The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has installed Chief Al H. Gillespie, EFO, CFO, MIFireE, fire chief of North Las Vegas Fire Department in Nevada, as IAFC president and chairman of the board for 2011-2012. The installation took place on August 27 during the IAFC’s Fire-Rescue International (FRI) conference in Atlanta.
As president and chairman of the board, Chief Gillespie will provide leadership to an 18-member board of directors for the association located in Fairfax, Va., and will serve as the primary spokesperson for the association on matters of national and international interest. He will testify on behalf of the IAFC at U.S. House and Senate hearings, and he will serve as the representative dignitary for the association in all major political and international functions.
Chief Gillespie will continue the IAFC’s work on eminent IAFC and joint-organizational programs and will place particular emphasis on those pertaining to emergency communications, ensuring the fire service remains a trusted and respected member of the local community, and expanding the association’s international presence and opportunity for fellowship and learning across borders.
During his inaugural address at the FRI 2011 general session, Chief Gillespie told attendees, “I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as a leader of leaders, and the men and women who serve our citizens in communities around the world.
Chief Al H. Gillespie is a proven leader, seen as both innovative and dynamic. He has worked for a combined city/county government and a county government and is currently working again for a city government. He has served in full career fire departments and in combination career and volunteer fire departments. He currently serves as the fire chief of the city of North Las Vegas, Nev., a culturally and ethnically diverse community and organization.
Chief Gillespie has served as the treasurer and vice chair for the Safety, Health and Survival Section of the IAFC and also participated in the association's Membership Task Force. He has served as a board member of the National Society of Executive Fire Officers and also as the secretary/treasurer of that organization. He is on the NFPA Technical Committee for Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health as an alternate.
Chief Gillespie has a strong labor/management background and has been a leader in developing team-working relationships between labor groups, including the IAFF and AFSCME and management. He has served as the chair of the Washington State Fire Chief's Labor Relations Committee.
He has a proven record as the fire chief in a multi-station, multi-battalion metro-size environment. He has experience as a leader of organizations that provide fire and EMS services, code and fire inspections, fire prevention, emergency management and public education. In addition, he has experience as the fire chief in an organization that also provided fire and EMS protection for a municipal airport and as a chief officer in charge of the dock-side shipboard firefighting on the Columbia River, and he has served in several state-wide mobilizations for wildland fires.
Chief Gillespie's education and qualifications include a fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a Bachelor's of Science in fire administration, two associate's degrees, a management certificate and a certificate of completion of the Executive Fire Officer Program from the National Fire Academy. He is a designated Chief Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence and is an MIFireE with the Institution of Fire Engineers.
Also installed during the ceremony on August 27 were Chief Hank Clemmensen, fire chief of the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District (Ill.), as the IAFC’s 1st vice president and Chief William Metcalf of the North County Fire Protection District (Calif.), as the IAFC’s 2nd vice president. Chief Richard Carrizzo of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District (MO) also was sworn in as treasurer of the IAFC.