Who We Are

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Who We Are

Mission: HPBEF promotes safety and performance through education, training and certification to industry professionals.  Our services provide a competitive edge and a level of expertise that lead to better business practices and profitability.

Vision: HPBEF enhances the safety and comfort of your hearth and outdoor-living experience.

The National Fireplace Institute® is the professional certification division of the Heart, Patio & Barbecue Education Foundation (HPBEF), a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organizations for the Hearth industry. NFI’s objective is to increase public safety by establishing meaningful credentials for professionals involved in planning and installing residential hearth appliances and venting systems. NFI certifies planners and installers in four hearth product categories:

  • NFI Gas Specialist
  • NFI Woodburning Specialist
  • NFI Pellet Specialist
  • NFI Hearth Design Specialist

A fireplace or stove can add beauty,warmth and value to your home and set the mood for memorable gatherings of family and friends. But choosing and installing a hearth system without adequate expertise is like playing with fire. That is why our mission is making quality training and credentials its mission. Planning and installing fireplaces, stoves and their venting systems requires experience, technical knowledge and skills. Numerous decisions–from proper floor protection to appliance sizing and placement to venting systems compatibility and height-should all be made with the expertise of a specialist. One of the ways to identify a component specialist is to check their credentials. The National Fireplace Institute®, an independent, non-profit certification agency, has created the standard for certification in the hearth industry. Only those who pass a rigorous examination covering fundamentals of proper installation receive NFI Specialist Certification.

Since 1981, the independent non-profit Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Education Foundation® (HPBEF) has offered certifications for professions in the Hearth industry. In 2001, the HPBEF formed the National Fireplace Institute® as the national certification agency for the industry. A comprehensive review process was conducted with the help of industry installers, technical experts,and hearth business owners to determine what industry professionals need to know. As a result of formal review process, based on standard for certification agencies, the HPBEF revised and improved both manuals and exams for gas, woodburning, and pellet certifications. The comprehensive certifications are designed to gain recognition by building officials, and the general public.

NFI Specialists who have earned all three fuel specific certifications are recognized as Master Hearth Professionals® (MHP). This accomplishment is acknowledged with the MHP logo displayed on their company website and on their NFI identification card. The National Fireplace Institute certifications set a high standard for excellence in the industry.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Education Foundation and the National Fireplace Institute are governed by a Board of Governors that includes representatives from the hearth, patio and barbecue industries, the public safety, and allied service community.

Executive Committee
President: Hope Stevenson, DPST Consulting
Vice-President: Eugene LaFlamme, McCoy, Leavitt, Laskey, LLC
Secretary: Russ Dimmitt, Chimney Safety Institute of America
Treasurer: Dana Richens, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Board Members
Bill Carnes, Phoenix Sales
Richard DeGraw, Travis Industries
Matt Kolander, Kozy Heat Fireplaces
Shannon Rodgers, Jotul North America
Wayne Terpstra, PFS Corporation
Suzanne Turner, Rommel Heath & Outdoor

Non-Voting Board Members
Richard Hoffman, Firelight Hearth and Patio, HPBA Board Liaison
Jack Goldman, HPBA President & CEO