UNCENSORED: An Interview With Diane Pein, President of Approved Fire Protection and Board Chair of the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors

Diane Pein

1. What is your role at Approved Fire Protection?

At AFP, I am the President.


2. Tell us about your family.

My family is my everything; I have been blessed with a smart, friendly, funny and loving 18-year-old son who is busy experiencing his sophomore year in college as I write this. I am married to my best bud now for 28 years and counting. I love keeping busy playing, working, or growing. I consider my dear friends to be an extension of my family and love spending time with them as well. I prefer spending time with my family (and friends) outdoors as much as possible, sharing the beauty in the world around us, bike riding, hiking, skiing, boating or just sitting about enjoy the space we are sharing.


3. What was your dream job growing up?

Research chemist; and was granted the opportunity to be one for a decade or so.


4. What was your first job?

Baking pies (in a great bakery in NJ) and simultaneously a steel cutter/finisher in a Steel company in Perth Amboy, NJ


5. Describe how you got into the fire protection industry and your first job within the industry.

My Dad and Grandmother begged and I caved. I started as a fire extinguisher technician. On my very first job, I managed to lock myself on a roof of a 4-story building and I had to shimmy down a steel pipe to the bushes below; all the while I was being watched on the security cams (for more on that story you will need to buy me a beer).


6. Over your career, what has been the biggest change you have seen in the industry?

More women involved in leadership roles in the industry


7. What do you love most about your job? Least?

I most love my team. They are some of the hardest working and generous leaders I have ever had the pleasure to share dreams with. I least love Mondays.


8. Favorite movie?

No judgement here please: “Pulp Fiction”


9. What is the best piece of advice that you were ever given?

Do not ever let someone rent space in your mind.


10. Who inspires you?

There are 2 great souls who inspire me: My dearest friend, John Demeter, rolls with the tide and never lets it throw him off his stride, and every person who walks out of the rubble with a smile on their face and continues to move forward.


11. Who gave you your first break?

Anil Agarwal, my first manager in my career, advised me to leave his department when he saw the writing on the wall of an aggressive acquisition. He moved me to a parallel department, which allowed me to rapidly grow in my career as a research chemist.


12. Ocean, mountain or lake vacation?

Ocean in the summer, lake in the fall, and mountain in the winter – hard to choose!


13. If you had one “Do Over,” how would you use it?

OOOH TOUGH ONE! I probably would not have stolen that sign off the building in Chinatown, NYC.


14. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Spending time helping to improve someone else’s life


15. What is your greatest fear?

Not having enough time


16. What is the trait you most dislike in yourself?

I have difficulty showing empathy for folks that give up too easily (at least in my opinion)


17. What is the trait you most dislike in others?



18. Which living person do you most admire?

Condoleezza Rice


19. What is your greatest extravagance?

Shoes, shoes and more shoes


20. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

It is a tie between “awesome” and “brilliant”


21. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My son, Corey – no one will ever own more of my heart and soul, ever…


22. When and where were you happiest?

Right here and right now, and tomorrow it will be the same answer


23. Which talent would you most like to have?

Mind reading, but seriously playing the guitar


24. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Oh so many here…controlling my anger


25. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Any one of my pets


26. Where would you most like to live?

Not so much where, but with whom – anywhere with my husband and son (and my friends)


27. What is your most treasured possession?

My grandmother’s engagement ring is tied with my DNA


28. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Giving up


29. What do you most value in your friends?

Their time


30. Who are your favorite writers?

Agatha Christie and George Orwell


31. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Winston Churchill, mostly due to his ability to appreciate his weaknesses and love himself despite them.


32. Who are your heroes in real life?

All those who give of their time and lives to protect me, my family, and friends (police, fire fighters, military, etc.)


33. What are your favorite names?

Girl: Missy, Boy: Joshua


34. What is your motto?

Life is too short to not live strong and love wild (or vice versa)

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