Fire Protection Consultant, Jonathan Samuel and Family

The path to fire protection engineering is so rarely predetermined, and here at Harrington Group, we’re lucky that our team members have come to us from such an array of background – academic and otherwise. On August 7th we welcomed Jonathan Samuel, our newest fire protection consultant.

Born in Ethiopia, Jonathan and his family moved to New York City when he was a teenager. In 2000, he made the move to Atlanta when his father relocated for work, and the south suited him.

“I’ve liked it ever since,” he said. “It’s very green, the people are friendly, it’s a lot less crowded, and there’s a lot to do outdoors.”

The allure of Georgia inspired Jonathan to stay in the area for school, and in 2004 he graduated from Southern Polytechnic State University with a degree in electrical engineering. Like a lot of professionals in the industry, Jonathan didn’t anticipate a future in fire protection engineering. In fact, it wasn’t until a job fair at school that this particular career path piqued his interest. He noted that he didn’t learn about fire protection systems in the classroom, despite the fact that we all see and interact with them on a regular basis.

“We all see it in schools and other buildings and never pay attention to it,” he said. “It’s actually something, all those small details that are designed by fire protection engineers that help people escape hazards.”

It’s a fascinating and ever-evolving industry, and Jonathan said he likes knowing that his work will ultimately result in keeping people safe. Most challenging, he said, is the task of explaining the value of important codes and standards to building owners. Whoever is in charge of a building may find these details tedious and unnecessary, especially when regular maintenance and tests are required, and oftentimes they, “don’t see it until something happens.”

In his 11 years as a fire protection consultant, Jonathan said he’s seen codes and standards become more readily available and easily searchable, as well as considerable changes and improvements in design software.

When he’s not working, Jonathan loves spending time with his wife, taking his five- and seven-year-old daughters to the park, traveling, and cycling. He also runs 5k and 10k races, serves on the building committee at his church, and teaches children’s Sunday school.