Meet The Board

Dr Peter Wilkinson BEng (Hons) MSc EngD CEng FIFireE PMSFPE SIRM


Peter Wilkinson cropped

Peter is both a Chartered Fire Engineer and a Registered Fire Risk Assessor, with a passion for helping organisations understand and manage physical risks within the buildings they design, own, occupy, insure or regulate. 

He is the founder and Director of Pyrology Limited, an independent fire and risk engineering practice.  Prior to this, Peter was an Associate Director at the Fire Protection Association, and prior to that an Associate Director with a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy. His earlier career was spent as a fire consultant within the healthcare sector and within the fire detection and alarm industry.

Peter holds an Engineering Doctorate where he investigated resilient fire engineering building design, has published numerous journal and conference papers, and authored guidance documents for the profession, including contributing to CIBSE Guide E. Peter chairs the British Standards technical committee FSH/24 Fire Engineering, and led the Panel who developed the latest part of the fire engineering code PD7974-8.

Peter’s time is now spent conducting fire engineering projects, risk engineering surveys and fire risk assessments for a wide variety of clients, as well as helping to develop the fire engineering profession through BSI standards development work within the UK and Europe.

Mr Grant N. Lupton, AFSM, B.GS, FIFireE, CPMgr, FAIM

Vice Chairman

Grant Lupton cropped

Grant is the Senior Civil Defence Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). His role is to help the UAE achieve world best practice for civil defence through the national delivery of fire, rescue and emergency management services, protecting an increasing population and rapidly expanding infrastructure that includes some of the world's tallest buildings and largest oil-storage facilities.

Prior to his current role, Grant was Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) from 2002 to 2015, making him one of the longest serving Chief Officers in the 150 year history of the MFS.

Before moving to Australia, Grant was the Deputy Fire Commissioner for the Province of British Columbia, Canada and joined the IFE in 1982.

Grant has served as a Director of the International Fire Chiefs' Association of Asia and is an Honorary Life Member of the Fire Prevention Officers' Association of British Columbia.   He has been an elected Director of the International and Australian Boards of the Institution of Fire Engineers and also a Member of the International Metropolitan Fire Chiefs' Association, the International Fire Marshals' Association and a Director of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council.

He has been a member of the fire and rescue service for over 37 years and has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM), the South Australian Emergency Services Medal and the Canadian Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.


Mr Richard Fowler MSc BEng (Hons) CFIFireE CMgr MCMI

Vice Chairman

Richard Fowler cropped

Richard graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a BEng(Hons) in Fire Engineering in 2003, and from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge with an MSc in Fire Investigation in 2010. He is currently a Group Manager and the Head of the Business Safety Department in East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

Richard serves on various committees and working groups with the Chief Fire Officer’s Association including the regional and national Business Safety Groups. He also represents CFOA on the national liaison committee for the Work Related Death Protocol, which is led by the HSE.

Richard has been a member of the IFE's International General Assembly (IGA) for 10 years now and has always played an active role. He is the Branch Secretary of the South Eastern Branch of the IFE in the UK and is a past president of that branch. Richard has travelled widely and visited IFE branches across the UK and in many countries, including New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. Richard now hopes to bring this experience to the Board of Directors and play a part in shaping the future direction of the Institution as it approaches its Centenary year.

Richard will work closely with the IGA in the future and ensure that they work with the Board. For the Board, Richard holds the Education portfolio and will work closely with HQ staff to develop opportunities.

Mr Neil Gibbins QFSM NDipM FIFireE

Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary

Neil Gibbins cropped

Neil was Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service until June 2013 and he was also the national lead for fire protectio for the UK Chief Fire Officers Association from 2007 to 2013.

Prior to that Neil chaired the working group that prepared UK fire services to implement the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which lead to him working with UK Government and other key stakeholders through the "Regulators Excellence Forum".

He was founding chair of the cross sector Timber Frame Working Group, bringing together key partners to drive down the risk from fire in timber frame structures.

In the role of Project Director, Neil helped shape the first voluntary combination of UK fire services, creating the UK's largest non-metropolitan service, having over 2200 staff and 85 stations.

 Mr Martin Shipp BSc (Physics) CEng FIFireE CPhys MInstP

International President 2017-18

Martin Shipp cropped

After graduating in 1970, Martin Shipp joined Hawker Siddeley Dynamics (now British Aerospace) as a thermal design engineer, primarily using computational heat balance models where he worked on a number of satellite projects and the SpaceLab Pallet.

