The IAFC’s Emergency Vehicle Management Section (EVMS), and Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL), proudly announce the recipient of the 2021 Boyd Cole Award, Kevin Roberts. This award recognizes an educator, trainer, or facilitator who effectually organizes the training and certification of emergency vehicle technicians, through the Emergency Vehicle Technician Certification Commission (EVTCC).
Kevin Roberts was the second of seven children raised on a farm in central Wisconsin and he discovered early on that he got along better with the equipment than with the animals. His favorite chores where using and servicing the tractors, trucks, cars, and farm equipment. His favorite work place was in the shop, organizing the tools and equipment, and figuring out what made things work. He credits his 8th grade science teacher with instilling in him a confidence that mechanical things were understandable if you were committed to reading and willing to take them apart (as well a put them back together).
After high school, he worked in construction in the city of Milwaukee, starting out as a laborer and becoming a union Bricklayer through a Joint Apprenticeship opportunity. By the end of his six years in the industry he was a commercial jobsite foreman for the masonry contractor that employed him. (He also helped maintain and repair the construction equipment as needed)
The next six years were spent as maintenance director for Crescent Lake Bible Camp. It was this position that brought him to Rhinelander Wisconsin. He was in charge of a maintenance crew that often consisted of just himself, maintaining 30 plus buildings, multiple vehicles and pieces of equipment. He loved the work and the people he became friends with. It was here he met his wife.
When it was time to start a family, Kevin wanted a career that provided not only a steady income, but the opportunity to spend time with that family. He purchased a plot of land that had a house and shop in close proximity, spent some time making the shop usable, and opened for business. The freedom to walk home for lunch with his children was all it was hoped to be. Three boys and a girl later he is often found talking about his remarkable children.
After doing so, he was invited to attend the EVTCC Validation Conference to take part as a volunteer committee member in the test development process. He has worked with them almost every year since, becoming a committee chairman and in 2015, joining the board of directors.
Kevin was invited to attend a Police Fleet Expo in 2005, the first of several invitations and was given the opportunity to write a series of articles for the Police Fleet Manager Magazine. This continued until 2010 when Kevin served as a Nicolet Technical College adjunct instructor taking his focus from being able to devote the time to necessary for writing. These articles are archived at Hendon Media Group.
In late 2012 he was approached by CarQuest Technical Institute about becoming a trainer of automotive technicians. He had been attending the classes offered by CTI for well over a decade and with a certain amount of trepidation accepted the offer. This has continued since and he has regular regions in Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois, and southern Wisconsin. He also leads individual classes as needed across the country.
Since 2014 he has produced and delivered Ambulance Training for California, Oregon, and Colorado Fire Mechanics associations. These are usually 4 or 5 days of instruction that cover all areas of ambulance service and include both lecture and hands on training.
In 2018 the EVTCC Board elected him to succeed Steve Wilde as President.