chapter was the eighth chapter to be chartered by SFPE. The Constitution and Bylaws have been amended many times in the last fifty years, but they remain the rock upon which the Chesapeake Chapter was founded and continues to thrive.

The Chesapeake Chapter Founders Award was established to “bestow on a member of the Chesapeake Chapter, past or present, or a non-member, whose service to the Chapter and to SFPE are in keeping with the example established by the Founders of the Chapter”. The Founders of the Chesapeake Chapter were recognized with the first Chesapeake Chapter Founders Awards in 2002. The second Founders Award was presented to Harold E. (Bud) Nelson, PE, FSFPE in 2004, the third to John F. Bender, PE, FSFPE in 2005, and the fourth to David M. Hammerman, PE in 2006.

Joining this distinguished group of fire protection engineers is one of the Chesapeake Chapters’ most noteworthy members, Dr. James A. Milke, PE, FSFPE, who served as President of the Chesapeake Chapter in 1987 and 1988 and served on the Chesapeake Chapter Executive Committee for many years. His service to SFPE extends to Past Chairmanship of the Engineering Education Committee, Chairman of the task group on the Advancement of the Technology in Structural Fire Protection, Chairman of the task group on Documentation of Fire Models, member of the Steering Committee on Research Agenda, and current Vice President of the SFPE Board of Directors.

Reviewing Jim’s prodigious 38-page resume is a humbling experience. For those of us who think we are busy people, consider the accomplishments of Jim Milke and his life of service to the profession. Most people know Dr. Milke from his contributions to fire protection engineering education at the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering. Jim received a BS in Physics from Ursinus College in 1974, and continued his education at the University of Maryland. While still a fire protection engineering student, Jim served as an Engineering Technician for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

After graduating from the Department with a BS in Fire Protection Engineering in 1976, he served as a Fire Protection Engineer in the Virginia Fire Marshal's Office in Fairfax County. Jim began his career at the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering as a research assistant in 1977, and became a Lecturer in 1981.

Jim currently serves as Associate FPE Chair, Associate Professor, and Co-Director of the FPE Distance Program, and has served as Acting Chair, Graduate Director, curriculum revision committee member, member of the alumni committee for the endowed chair campaign, and served on search committees for the John L. Bryan Endowed Chair, ENFP Chair, and ENFP faculty positions. Jim has taught fifteen classes over the years, from engineering science to engineering honors, and including most of the fire protection engineering curriculum, and has advised a number of Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.

Jim’s University service extends beyond the Department of Fire Protection Engineering. He has also served on the BS Engineering Degree Review Committee, the Undergraduate Recruitment committee, the Centennial Outreach Committee, the Awards Committee, the Search Committee for College Counselors, and the Engineering Council. In addition, he has served on the Honor Review Board, the Faculty Senate, and the Environmental Safety, and Health Operations Committee. He has also served as a Faculty Advisor to Tau Beta Pi, Salamander, the Student Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the College Park Fire Protection Association, and the University of Maryland Men’s Ice Hockey Team.

Jim’s service to the profession extends far beyond his role as a professor. His service to the National Fire Protection Association includes Chair of the Technical Committee on Smoke Management Systems, and memberships on the Committees on Fire Tests, Safety to Life, and Building Construction, as well as Chairmanship of the Research Section. Service to the American Society of Civil Engineers includes Charter Member of the Structural Engineering Institute, Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers/Society of Fire Protection Engineers Committee on Structural Design for Fire, and Program Committee for the 2005 Structures Congress. American Institute of Steel Construction service includes memberships on the Fire Steering Committee and the Committee on Specifications. He is also a member of the ASTM E¡5 Technical Committee, the UL Fire Council, UL Technical Advisory Panel on Smoke Detectors, and UL STP’s on sprinklers, fire resistance, smoke and heat vents and smoke detectors, and a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers Fire Engineering Task Group.

Through a number of research grants and outreach activities, Jim has become an expert on smart detection technology and other advanced alarm and detection topics, including fire suppression, structural fire protection, smoke management, and life safety. His books, Design of Smoke Management Systems, and Principles of Smoke Management, co-written with J.H. Klote, have become the principal source of reference on smoke control systems. His numerous chapters in books, articles in refereed journals, proceedings, monographs and reports, journal articles, paper presentations, editorships, and editorial review board memberships have advanced the art and science of fire protection engineering. Jim was a core member of the FEMA team that studied the World Trade Center incident of Sept. 11, 2001.

Jim’s other service is wide in scope; Co-chair of the NIST panel on Sensors with the Workshop on Fire Detector Research, a member of a committee for experimental program evaluating the performance of unprotected sprinkler pipe in residential sprinkler systems for the Prince Georges County Fire Department, Chair of a NIST working group on Codes and Standards related to the Workshop on Fire Performance of High-Strength Concrete, member of the Northern Virginia Curriculum Advisory Committee, member of the Chairman’s Roundtable on Residential Smoke Detection for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, member of the CPSC Steering Committee for the Home Smoke Alarm Project, member of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association Scholarship Committee, member of the National Fire Protection Research Foundation’s Project Technical Panel for a Research Project on Smoke Characterization, and also participation with Governor’s Task Force on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. His community service includes lectures to elementary and high schools and career fairs and work with science fairs.

In addition to the SFPE Chesapeake Chapter Founders Award, Jim has received a number of other awards in his distinguished career. Jim was the first recipient of Society of Fire Protection Engineers Director's Award for service on the SFPE Engineering Education Committee. He was awarded the Clark School’s E. Robert Kent Outstanding Teaching Award, and the SFPE John J. Ahern President’s Award. He is a three-time winner of the Harry C. Bigglestone Award for best paper in Fire Technology, winner of the Best Paper Award for ICFRE2, co-written with our current Chapter President Stephen Hill and Jim Quintiere, the SFPE Harold E. Nelson Award for service to the Society, and the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering Faculty Service Award.

Published June 13, 2007