**Due to COVID-19, no awards were presented in 2020.
After thoughtful consideration and in consultation with Pierce Manufacturing we have decided to pause the award program for 2021, to take time to assess the program in alignment with the strategic planning process.
We greatly appreciate those who submitted nominations in 2020 and 2021. We will be sure to reach out once we have determined our future direction. Thank you.
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Since 1996, the prestigious Fire Chief of the Year award has recognized one volunteer and one career fire chief for their leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, public service and contributions to the fire service. The IAFC presents the Fire Chief of the Year award in proud partnership with Pierce Manufacturing. The program’s media partner is FIRECHIEF.com.
A nomination in one or both categories are accepted from:
- All IAFC sections and divisions
- Any IAFC member
- Any state association of career and/or volunteer fire chiefs
- Center for Public Safety Excellence
- Congressional Fire Services Institute
- IAFC Diversity Executive Leadership Program (iDELP)
- IAFC Women Chiefs Council (WCC)
- Institution of Fire Engineers
- International Association of Arson Investigators
- International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters
- International Association of Fire Fighters
- International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services
- National Association of Hispanic Fire Fighters
- National Fire Protection Council
- National Volunteer Fire Council
- Native American Fire Chiefs Association
- Previous recipients may nominate one chief and are not limited to their own category
Two awards will be presented at FRI 2021; one for a career fire chief and one for a volunteer fire chief.
- A volunteer fire chief is defined as one who earns his or her principal livelihood by some means other than serving as a fire chief, even if the position of chief carries some compensation.
- A career fire chief is defined as one who earns his or her principal livelihood as a fire chief.
- In each category, the status of the fire department as a whole — paid, volunteer or combination — is not considered.
- Individuals who are eligible for nomination and selection as Fire Chief of the Year are limited to active chiefs of departments. Previous Fire Chief of the Year recipients are not eligible.
- Selection criteria will emphasize leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, service to the public and contributions to the fire service as a whole.
- All of a nominee's fire service activities and accomplishments will be considered. Special emphasis will be placed on the period from 2017 through 2020. A nominee's command role at a major emergency incident, while relevant, will not be enough to place that individual into contention for the award.
No politicking is permitted. The nomination submission and supporting documents comprise the entire documentation for a candidate's nomination. Neither the nominee nor anyone representing him or her is to contact the IAFC staff or any member(s) of the nomination/selection committee after the nomination has been made and before the final selection has been made. Any violations of this will subject the nominee to disqualification.
The IAFC is not responsible for submissions received past the deadline due to electronic errors. Contact Firechiefaward@iafc.org if you experience difficulty submitting your nomination. Submitted nomination information will not be shared with anyone beyond the panel of judges and IAFC staff assigned to administer the program.
Each qualified nomination, including 2020 nominations, will be reviewed by a selection committee appointed by the IAFC to choose the recipients. The IAFC reserves the right to omit an award. Recipient and regret notifications to the nominators will be issued in June. The recipients will be announced on Monday, July 26, 2021 and honored on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at Fire-Rescue International in Charlotte, North Carolina. Also, the recipients will be featured in iCHIEFS - The Official Magazine of the IAFC and on FIRECHIEF.com.
Questions? Contact: Firechiefaward@iafc.org
Past Fire Chiefs of the Year
Due to COVID-19, no awards were presented in 2020. Nominations received for 2020 will be considered for 2021.
- John Morrison, Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (Virginia)
- James Clack, Ankeny Fire Department (Iowa)
- Herbert Leusch, Glen Echo Fire Department (Bethesda, Md.)
- Joanne Hayes-White, San Francisco Fire Department
- Marvin Riggins, Macon-Bibb County (Ga.) Fire Department
- Brian Wade, North Lenoir (Kinston, N.C.) Fire and Rescue Department
- Harry Beck, Mesa (Ariz.) Fire and Medical Department
- Willard H. “Bill” Halmich, Washington (Mo.) Volunteer Fire Company
- Charles Addington, Wolfforth (Texas) Fire & EMS
- Dan Eggleston, Albemarle (Va.) County Department of Fire Rescue
- Alan Martin, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Fire and Rescue
- Chris Barron, Manchaca (Tex.) Fire Rescue
Complete Fire Chief of the Year winners list.