In an interview with International Fire and Safety Journal, John Ottesen, CEO and Founder of Dafo Fomtec AB, highlighted the importance of data over opinion in the firefighting foam industry.
Ottesen’s discussion with IFSJ Editor Iain Hoey offered valuable insights into Fomtec’s journey and its pioneering focus on fluorine-free foam solutions.
John Ottesen, a veteran with 30 years of experience in the fire industry, shared his personal journey.
He began his career at Tyco in Norway during the early 1990s. It was there that he fostered a deep connection to the foam industry.
The establishment of Fomtec arose from Ottesen’s aspiration for a more agile, customer-centric company.
In 2000, 3M’s exit from the foam market paved the way for Fomtec to emerge as a significant player, with Ottesen steering the ship for the past 22 years.
From its inception in 2001, Fomtec aimed to be agile, customer-focused, and innovative.
Ottesen emphasized the distinction between Fomtec as a fire protection company and a mere chemical blending entity.
The ambition was to elevate Fomtec to ‘Premier League’ status within the market, a goal that has been consistently pursued.
The industry, while retaining certain elements, has witnessed significant changes, especially in the realm of UL-approved products.
The rise of internet and technology has reshaped business operations, while the push for environmentally friendly products has necessitated innovation.
Major milestones for Fomtec include acquiring their first FM approval in 2007, achieving the Military Specification (MIL-SPEC) in 2014, and pioneering the introduction of an FM-approved fluorine-free sprinkler foam in 2021.
These achievements underscore the company’s dedication to offering systems, not just products.
The emphasis on transitioning to fluorine-free foam exemplifies Fomtec’s commitment to innovation and setting new standards based on data and real-world applicability.
Future efforts will focus on the foundational principles of being data-driven, innovative, and maintaining a keen customer focus.
The commitment to data over opinion, while burdensome at times, has been positively received by customers.
For Ottesen, his career in foam was somewhat serendipitous, but his passion for the industry is undeniable.
He leaves the readers of IFSJ with a pertinent piece of advice: always base decisions on data and not mere opinions, especially in the critical domain of fire systems.
The shift from PFAS-containing foam to fluorine-free solutions represents a monumental transition in the fire safety industry.
Fomtec’s data-driven approach provides a reassuring foundation for this transition. Their dedication to rigorous data over casual opinions underscores the seriousness of the change.
Fire systems might be a cost center for businesses, but their role in crisis situations is paramount.
As such, the industry’s reliance on accurate data is not just commendable but essential.
It’s heartening to see industry leaders like Fomtec pave the way with a steadfast commitment to both innovation and safety.