Dennis was inducted into the Fire Sprinkler Hall of Fame in 2019
My dad grew up in the sprinkler industry. His grandfather, Dennis Francis Coleman started in the industry in 1908 and never looked back. My dad’s father, John Coleman started Engineered Fire Protection, Inc. in 1969 as my dad was finishing high school. Prior to this, he worked in the shop starting at age 14 fabricating pipe in the stockyards of East St. Louis and later spent time in the field as a sprinkler fitter. These were good jobs and I even recall my dad saying there was a time when money was tight where, as a fitter, he was making more money than his dad, the owner.
As Engineered Fire Protection grew, it became clear that the services of a professional engineer were needed. With this in mind, Denny set out for BYU. He studied civil engineering and after graduation, became a professional engineer. This is fitting for a man who loved and was good at math. I recall sitting in church as a young man and if the sermon was slightly dry, my dad would write himself math problems to solve. The sermon was never dry enough for me to do that!
After returning to Engineered Fire Protection, Denny set out to grow the company. Under his direction, the company expanded to become one of the preeminent sprinkler contractors in St. Louis. Many of the most prominent jobs in the region have my dad’s fingerprints on them, in many cases literally.
My dad is a humble man and would probably be upset if he knew I was writing this, but I have to mention his most admirable quality, that of his service as a husband and father. For my dad, the priority was faith, family, and fire sprinklers, in that order. His quiet charity and diligent service to his church have not gone unnoticed. As a father to myself and my brother, he is unmatched. He taught us to work and focus on the things that are most important. When the choice was work or family, the answer was always family. As a husband to my late mother, he set an example of devotion and love I try to aspire to in my own marriage. In the end, my dad has set an example worthy of following, at work and at home.