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Arizona and Missouri Chiefs Named IAFC Fire Chiefs of the Year

Fairfax, Va. – The IAFC and Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, today announced the winners of the 2016 IAFC Fire Chief of the Year awards at Fire-Rescue International (FRI) in San Antonio, Texas. Chief Willard H. “Bill” Halmich, Washington (Mo.) Volunteer Fire Company, was named volunteer Fire Chief of the Year and Chief Harry Beck, Mesa (Ariz.) Fire and Medical Department, was named career Fire Chief of the Year.

Selected by a committee appointed by the IAFC, the winners are honored for their leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity and contributions to the fire service as a whole. Sponsored by Pierce, the awards will be presented August 18 during FRI’s general session at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

“With these awards, we celebrate the achievements of both Chief Harry Beck and Chief Bill Halmich, and their commitment to the advancement of the fire service on a local, regional and national level,” said Jim Johnson, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president of the Fire & Emergency segment and Pierce Manufacturing. “Pierce is pleased to acknowledge the positive impact of these truly exceptional leaders; all of us benefit from their leadership, dedication and integrity.”

Career Fire Chief Honoree – Harry Beck, of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department in Mesa, Arizona

Chief Harry Beck, who has devoted more than 40 years to fire and emergency services, began his career with the Phoenix Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks to the position of deputy fire chief. He joined MFMD, located in the nation’s 38th largest city, as fire chief in 2003.

Known as progressive team builder and innovator, Chief Beck’s accomplishments with MFMD are far reaching and reflect a leadership style that fosters empowerment and collaboration.

As chief, he established a five-year strategic vision that guided the department through financial challenges during the Great Recession. Chief Beck led efforts in developing innovative processes, through partnering with health-services organizations, to deliver fire service-based EMS that has set an example for the state of Arizona and has the potential to revolutionize it on a national basis. Through this process, Chief Beck was able to secure a multiyear Healthcare Innovation Grant totaling $12.5 million to enable MFMD to expand programs to provide more efficient and effective emergency response for those who call 911 for help.

He coordinated with the United Mesa Fire Fighters to lead the development and implementation of improved services for first responders, including PTSD awareness, life stress and addiction awareness, and resiliency training. Earlier this year, Chief Beck secured funding for a new MFMD dispatch center and city emergency-operations center.

Recognition for outstanding efforts include the Congressional Fire Services Institute Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award, Telly Awards for Public Education Programming and Automatic Aid Education and an Emmy Award for Drowning Awareness and Prevention. Chief Beck is an active member of the IAFC, the NFPA and the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association. He serves on multiple boards, including the Mountain Vista Medical Center and Life Safety Council, and is an advisory board member for the East Valley ACS Relay for Life.

Known for having an open mind and being an excellent listener, Chief Beck exemplifies the characteristics of a true leader worthy of Fire Chief of the Year.

Volunteer Fire Chief Honoree – Willard H. “Bill” Halmich, of the Washington (Mo.) Volunteer Fire Company

Chief Bill Halmich, a 50-year member of the Washington Volunteer Fire Company, knows a thing or two about loyalty. Chief since 1981, Halmich has served his community, country and fire department as a leader, motivator and consummate professional. Under his leadership, Washington Volunteer Fire Company became the first in Missouri to achieve an ISO Class 3 rating.

Chief Halmich has served on the National Firefighter Near Miss advisory board since its inception, with his department being a pilot case. His ability to manage large-scale incidents, along with his familiarity with (and service as area coordinator for) Missouri Fire Mutual Aid System make him ideally suited in his service as incident commander for Missouri’s Region C Incident Support Team.

Appointed by the governor to represent the fire service on planning and preparations for hazmat incidents, Chief Halmich also co-chairs the hazmat training committee. He previously served on the governor’s Fire Education Commission, which oversees firefighter training programs statewide to deliver effective, safe, and cost-effective fire service training.

In his home county, Chief Halmich chairs the Franklin County Homeland Security Response Team and works with the St. Louis Area Regional Response System to acquire standardized hazmat equipment and continued funding.

He is a charter member and proud supporter of the IAFC’s Volunteer and Combination Officers Section, providing chief officers with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism. Chief Halmich’s community service doesn't end with the Washington Volunteer Fire Company: he serves as a governor-appointed member of the Missouri Emergency Response Commission, City of Washington Missouri River Bridge Committee, the Capital Improvement Sales Tax Committee for the City of Washington (three terms) and the committee appointed to acquire enhanced 911 for Washington, Missouri.

Chief Halmich is a Vietnam Combat Veteran and a member of the American Legion, Elks Lodge and local VFW Post 2661. He is the recipient of the German Fire Service Medal for International Cooperation.

Chief Halmich represents a career devoted to the fire service on a local, regional, national and international level.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more

Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency, military and specialty vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corporation manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Jerr-Dan®, Frontline™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide by rental companies, concrete placement and refuse businesses, fire & emergency departments, municipal and airport services and defense forces, where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount.

Jim Philipps | IAFC Assistant Director, Strategic Communications
703-537-4829 | jphilipps@iafc.org

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