Alan Caldwell, senior advisor for government relations at the IAFC, will retire from the association effective May 10. Caldwell, who also served as director of the IAFC’s government relations team until 2005, was instrumental in many of the fire service’s major legislative victories over the past two decades.
“Alan has done an outstanding job, not just for the members of IAFC, but for the fire and emergency service as a whole,” said Mark Light, IAFC CEO and executive director. “Chiefs across the nation are better off today because of Alan’s tireless efforts on their behalf.”
Caldwell was hired as director of government relations in June 1996 to “establish the IAFC as a powerful voice for America’s fire service on Capitol Hill,” according to a statement issued at the time. Caldwell brought a rare combination of qualities to the job, including an impressive career in government relations and fire service experience, which gave him a keen understanding of both policy issues and operational reality.
Major issues Alan helped the IAFC to frame and address include enhancing the fire service response to terrorism, developing better hazmat management, addressing the volunteer two-hatter issue, improving EMS response capability and passing the Fire Act, which created a new federal-funding mechanism to support local fire departments.
“Alan set the stage for many of the issues that have become definitive of today’s national fire and emergency service policy,” said Ken LaSala, IAFC’s director of government relations.
Even after choosing to transition to a part-time position with the association in 2005, Caldwell’s passion continued. “Now, as he retires on the heels of the successful effort to secure the building block of a nationwide public-safety broadband network, his efforts will be foundational for the next generation of fire service leaders,” continued LaSala.
“While we’ll miss Alan a great deal, all of us at the IAFC wish him a happy and healthy retirement,” said Light.
Despite all his notable professional and personal achievements, Caldwell says of his years at the IAFC, “Working for the fire chiefs has been the best job of my life.”
About Alan Caldwell
Caldwell came to the IAFC from the food industry. He began his career in 1962 at Del Monte Corporation’s headquarters in San Francisco. In 1974, he was selected to head the company’s Washington, D.C., office. When Del Monte merged with RJR Nabisco a decade later, he continued on as director of government relations.
Soon after moving to the Washington area, Caldwell joined the Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire Department in Fairfax County, Va., where he became a firefighter/EMT, engine company officer and then fire chief.
He was also a chief fire officer in the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department and continues as an instructor at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Training Academy. He also served as a member and chair of the Fairfax County Fire Commission. Though no longer operational, he continues his 36 years of service on Dunn Loring’s board of trustees.
Caldwell and his wife, Louise, celebrated their 50th anniversary this past September. They have two children and three grandchildren.