Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Education Foundation Names New Executive Director > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
August 03, 2021

Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Education Foundation Names New Executive Director

Longtime ED Rick Vlahos Will Continue in Part Time Role

The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association and the HPB Education Foundation announced today that Rich Sedgwick has been named the new Executive Director. Rich will replace Rick Vlahos, who retired from the Foundation on July 31st. Rick will stay on in a part time capacity. Rich joined the Foundation in July 2019 after being in the retail business for 20 years and owning his own store. He served on the Mid-Atlantic HPBA Board for seven years, including as its president in 2018. He also has many years’ experience teaching industry classes for the National Fireplace Institute.

“Rich was a great addition when he joined the Foundation in 2019 and is the natural successor to Rick,” noted Jack Goldman, President and CEO of HPBA. “Rick took the Foundation to new levels under his leadership and Rich will take it even higher.”

Rick Vlahos was with the Foundation for 15 years and was instrumental in the creation of the comprehensive education program that is currently available. He oversaw the transition to on-line courses and testing, as well as the introduction of the general exam supported by the fuel-specific modules. This eliminated redundancy in the exams and allowed test-takers to focus only on a specific fuel after taking the general exam.

“Rick is a dedicated teacher. His vision was to create trained, certified professionals for installation and service in our industry. This ensures that our products are being used properly and safely,” Goldman continued. “His contributions cannot be overstated. We will miss him as Executive Director but are delighted that he is staying on in a part-time capacity.”

“I’m very pleased to take on the role of Executive Director of this important organization,” stated Mr. Sedgwick. “I’ve seen the strength of the Foundation over the past couple of years and am honored to be selected to follow in Rick’s footsteps. He’s left me with a healthy organization that does vital work for the industry and the public.”


About the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, Va., is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of barbecue, patio and hearth appliances, fuels and accessories. The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising and consumer education.

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