Fire protection Engineers Sam Dannaway and Mike Crowley honored with Awards at the 2023 SFPE Conference


Principal structural engineer Sam Dannaway.
Sam Dannaway, PE, FSFPE

Sam Dannaway, PE, FSFPE – SFPE Bryan Mentoring Award

Sam Dannaway, PE, FSFPE, fire protection engineering principal advisor in Honolulu, was honored with the 2023 Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Bryan Mentoring Award. This honor recognizes individuals who are committed and dedicated to educating, training, and advising fire protection engineers.

This award was established in 2007 and recognizes John L. Bryan’s more than 50 years of commitment and dedication to education, mentoring students, and advising practicing fire protection engineers. This award is significant to Sam because “Prof” Bryan was a mentor to him and instrumental in getting him into the fire protection industry.

Mentored by “Prof” Bryan

Before Sam’s decades-long success as a pioneer for fire protection engineers in Hawaii, he had considered a medical career. While attending the University of Maryland, Sam joined the volunteer fire department to gain experience as an Emergency Medical Technician. But it turns out that riding fire trucks was more exciting and fun than riding an ambulance.

At the end of his sophomore year, a pivotal appointment with the Chairman of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering, Dr. Bryan, resulted in Sam’s decision to transfer into the fire protection program. Sam’s first class, An Introduction to Fire Protection Engineering, was taught by Dr. Bryan.

Pioneer for Fire Protection Licensing in Hawaii

Sam established S.S. Dannaway and Associates (SSDA), Hawaii’s first fire protection engineering firm, in 1985. At the time, he was the only licensed consulting fire protection engineer. For decades, Sam taught numerous fire protection classes and courses and brought many training seminars to Hawaii through the SFPE and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) with the vision to establish fire protection engineering in Hawaii. In 1997, Sam organized the first fire protection engineering PE exam study groups and has assisted dozens of engineers in obtaining fire protection PE licenses since then. In part, through his efforts, he is pleased over 40 licensed fire protection engineers are practicing in Hawaii. SSDA joined Coffman in 2016, and since that time, Sam has led annual study groups and helped 22 engineers across the company achieve their FPE licenses.

Professional Development

In addition to PE study courses, Sam leads training and presentations with Mike Crowley, a fellow 2023 SFPE award recipient. They recently presented in support of a training series organized by Sam’s son, Steven Dannaway, the managing principal for Coffman’s Los Angeles office and a fire protection engineer. “The fact that Steven has taken an interest in teaching young engineers is a great source of pride for me,” said Sam. Mike, Steven, and Sam are working on a professional development guide for fire protection engineers at Coffman.

Future Book(s)

Sam was the prolific writer of 120 monthly FPE Corner articles for the Plumbing Engineer Magazine from 2009 to 2019. He is actively working on publishing this collection of pieces this year.

In addition, Sam is collaborating with two others on a book about the History of the Honolulu Fire Department. Sam shared book updates and research findings at a recent Engineers and Architects of Hawaii meeting.


Headshot of male engineer.
Mike Crowley, PE, FSFPE, FASHE

Mike Crowley, PE, FSFPE, FASHE – SFPE Nelson Award for Inspired Service

Mike Crowley, PE, FSFPE, FASHE fire protection engineering principal advisor and operations manager in Houston, was honored with the 2023 SFPE Nelson Award for Inspired Service. This award recognizes dedicated and inspired service to the ideals and goals of the Society. 

Established in 1987, the award, named in honor of Harold E. “Bud” Nelson, recognizes Nelson’s contributions as a senior research engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where he developed a series of hazard grading systems accepted as national codes. 

Subject Matter Expert

With over 40 years of experience as a fire protection engineer, Mike’s contributions to the codes and standards committees, specifically in healthcare, are invaluable. Mike has been involved with the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) and NFPA committees and notably chaired the fundamentals committee and the correlating committee for the NFPA 99 and currently chairs the medical gas technical committee.

Mike frequently speaks at conferences and workshops on topics ranging from code compliance in healthcare to fire protection in the built environment. Listen as Mike shares his experience and thoughts as a guest on The Burn Podcast.

Teacher and Mentor

With a passion for the fire protection industry and mentoring, Mike often teaches engineers and students courses with the NFPA, ASHE, and Coffman. He finds that he learns things through the questions from students and takes these ideas back to code committees for consideration.