NFA Board of Directors
Steve W. Houser - President
As most of you know I came to fireworks from the banking industry in 2004 where I spent 13 years in commercial banking and bank consulting, travelling across the country, serving hundreds of clients and working with multiple regulatory agencies along the way. What you probably don’t know is that my first job in the fireworks industry was as a summer employee at a Class B wholesale and display company. I spent three summers working there from 1989-1991. After those long hot summer days concluded I was a Class B shooter for the display company side until 1998. At that time my banking career started taking more and more of my time and I was starting my family with my wife. I got back into fireworks in the fall of 2004 when things came full circle for me and I wound up as the Executive Vice President and director of operations of the very same wholesale and display company that I spent those summers working at back in college some 13 years before.
The industry had changed much since then and that change continues today.
I moved out of the Class B realm of fireworks in 2007 and took over the wholesale portion of a local Class C fireworks company in Joplin, MO, Crazy Debbies, now known primarily as Red Rhino Fireworks across the country. Since then I have been here in the consumer fireworks business working every day, and acquired Texas Outlaw Fireworks in Silsbee, TX in 2013. I have been a member of the NFA since my entry into the consumer fireworks industry and attended my first Expo in Cincinnati in 2007, never missing one since. So much has changed in the last 10 years, for better or worse some may say, but this fireworks life I have chosen has been a wonderful ride and I am grateful that my path has taken me down this road. It has opened my eyes to the industriousness of so many people and has made me good friends with so many of them. My life is much richer for it and I am thankful for that.
Because of those feelings, I am pleased to serve my fellow members of the NFA and I am grateful for the opportunity to put my skills and talents to work for all of you, with all of you. With the continued support of my wife of nearly 23 years, Elizabeth, and my 3 children, Asheley, Jonathan and Stephen, I am both excited and honored to serve as your NFA President. Let me know what I can do for you!
Kurt Cowgill - Treasurer
Hello everyone, it is my honor to have been elected for the Treasurer position of the National Fireworks Association. For those that don’t know me, my name is Kurt Cowgill and I am beginning my 18th year working in the consumer fireworks industry. I got my start working seasonally for North Central Industries, Inc. in the warehouse pulling orders and loading/unloading trucks. Today I am the Vice President of NCI, an importer of consumer fireworks since 1955. I have a lovely wife, Allyson, and we are expecting our first child, a boy, in January. Bob Kellner has been wonderful in this transition and left the association in great shape. The NFA Board of Directors, Marlie Manning, and many others I’ve met from the safety team and sub committees have been welcoming and great to work with thus far. I’ve attended the NFA Expo every year since 2010, and our company supports the NFA by participating in the trade show and demos each year. I have previously served as Treasurer for the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation from 2016-2022, and am a founding board member of that organization since its inception.I hope to use my industry experience, and accounting background to serve the NFA membership well in this fiduciary role. I will give the membership my very best efforts to ensure the financial interests of the organization are served.
Ed Vasel - Vice President
Ed Vasel has been a marketing and sales specialist in the fireworks industry for 12+ years. Most of that time helping to build the Dominator Fireworks brand. He has been a member of and attended dozens of conventions including NFA, APA, PGI, and ISF. He has been an 0431 APA committee member. He has assembled and led multiple award-winning display teams in the USA and China. Ed wrote a multi-page article on pyromusicals and has given several seminars on the subject. Before that, he owned a contracting company and designed and sold racking equipment for the firework industry.
His time in the industry has led him to many relationships with everyone from the end-users, China suppliers, importers, and regulatory agencies. Ed hopes to use these relationships and knowledge to help the NFA, and all of its members continue to advance in these challenging times. Some projects he hopes to champion include improving the current freight crisis, creating a product destruction plan accepted by the CPSC and local AHJ's, Building unity within the NFA through transparency and communication. Assisting the BOD to make moves to keep the NFA viable financially, and increase our industry presence on a regulatory level.
Scott Smith is a technical business entrepreneur and CEO of COBRA Firing Systems and IGNITE Firing Systems serving over 20,000 customers worldwide.
Scott believes that the success of the NFA comes from serving the interest of its members with the goal of ensuring safety within the industry and supporting our members to enable growth and market sustainability.
A geek at heart, Scott is helping to build many of the back-end software systems that help keep the NFA organized and communicating with members.
I have a general interest in being part of the NFA and to lend the skills I have to help support and grow the organization for the benefit of those we serve. Thanks to all for your support.
Scott Smith - Secretary
Mike is a self employed electrical contractor and has been for 30 years. He has wired up stores and warehouses for Northeast Fireworks; Fireworks Productions; and Kellner’s Fireworks. Mike began shooting fireworks at the age of 13. He has shot shows for Zambelli, Legion, Fireworks Productions and Grucci Fireworks to name a few. Mike has helped the past 2 years to shoot the New Years Eve Show for Grucci in Las Vegas. Mike has his N.Y.S. “Own and Possess” license and ATF high explosives license. He is a member of NFA, PGI, WPA, PPA. Mike owns along with John Sagaria 2 type IV and 1 type II magazines on his property. He has been active for the last 10 years helping to set up and shoot the fireworks at Kellner’s Fireworks demo each spring. Mike is a member of the National Fireworks Association’s safety committee and has served in this capacity for many years.