Get to Know Your Safer Buildings Coalition Workgroups — Government Affairs

Jon Pasqualone

Posted on June 17, 2020

Workgroup: Government Affairs 
Chair: Jon Pasqualone, Executive Director, Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association (FFMIA). 

Safer Buildings Coalition: Please describe your work group and its objectives.
Jon Pasqualone: The Government Affairs workgroup in my mind is a base where the foundation is built for the three pillars of the Safer Buildings Coalition. Our official page states: “The Working Group's purpose is to provide timely expertise and advice to the Safer Buildings Coalition Board of Directors. The Working Group responds to requests for assistance from the SBC Sponsor and Co-Sponsor (acting on behalf of the Board of Directors) tracks government affairs issues of concern (or potential concern) to the Coalition, and drafts for the Board of Directors approval responses or position statements as needed.”

We meet monthly (3rd Friday) via Zoom call and discuss any issue relevant to governmental relations and how we may better serve the needs of our members, building owners and the public safety community as a whole. Working with our sponsor Chief Alan Perdue and through our Managing Director John Foley, we have given guidance and outreach on a number of important areas of interest to our membership.

Safer Buildings Coalition: Why is the work your group does so important?
Jon Pasqualone: As with any regulatory function, the work of the Safer Buildings Coalition requires a clearly defined mission backed up by properly vetted codes and standards to achieve compliance with the need for in-building communication networks. Building owners will not voluntarily spend capital to install systems they know nothing about in their properties without a legislative/code driven requirement. The Government Affairs workgroup is comprised of industry and code professionals with governmental relations experience on a local, state and national level. This broad representation is able to reach great depths in terms of providing testimony to policy makers as well as educating local authorities on the need for this effort and how to approach compliant installations.

Safer Buildings Coalition: Why have you decided to invest time in this SBC group?
Jon Pasqualone: I feel it is an opportunity to share some of the leadership skills I have managed to develop over the course of my career and to learn a new area of emerging technology that is upon us. I also have several connections on a statewide and national level that will allow me to reach out to contribute to this great effort.

Safer Buildings Coalition: What are the main challenges for your group?
Jon Pasqualone: As stated above, building owners will not freely spend money on something they are not aware of. Another challenge is in the public safety community. Local fire officials are charged with enforcing the code with varying degrees of understanding. Often times, the radio system managers are housed in a different department so establishing open communications across all parties is paramount in achieving a level of understanding and ultimately compliance.

Safer Buildings Coalition: What would you say is the most important accomplishment by your group?
Jon Pasqualone: I think at this point the establishment of this very workgroup, representing SBC on governmental relations on a national level, was a huge accomplishment in a short period of time. Receiving continued recognition by constituent agencies and organizations that acknowledge SBC as a subject matter expert voice of the mission is another. As we grow, so too will our stature in the world of in-building communications expertise.

Safer Buildings Coalition: How can SBC members help your group continue to move forward?
Jon Pasqualone : Anytime a call to action is requested it is critical that as many members as possible reach out individually to that call. In the legislative process and even in code promulgation, the more voices speaking the same message, the stronger the message. We are also open to any member that wishes to join us.