Cal Poly Fire Protection Engineering Grads Include Senior-level Career Professionals

In June, Cal Poly conferred 16 master’s degrees in fire protection engineering (FPE), making this the largest graduating class since the program was established in 2010.

Unlike most graduations for bachelor’s and master’s candidates, however, the FPE degree recipients included professionals in senior-level and leadership positions.

Joshua Elvove, for instance, has 35 years of fire protection and life safety experience with the federal government and the private sector, and is the current president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. “It’s never too late to extend your knowledge, especially in an ever-changing field like fire protection engineering,” he said. “Cal Poly’s FPE master’s program offers a broad range of fire protection classes that can be applied in practice, the faculty has a broad range of field experience and the program’s distance learning format makes it effective and convenient.”

Another graduate, Steve Carman, is a retired senior special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “In my 22 years as a fire investigator, I learned the science of fires, but not the design of buildings and systems for fire and safety protections,” noted Carman. “I wanted the new knowledge Cal Poly’s program offered so that I can figure out system failures.”

Other FPE graduates include Oscar Zuniga and Keith Dix. Zuniga received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 and is now a principal in a multidisciplinary consulting engineering firm. “The Cal Poly FPE program opened new avenues for collaboration with fellow students and professors,” he noted. Dix, a captain in the Fire Prevention Bureau of a large Portland fire service, has taught classes in fire protection and systems for 22 years at Red Rocks Community College.

Cal Poly’s multidisciplinary Fire Protection Engineering is one of only three such programs in the nation and the only one on the West Coast.

For more information on Fire Protection Engineering programs at Cal Poly, please visit

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