Martin joined the Fire Research Station (part of the Building Research Establishment (BRE)) in 1974 and is Technical Development Director, Fire Safety in BRE Global. He currently has responsibility for fire investigation, fire safety management, fire risk assessment and projects related to all aspects of transport fire safety.

Martin manages the BRE fire investigation programme for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and has been closely involved with the investigations into Piper Alpha, Alexandra Palace, Windsor Castle and more recently, Atherstone on Stour, Penhallow Hotel, Newquay, and Lakanal, London, along with many others.

 Mr Brian Davey CFIFireE 

Past President 2016-17

Brian Davey croppedBrian joined the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) as a career fire-fighter in 1972. He has served in all operational positions including Chief Fire Officer and Area Commander and until his retirement was holding the position of National Manager, Operational Standards at the NZFS National Headquarters.

This position was responsible for operational policy, operational procedures and liaison with a number of Government Departments. Since his appointment to the NZFS National Headquarters, Brian has been a member of the National Safety and Wellbeing Committee, National Training Standards Committee and the Business Excellence Group. He has also been a member of and chaired a number of committees for Standards NZ.

He retired from the NZFS in 2012 and following his retirement was appointed as an expert witness for the London Coroner for the Lakanal House inquest in 2013.  He now lives on a small farm holding in North Otago, New Zealand.

Brian has served as a Branch Councillor on the New Zealand Branch through three terms, has had the role of Executive Director for the Branch and served as Branch President from 2007 until 2010. 

He is now serving a second term as Board Member and Trustee of the Institution.

Mr Peter Holland CBE QFSM FIFireE (Life)

Peter Holland

Peter has been an active member of the Institution for the last 38 years and believes that he is still as enthusiastic now as he has ever been about the IFE's work.  Peter believes the IFE is going from strength to strength in every part of the world where there are Branches, resulting in the profession being properly recognized in those countries.  IFE qualifications are greatly sought after and Peter will continue his efforts to support IFE growth and increasing the IFE's influence globally.  There are many challenges facing the world from fire and Peter believes the IFE is well placed to assist members and society to deal with these issues.  Peter has a huge amount of experience at all levels of the Institution which will assist him to continue to play a keen and active part in driving this great profession forward.  There are many opportunities despite the economic situation for the IFE to be placed in an even stronger position of influence amongst the fire policy makers globally.  There is already great work taking place and Peter views the role of the Board of Directors as a supporting one, facilitating our members to contribute positively.  Peter will do everything in his power to promote the Institution at every opportunity.


 Mr Peter O'Reilly MIFireE

International President Elect

Peter O'Reilly cropped

Peter originally joined Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) on 1 March 2011 as Director of Prevention and Protection after serving for 21 years with Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.  On 1 April 2015 he was appointed to the role of County Fire Officer and Chief Executive and in June 2016 was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal (QFSM).

He served in Belfast for most of his career as a Firefighter, Junior Officer and District Commander, before moving to Ballymena as an Assistant Area Commander.  He became the Area Commander for Northern Area Command in 2009.

Currently Peter holds the Strategic Lead role for Health within the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA). Successes include the agreement and signing of a Joint Consensus Statement with NHS, PHE, LGA, and Age UK which has resulted in UK Fire Services delivering Safe and Well visits to those most vulnerable in communities. Separately, with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), he has signed a similar statement aligning the strategic intent for support to emergency medical incidents e.g. cardiac arrests.  On 15th September 2015 Peter lead GMFRS to become the first Fire Service in the United Kingdom to assist its local ambulance service, by making available all of its firefighters, in responding to cardiac arrests

Since joining Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Peter has overseen the complete restructuring of the Prevention and Protection Directorate and aligned the Service with the Public Service Reform agenda in Greater Manchester. 

Peter has travelled widely to study, with successes accredited by The University of Ulster, University of Central Lancashire, Warwickshire University and Harvard University. 

 Bruce Varner CFIFireE 

Bruce Varner bBruce Varneregan his fire service career with the Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department in 1967, promoting through the ranks to Deputy Chief in 1985. He served as the Fire Chief in Carrollton (TX) from 1992 through to 2004 before becoming the Fire Chief of Santa Rosa (CA). His fire service experience includes administration, operation, communications, safety, airport operations, training, fire prevention and investigations.

Bruce retired in December 2010 and has since focused on providing fire service training and roadway Traffic Incident Management classes throughout the United States whilst also serving as the Health and Safety Advisor for the Avondale, AZ Fire and Medical Fire Department.

