HI. I’m the owner and tool designer for MalvenWorks. For most of my years, I have worked in design education– most recently on the faculty of the College of Design at Iowa State University (ISU). My coursework and research has focused primarily on human factors, design methods and design safety– especially the effects of building configuration and contents on fire severity and life safety. Previously, I taught similar coursework at The University of Connecticut, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Missouri– Columbia.
FIRE SERVICE BACKGROUND. Since 1976, I’ve also been a volunteer EMT, firefighter, and fire officer, in Connecticut, Maryland, and Iowa. I’m currently Assistant Chief in charge of training for the Nevada (IA) Community Fire Department. And, I’ve worked, intermittently, as an instructor/course developer for several state fire training programs, including the Connecticut State Fire School, University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute, Iowa Fire Service Training Bureau, and Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute.
From 1981 to 2000, I was a course developer and field instructor for the National Fire Academy (NFA), Emmitsburg, MD. In that capacity, I was the lead developer and instructor for a course entitled “Fire-Safe Building Design,” intended for architects and designers. I also served on the development and instruction teams for NFA’s “Building Construction for Fire Suppression Forces” and several of its firefighter safety courses.
For me, the fire service has been a great “hobby,” and a tremendous source of professional inspiration and insight.
INVOLVEMENT WITH FIRE TOOLS. Although I’ve done a fair amount of product design, work with the fire equipment industry has been, by far, the most fun. As a firefighter, I’ve always been most interested in rescue and “truck company” (i.e., “hook & ladder”) operations and the variety of tools and equipment that surround them. Along with several other Iowa firefighters, I helped develop a nationally delivered course, “Fireground Support Operations,” which emphasizes hook and ladder company operations for departments of all sizes (whether they have a ladder truck or not). It includes a good deal of emphasis on fire service tools, tool culture, and tool applications. It has provided a great deal of contact with the fire equipment industry. And, that, in turn, has provided opportunities for consulting with several well-known manufacturers, including Cutter’s Edge (ventilation saws), Lion Apparel (Janesville personal protective gear), and Tempest Technologies (positive pressure blowers).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MALVEN FIRE TOOL WORKS (MALVENWORKS). Field classes also afforded the opportunity for direct involvement in fire hand tool production. I designed and facilitated the manufacture of a number of fire service hand tools for a MalvenWorks predecessor, Iowa American Firefighting Equipment of Osceola, Iowa. Among them were tools marketed as the “Truckie Tool,” “Stinger,” “Hawk,” “Rescue Hawk,” “Super Hawk,” and “Spike.” In addition to above, several Hawk Tool prototypes “accidentally” found their way into the Iowa American catalogue. Few of them achieved name recognition in the fire service. But, they were fun projects and developed a decent regional following. After the dissolution of Iowa American in the mid-90s, I refined the designs of the “Hawk” and “Raptor” (formerly “Stinger”) components and looked for new manufacturing and distribution partners. After a few years– and due primarily to the efforts of Tim Nemmers, now a Fire Captain with the Des Moines (IA) Fire Department– the Hawk system of components was reintroduced by Aazel Fire Tools of Longmont, CO (later Evansville, IN). Most recently, in 2015, I bought back my designs from Aazel to form MalvenWorks, now the sole producer of the “Malven Hawk Tool” (including a new “Hallux” pry component) and the “Monster,” “Classic” and “Hayward Claw” entry bars.