Louis A. Gritzo, vice president, manager of research at FM Global, was recently awarded the 75th Anniversary Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Heat Transfer Division for his dedicated service to the heat transfer community and contributions to the field.
Gritzo currently leads a group of scientists, engineers and technicians that solve challenging loss prevention problems for FM Global’s clients and oversees the company’s 1,600-acre research campus in Glocester.
He currently serves as chair of both the research leadership team for the Industrial Research Institute and Fire Protection Engineering Advisory Board at the University of Maryland. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, with a minor in mathematics, from Texas Tech University.
PBN: How have recent findings/research in the heat transfer process been applied to property loss prevention?
GRITZO: The completion of the first phase of the open source computational fire model is a big tool to provide better, faster solutions to our clients. As an insurance company, we took a very innovative approach. We have a team of scientists that do physical research on topics needed to protect our clients’ business.
PBN: Tell me about the toys. What interesting tools does FM Global’s research team use to advance property-loss-prevention techniques?
GRITZO: [We have] two 80-foot square movable ceilings (10 to 60 feet) that replicate industrial facilities. We have a calorimeter that [makes] measurements on the heat and smoke and products that are developed when large-scale fires burn. [To replicate] wind [we have a] series of uplift mechanisms that put pressure on roofs (like you see in severe wind storms) to develop roofing solutions to protect a spectrum of buildings under a hurricane or wind storm. … Anything Mother Nature can throw at a business we can replicate.
PBN: So do you consider yourself in any way a tinkerer?
GRITZO: When I was young I raced motorcycles and figured out how to fix them and make them run a little faster. That’s the same kind of thing that all the great people I have the opportunity to work with are doing now. They’re constantly figuring out ways to solve problems and make things better. •
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