Maz Gharib (left) FSS Northern Region Operations Manager with John Stevenson (right), previously COMPETENZ trainer. Photo taken 2015. Source www.competenz.org.nz

Maz Gharib (left) FSS Northern Region Operations Manager with John Stevenson (right), previously COMPETENZ trainer. Photo taken 2015. Source www.competenz.org.nz

John Stevenson’s journey throughout the fire industry

I started in the industry with Wormald way back in 1991; training in those days was all on job and there were no industry qualifications. The industry finally got its act together by introducing the level 3 and level 4 Fire Detection and Alarms, followed shortly by the Sprinkler level 3 and 4 qualifications.

I moved to Fire Security Services (FSS) in 1996 as a tech and I was put in charge of doing the inspections across a network of telecommunication sites in Auckland. I continued gaining qualifications until I left Fire Security Services in early 2001. I was eventually approached by SKYCITY in 2004 as the Fire Services Coordinator - this role was the start of my Independent Qualified Person (IQP) work. During 2009, I completed my Graduate Diploma from the Institution of Fire Engineers and the Fellow Fire Brigades Institute of New Zealand.

In 2014, I was the Fire Protection Training Manager for COMPETENZ in the upper North Island (see the photo to the left). I came back to Fire Security Services in 2017 as the IQP for Auckland and Northland regions. I was also asked to help train FSS staff as well as travel the North Island providing customised trial evacuations and fire extinguisher training for customers.

I must admit, I have a soft spot for FSS as they helped me develop my interest in building compliance in the first place. This company has always put family first and really care about the people who work here. Many years ago, I made a huge blunder and caused a flood at a major telephone exchange. I had caused considerable damage to some equipment and the flooding had to be pumped out of the basement. I thought I would be sacked, but my managers supported me to understand the situation, they were pleased with my upfront honesty, and we all (including the customer) learnt a lot to avoid it happening again. I kept my job and better still, the customer continued to want me on-site.

My job title now at Fire Security Services ”Building Compliance Specialist” for the Auckland and Whangarei branches. In this role, I inspect our customer’s safety features in their buildings allowing them to achieve a building warrant of fitness. I also help other FSS branches with IQP queries, and provide technical assistance across all of our branches when required.

All in all, FSS is a great company to work for and they really look after the people here.

 Lesley Fuller - FSS Sales Executive, Lower North Island

Lesley Fuller - FSS Sales Executive, Lower North Island

Lesley Fuller’s journey at FSS

When I originally started work at Fire Security Services (FSS), I didn’t know much about the industry at all.

I came from a background in retail and insurance sales, so I learned everything I needed to know about the building compliance and fire protection industry from working on the job at Fire Security Services.

I felt really welcomed by the local team in the Wellington office, based in Lower Hutt. The team took time to show me everything I needed to know, including the industry jargon and paperwork that is required by the Building Act. FSS has the knack for making complex information easy to understand.

My first role was in the local Wellington office, helping the techs with service, installation and building compliance administration. There is a lot of small moving parts in this line of work, so the variety of work kept my job interesting every day. When our customers need us, they really need us; this meant we had to provide fast and accurate communication, advice and invoicing.

I eventually became a specialist administrator for our nationwide customers; some of which have hundreds of sites across the country. My role was to work with our branches and partners to ensure we execute on our promises.  

Recently, the local Wellington office needed help with providing testing and service agreements for small local businesses. I used my skills I had developed as an administrator to ensure we provide accurate agreements for our small, but important, customers.

I have since been given the amazing opportunity to do this sales role full time as I’m now the Sales Executive for the Lower North Island. I am loving the role as I have the chance to share my knowledge with our existing and new clients. It is all down to the personal support that the local office and wider FSS company have given me to grow. It showed me my time at Fire Security Services is not just a job, it is my career.