Climbing to new heights

Meet Allyn Vaughn, PE, FSPE, LEED AP. Allyn Vaughn is a registered fire protection engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. He has been in Las Vegas for more than 13 years providing fire protection system design and code consulting services.


Allyn Vaughn is a registered fire protection engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. He has been in Las Vegas for more than 13 years providing fire protection system design and code consulting services. Vaughn has been involved with many mixed-use projects throughout the world, providing these design and consulting services.

Q. When you first wanted to be something in life, what was it?

A. An architect.

Q. What changed your path?

A. I learned very quickly that I did not have what it took to be a very creative architect and, frankly, could not pass any of the engineering courses. So I did the next best thing and dropped out of college to be a ski bum for the next two years. Having run that gamut, I took courses to be a firefighter (so that I would have plenty of free time to ski, fish, and camp), but found out that I had two cracks in my spine that prevented me from working in that profession. After a crash course in economics from my parents, I was encouraged to go back to school, where I graduated in Fire Protection Engineering in three years with high honors. 

Q. What is working well in the engineering profession?

A. The use of technology in computer simulations and modeling as well as the current push toward BIM. The simulations and models have come a long way over the past several years. The use of BIM offers some very exciting opportunities to the design profession, especially with intelligent design.

Q. What is not working well in the engineering profession?

A. The current economy certainly puts a big damper on the progression of our industry, since it is limiting the type and amount of projects to work on. That has limited the amount of creativity in the market.

Q. What one thing is missing from engineering education?

A. Communication skills. An engineer has a tendency to be reserved and withdrawn. To be very successful you need to be able to communicate to a variety of individuals and forums. We all learn technical writing in school but many of us do not know how to compose common letters, reports, and other documents to articulate the message or approach we are trying to convey. Both written and verbal communication needs to be emphasized in the engineering schools. You will spend a lot more time in meetings and on the phone than you will actually designing something. If you want to promote your ideas, you need to be an effective communicator.

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to someone considering a career in engineering?

A. Learn to communicate and be comfortable speaking to groups of people.

Q. How would your coworkers or clients describe you?

A. Knowledgeable, fun to be around, independent, mentor.

Q. What life adventure is still on your list?

A. I would like to complete a through-hike of the John Muir Trail. I came up about 50 miles short the last time four years ago. I would like to get the grand slam of trout fishing in the Sierras in one session (rainbow, cutthroat, brown, golden, and brook). I would like to spend more time with my wife, who has spent most of my career in the supporting role. I would also like to hold and watch a grandchild of mine grow up when the time comes. But most of all, I don’t want to leave anything behind when my time is up. Make the most out of the dash in my life.

Q. What makes you laugh?

A. Just about anything, and a lot of the times it’s things that don’t always make others laugh. Life is very funny and everyone can make you laugh and smile if you let them.

Q. What do you wonder about?

A. What makes other people tick. What makes them laugh, cry, or just be indifferent.

Q. Where is the best place you’ve ever been, and who were you with?

A. If I had to pick one, it would be Yosemite National Park with my wife.

Q. What do you want to learn more about?

A. Professionally, it would be the emerging technologies being introduced into the engineering community. Personally, it would be how to get more out of each day.



Who: Allyn Vaughn, PE, FSPE, LEED AP

What: Vice President Growth Markets—Professional Fire Protection Engineer and Fellow Grade in SFPE.                                 

Where: JBA Consulting Engineers, Las Vegas

Why: Allyn is a high-energy person, and dedicated to his profession. His personal passion is hiking.

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