Gannon New Latin American Sales Manager
W.S. Darley & Co. is transitioning key personnel in its Latin American sales office this month.
Christopher (Chris) Gannon is assuming the role of Latin American Sales Manager for the company. Based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, he will oversee sales in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. He replaces Eulando Piñero, who is heading up a new public safety program for the largest private university in his native Puerto Rico. Piñero will continue to provide technical support and training to Darley customers on a contract basis.
Gannon began his professional career in 1992, working for the Fire and Rescue Service in Great Britain. He held that position for 10 years before becoming the founder and first Chief Fire Officer of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the British West Indies. He received a mandate from the British government to design, build and manage the fire and rescue service from concept to completion.
From 2002-09, his role was expanded into fire and disaster management for all British Overseas Territories, from Bermuda to the Falkland Islands. In 2009, he left government service and started a private consulting company, Gannon Emergency Solutions. He completed projects in 34 different countries on five continents, reviewing, reforming and modernizing fire and rescue departments.
For the past 17 years, Gannon had a business relationship with the Darley company, as well as personal relationship with Paul, Peter and Jeff Darley. “It has been my go-to company,” said Gannon. The convenience of one-stop shopping, as well as top flight customer support, made it a natural fit.
One former Darley employee, the late Jeff Schlitter, was Gannon’s point of contact for export sales. “It’s ironic I’ve now been given the opportunity to do work in Jeff’s name,” said Gannon. “I owe a lot to him and can now pay him back for all the support he gave me.”
Gannon is a member of a multitude of professional organizations, from NFPA to various fire chiefs’ associations. He is a regular presenter at fire and emergency service conventions and conferences. He also serves as a United Nations disaster management coordinator, responding to significant tragedies as part of the leadership team.
In his spare time, Gannon enjoys football (soccer), playing twice on World Cup qualifying teams, and cooking. “My passion is food,” said Gannon. “If I wasn’t in the fire services, I’d be a chef.”
Living in South America and the Caribbean for 15 years, Gannon feels comfortable in serving as sales manager for Latin America. “I know the region well,” he said. “It is both my home and territory. Now it has become my territory for Darley.”
Piñero, who had been sales manager for Latin America since October 2014, is transitioning to a technical support and training role on a contract basis. Piñero was recently named professor of the newly created Public Safety Institute at the Ana G. Mendez University System in Puerto Rico. It is the largest private university in Puerto Rico. As Public Safety Institute coordinator, Piñero is responsible for developing a new program focused on public safety and preparedness. The university board decided to add the courses in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017. About 20 percent of the country remains without power. Twenty-five students are expected to enroll in the two-year program, leading to an associate degree, said Piñero. Classes will start in June. He will use his prior fire service experience of 25 years, along with time spent at Darley, to his new role at the university.
Piñero was the only firefighter from Puerto Rico to serve as a fire services instructor at Texas A&M University. He was also the first person from Latin America who earned an Urban Search and Rescue specialist certificate from the University of Texas. “While at Darley, I was able to expand my contacts in Latin America to understand their needs,” said Piñero. “I share with them knowledge to improve their services.” He took pride in participating in the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs, the Colombian Fire Chiefs annual conference, and other fire service related activities. While stepping into a new academic role, Piñero said he will continue to develop the volunteer fire departments that he helped establish in Puerto Rico.