Meet a NAFI member: Richard Meier
Everyone at the National Association of Fire Investigators works hard to make sure our members reach their goals by supporting them with a variety of NFPA based trainings, certifications, and resources. When our members have the relevant education and resources that meet their needs, we’ve succeeded! We are proud of our team and are happy to share more about them with you.
Rich Meier is a Senior Staff Expert, Fire and Explosion Analyst, Lead Investigator with John A. Kennedy & Associates, Inc. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Akron that he earned while working full time, serving in the US Army Reserves and being called to active duty.
Rich lived in Illinois, Ohio and Texas as a child, and ended up in Ohio. He moved to Florida in 2000 because he had had enough of snow, and loves boating and diving.
How did you get started working in fire investigation?
I first met Pat Kennedy while dating his daughter Christine, now my wife. When he found out I was both a mechanical engineer and an avid boater, he asked me to consult on a couple of marine cases, one explosion and one fire on an antique yacht. From there I was hooked. I studied fire investigation for about 2 years before joining Kennedy and Associates full time. It is the most interesting thing I’ve ever done and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Why is NAFI an important organization for fire investigation?
I feel that NAFI puts a lot of emphasis on the basics. We stress the scientific method because it’s a reliable roadmap to follow when you’re doing your investigation. Yes, we also teach more complex topics, but we try to make sure you have the fundamentals in place first. That includes all the requirements of NFPA 1033, in addition to other useful skills.
What is your favorite part of being involved with NAFI?
Meeting and networking with the members. Through NAFI I know people on almost every continent. I hear some interesting stories and learn a lot. After teaching a class someone will come up and say “You know…” or “What about…?” I’ll go find out and hopefully my class is that much better the next time I teach it.
What advice do you have for fire investigators just starting out?Learn everything you can and never stop asking questions. Listen to other fire investigators when you’re at a fire scene, but don’t take anything as gospel. Some really know what they’re doing and some don’t. When you think you know everything, it’s time to look for another career.
What is a quote you live by?
I have a lot of favorites, so I’m not sure that I can narrow it down to just one. Here’s two…
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein
“Do something every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt