Back in the late 1980s, Steve Leonard was living in Southern California and thought he wanted to work for a fire department, maybe as a firefighter. When a friend asked if he would consider working in fire protection design, it changed Steve’s direction and sent him off on a 30-year journey into the world of fire protection.
“No one is born with a passion for sprinklers or alarms, it’s usually a series of twists and turns that bring people into the fire protection industry,” Steve explained. “I didn’t think about fire protection when I was a kid, but I’m glad that my career path led me into this field.”
At McKinstry, we’ve offered fire protection services for decades because identifying and installing the right protection system to prevent or reduce fire damage is fundamental to every project we undertake. McKinstry has built a national reputation for designing and installing fire protection systems for a wide variety of venues—from office, retail, and hotel buildings to stadiums, laboratories, and museums. Owners and designers come to McKinstry for our expertise on systems, costs, and knowledge of all current fire codes and compliance standards for the National Fire Protection Association.
Steve’s fire protection path has been extremely unique at McKinstry. Since joining the company in 2010, he’s lived and worked in three of McKinstry’s major Pacific Northwest offices—Portland, Spokane and Seattle.
“I sometimes joke that I’ve completed the trifecta,” Steve said. “Working in three of our Pacific Northwest offices has been a pleasure, and they all have a different atmosphere that’s still connected by the common McKinstry culture.”
Steve’s first three years at McKinstry were spent building a fire protection operation from scratch in Spokane. While building his team, Steve also served as the project manager for the installation of the new fire protection system in the SIERR Building, which became McKinstry’s Spokane HQ.
“When I started in Spokane, we went from having a team of one in the office and three in the field to having eight to 10 people in the field, plus a superintendent,” Steve said. “It’s continued to grow since then.”
In 2013, Steve was ready for a change and accepted a job as an account executive—focusing on sales for the Fire Protection team in Seattle.
“Steve sold a large amount of profitable work for us during his time in Seattle, and he’s been a key part of our success and growth,” said John Bowman, McKinstry’s Director of Fire Protection and Steve’s manager.
In the summer of 2018, Steve took the next step forward in his career and made yet another Pacific Northwest move—to Portland. McKinstry has previously offered fire protection services in Portland with a small team, but John and Steve have developed a business plan to grow that team into a perennial powerhouse.
“We’ve recently won a number of projects and have a strong backlog to work with in Portland,” Steve said. “We’re starting installations now, and I’m excited to see this team continue to excel.”
“I’m confident that Steve will do wonderful things for our team in Portland,” John concluded.