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T: 619 255 8964, ext 102

Stephen M. Leyton

Founder and President


Steve began his career in 1981 on the design/build side of the fire sprinkler industry and founded Protection Design in 1995 to focus on Architectural as well as Contractor clients. Affiliations include membership in NFPA, International Code Council (ICC), American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), California Fire Prevention Officers Northern and Southern Sections, and the San Diego Fire Protection Association. He is a principal member of the NFPA13 Technical Committee for Residential Sprinklers and Chairman of the NFPA14 Technical Committee for Standpipe systems. He also served as Chair of the installation committee for the California State Fire Marshal’s 2009 Residential Sprinkler Code Adoption Task Group and as Co-Chair of the ICC Ad-Hoc Committee on Residential Fire Sprinklers in 2005. Steve has worked on a wide range of residential, commercial/industrial, institutional and high-rise projects in the USA, Mexico and Asia.

Brent J. Kearney

Senior Associate Director, Design and Project Manager


Brent began drafting in AutoCad at age 14, and joined Protection Design in 2006. His professional growth in the fire protection industry encompasses all aspects of fire protection system design and project management, including 3D fire sprinkler system design and BIM coordination in Revit and Navisworks. His foresight and planning expertise help to guide clients to efficient and strategic solutions to code and design challenges.

His extensive knowledge of the NFPA wet-pipe standards (13, 13D, 13R, 14, 20 and 24) lend themselves to projects in all formats and occupancies including large scale tenant improvements, medium and high density residential communities, educational, historical and institutional projects. Elevated to Design Manager in 2015, Brent has crafted an extraordinary working relationship with demanding jurisdictional authorities such as California Division of the State Architect (DSA) and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). Brent is also a key member of our On-Site Services team with special expertise in MIC and impairment remediation.


T: 619 255 8964, ext 109


T: 619 255 8964, ext 106


Dante Vallina M.

Design Technician


After receiving his degree in Electrical/Mechanical Engineering from the Technical Institute of Tijuana, Dante spent 25 years in MEP engineering and contracting, including 11 years of heavy industrial projects and 3 years of intensive experience with hospital and healthcare facilities throughout Mexico. Since joining Protection Design in 2005, Dante has worked in drafting, layout, design and hydraulic modeling of water-based fire protection systems both in AutoCad and Revit.  As a design technician and job captain his work experience includes industrial, educational, institutional and residential projects in the USA and Mexico.



Tyler Cronk

Design Technician and Project Co-ordinator


With a background in Architectural Engineering and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Tyler brings extensive AutoCad and BIM modeling and coordination experience to the team.  Since joining Protection Design in 2011 his fire  protection career has encompassed experience with NFPA, CBC, CFC, UL, FM and ICC codes and standards.  Also proficient in Revit, Inventor and Illustrator, Tyler has overseen projects under the jurisdiction of local fire authorities, California State Fire Marshal, California Division of the State Architect (DSA) and Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and has worked on a range of projects including residential, commercial/industrial, institutional, high-rise and underground fire main site plans.


T: 619 255 8964 x 105

Miguel A. Heyer

Design Technician 

Miguel holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from ITESO University in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico and an associate’s certificate in Project Management from University of Barcelona’s on-line degree program.  With over 5 years of experience in residential and mixed use architectural projects before moving to the USA, Miguel adds a comprehensive academic and work experience skill set to the Protection Design team.  During his studies and career, Miguel has worked with AutoCad, ArchiCad, Revit, Cinema 4D, Illustrator and Sketchup.   His perspective as a practiced architect adds measures of empathy for and perception of new building designs as they progress from schematic to design development phases, which contribute to PD&C’s effective and essential planning services on the onset of construction document work.


T: 619 255 8964, ext 104


T: 619 255 8964, ext 110


Dennis Ambriz

Design Technician 


Dennis is a stand-out representative of the next generation of fire protection engineering and design technicians.  He joined Protection Design in 2016 with two years’ experience with both Revit and AutoCad and one year with SolidWorks.   His fire protection experience already includes hydraulic modeling and seismic bracing designs, along with sprinkler and piping layouts, planning and BIM modeling on institutional and educational projects.   With previous study and work experience in use of ANSI standards and motion/strain analysis, Dennis has made significant contributions to PD&C’s BIM library, creating families and objects and assisting with management and application of content.  



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