The 2011 Volunteer Fire Chief of the year is Robert Perry of the Union Fire Protection District in Peace Dale, R.I., and the 2011 Career Fire Chief of the Year is Debra Amesqua of the Madison (Wis.) Fire Department.
FIRE CHIEF is proud to announce the recipients of the 2011 Fire Chief of the Year awards. The 2011 Volunteer Fire Chief of the year is Robert Perry of the Union Fire Protection District in Peace Dale, R.I., and the 2011 Career Fire Chief of the Year is Debra Amesqua of the Madison (Wis.) Fire Department.
“We are very pleased with the selection of this year’s winners,” said Editorial Director Janet Wilmoth said in a press statement. “The commitment and dedication of both Chief Amesqua and Chief Perry represent the hard-work and challenges facing today’s fire and emergency leadership.”
Perry has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 40 years. He has served as the chief at the 300-member Union Fire District since 2004, and was a deputy chief for training and development for 16 years before being named chief. Intensely devoted to firefighter safety and training, Perry is widely known for changing the paradigm to “Safety Always” in fire departments throughout the state of Rhode Island.
“Chief Perry is a recognized leader who is progressive, believes in collaboration, and through cooperative understanding has built strong bridges between the volunteer and career firefighters in the state of Rhode Island,” Philip Stittleburg, chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council, wrote in his nomination letter.
Amesqua became the first female fire chief in Madison's history in 1996. And, at the time, she was one of only seven women to head one of the 32,000 fire departments in the country. Amesqua is nationally recognized for her work on senior level management training for fire service women and breaking down barriers for people of color. She has developed and presented workshops and authored professional papers on subjects related to executive officer career development, and building a learning organization in the fire service.
Perry and Amesqua received their awards during the opening session of the Fire-Rescue International on Aug. 26.
Editor's note: For more about the 2011 Fire Chiefs of the Year, read the September print edition of FIRE CHIEF.