He is recognised for his expertise in firefighter protective clothing and safety issues and is a member of the National Fire Protection Association Technical Correlating Committee on Fire Service Protective Clothing and Equipment as well as the Technical Committee on Electronic Safety Equipment for Fire and Emergency Services (serving as committee chair from 2002-2012) with responsibilities for NFPA 1982 - Personal Alert Safety Systems, NFPA 1801 - Thermal Imagers, NFPA1802 - Portable Radios and NFPA 1800 – Electronic Safety Equipment. He is a Life member of the NFPA and has been involved in the Protective Clothing and Equipment project since 1985.

An active individual within the sector, Bruce is a member of Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, California Fire Chiefs, Western Fire Chiefs, California State Firefighters Association, National Fire Protection Association, Sonoma County Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Society of Fire Service Instructors, Fire Department Safety Officers Association and a Companion Fellow of the IFE. Prior to election to the Board Bruce was the International General Assembly representative for the IFE USA Branch and continues as the Branch Manager. 

 Mr Hao-giang Tay BSc (Hons) MSc FIFireE

IGA Representative

HG croppedHay-giang Tay is the President of the Malaysia Branch and a Past International President of the Institution.  He is the principle fire engineering consultant of Fire Safety Engineering Pty Ltd and also a graduate of Heriot Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. 

He has 34 years of experience in many areas of fire engineering and for many years he has been advising Malaysian Government agencies and private corporations in relation to fire engineering concepts and application. 

He is also an active participant in Malaysian standards development in fire safety and prevention.  Over the years, he has published many technical papers and has been invited to share his experience at international conferences and seminars. 

Being one of the pioneer members in setting up the IFE Malaysia Branch, Hao-giang’s objectives are to promote and encourage fire engineering concepts, at international level, by creating awareness of fire science and engineering within governmental, quasi-governmental and professional circles, whilst at the same time improving the practice of fire industries. 

He believes that the IFE is the best professional platform for achieving his goal of sharing experience for the benefit of members as well as communities globally.

Andrew Sharrad GradCert EngTech FIFireE 

A Sharrad - Profile Shot (002)Andrew joined the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) in 1986 and then the Institution of Fire Engineers in 1997 as a Graduate member. After 16 years of experience both on the IFE Australia Board and with his experience at MFS, Andrew gained Member grade in 2013 and then Fellow Grade and EngTech qualification in 2014. Andrew has been on the Australian Board since 1998 and is currently the Australian National Secretary.

He is also the Senior Fire Safety Officer of the Community Safety & Resilience Department and has participated on several Standards Australia committees and the Australian Built Environment Technical Group.

Andrew has served as the President of the Australian Branch and the International General Assembly Leader and remains heavily involved with IFE.

At present, he is involved with assessing building proposals, alternative and performance-based solutions and deals with Development Regulations, National Construction Code, Australian Standards and other relevant building legislation.

Andrew actively promotes IFE at every opportunity he can through working groups, LinkedIn, Conferences and CPD events. Andrew is also heavily involved in membership recruitment and CPD events for the IFE Australia Branch.

 Gary Daniels MPhil BSc (Hons) CEng MIFireE PMSFPE

IFERG Representative

Having grGary Daniels croppedaduated from Leeds University with a BSc (Hons) in Fire Science, Gary has worked as a Fire Engineer for Hoare Lea Fire Engineering in Manchester for over 15 years, having previously worked for Bickerdike Allen Partners for a further 2 years. Over this time he also undertook a part time master of philosophy in Civil and Construction Engineering at Manchester University in the field of smoke ventilation in residential common corridors. He was accepted as a Chartered Engineer via the IFE in 2006.

Gary’s projects include a diverse portfolio from Grade II listed castles and landmark buildings to terminal buildings at three out of the four of the UK’s busiest airports (Heathrow, Manchester, Stanstead).

He has extensive experience on residential smoke ventilation systems and has been using this knowledge to contribute to all three revisions of the SCA Guide Smoke Control to Common Escape Routes in Apartment Buildings (Flats and Maisonettes) as well as the smoke control section of the new CIBSE Guide E, due out in 2017.

He was part of the committee for the 2015 edition 9 of BS 9991 and was actively involved in developing many of the changes to the document. He has also been commenting on and producing information for the proposed revision of BS 9999 on behalf of the committee.

He regularly presents professional development seminars to designers, contractors, approving authorities and end users, including for the BSI and FIREX.

He represents the IFE on the Professional Development Steering Group of the Engineering Council as part of the correspondence group and is a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers Registrants Group Membership Committee (since 2015)

He is currently President of the UK Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and was responsible for the set-up of the society in the UK in 2014 after a long hiatus.

Duties of Trustees

Duties of Trustees Policy July 2017