John ‘Jack’ Crowley is responsible for the one of the most widely used hydraulic wet pipe (and dry pipe) sprinkler calculation programs designed. In 1973, he started with Texas Instruments routines which by 1977 became personal computers that had to be assembled from kits five years before IBM and Apple’s launched.
As Michael Mahomet, SprinkCAD Engineer from Tyco Fire Protection states, “Jack was clearly ahead of his time with gridded systems calculations and algorithms that are still in use.”
In fact, thousands of users every day rely on his mathematical techniques as he applied them into the world of fire protection computational mathematics.
Jack Crowley received an FPE scholarship to Illinois Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1962. Many of his college classmates became well known in the fire protection industry. For Jack, as humble as he is, as immersed in mathematics and fire protection sciences as he could, was to be the engineer behind the scenes. Few knew him or even comprehended the global impact his software would have in saving lives.
With specialized career vocation, he worked for the Kentucky Inspection Bureau, providing code input for none other than Maker’s Mark, one of the world’s coveted bourbon whiskeys. Firing barrels for a charcoal smoothness was a fire engineer’s dream; especially for an Irish one.
Jack worked for such firms as Star Sprinkler by 1975 and then Central Sprinkler with the Meyer family. He was also mentored by Robert C. Worthington, the V.P. of Engineering for Star and Central Sprinkler.
But it was Crowley Design, the firm bearing his name with his creation of HyperCalc®, one of the earliest and most widely used computerized fire protection hydraulic analysis programs that reflected his science-based fire protection system of gridded and node-based methods.
Being frustrated with the overly conservative methodologies of standard schedule piping layout, Jack was interested in converting the tedious mathematical equations and calculations into a computational package that gave verifiable output and reduced human error or assumption.
Many within the fire protection industry utilized the K-Y Pipe Simulation Program available from the University of Kentucky. We used this at PSE for outside hydrant and pump calculations. But this clumsy tool was not meant for sprinklers. Jack was able to configure node-by-node algorithms that were utilized in his program and fashion them into a scientifically demonstrable, calculated output, that would provide engineers the verification of pressure, distribution, flow, and output. This output remains the best and most reliable system data output available.
Through his tenacious and problem-solving mind, Jack sought the mathematical holy grail of sprinkler hydraulics for sprinkler system designers to significantly reduce both fire death rate and property damage when wet or dry pipe sprinkler systems are active and well-engineered using computer software.
As his former employer, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a practicing licensed fire protection engineer in over a dozen states, NICET-certified in fire alarm/wet sprinkler, a Director of the Delaware Valley SFPE, as well as John Kampmeyer, PE, a Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year, and Mike Mahomet of Tyco, we strongly supported this nomination to the most well deserving individual having the greatest impact on survival from fire with the prestigious honors of being Fire Protection Person of the Year.
Jerry ‘Dutch’ Forstater, PE is CEO of PSE, a planning, design and project management firm with over 35+ years in security, fire protection, communications, and energy controlled environments. He brings continuity and world-class engineering to the data-rich security operations environment to improve operator dynamics, situational awareness, process control and mission effectiveness.
‘Dutch’ can be reached by phone (800) 839-5060 x107 or by email @