Fairfax, Va. – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, today announced the 2014 winners of the Fire Chief of the Year awards: Chief Chris Barron of the Manchaca (Texas) Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Alan J. Martin of the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Fire & Rescue Department.
Winners (selected by a committee appointed by the IAFC) are honored for their dedication and leadership in fire and emergency services. Sponsored by Pierce, the annual awards will be presented Thursday during the opening session at the IAFC's 2014 Fire-Rescue International conference in Dallas.
"We acknowledge and appreciate the many achievements that both Chief Alan Martin and Chief Chris Barron have made to their departments, the fire service and their communities," said Jim Johnson, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Fire & Emergency. "Pierce is honored to be a part of this important event as the fire service pays tribute to these leaders for their dedication, accomplishments and outstanding character."
Career Fire Chief of the Year: Alan J. Martin
The impact Chief Alan J. Martin has had on the fire service in Alabama is both deep and wide. A 40-year veteran of the fire service, Martin began his career in 1974 with the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service. There, he served in positions of increasing responsibility, including four different assistant-chief positions, until 2002 when he was appointed as fire chief of the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service (TFRS).
During his tenure, Chief Martin has led a transformation of TFRS to become an excellent, progressive fire department that operates optimally as a result of structural and operational changes. For his outstanding leadership, in 2013, Chief Martin was named Fire Chief of the Year by both the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs and the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs.
Throughout his career in the Alabama fire service, Chief Martin has spearheaded a number of outstanding fire service related programs, including "Get Alarmed! Tuscaloosa," a smoke alarms installation program. He was also instrumental in the recent rollout by the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs of the statewide fire-prevention campaign, "Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention."
During his career, Chief Martin has also furthered his own education and participated in a variety of community organizations unrelated to the fire service, including Habitat for Humanity and Leadership Tuscaloosa Board.
Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year: Chris Barron
Chief Chris Barron has served in the demanding positions of volunteer fire chief of Manchaca Fire/Rescue and executive director of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association (SFFMA) of Texas concurrently since 2006 (his service with Manchaca Fire/Rescue began in 1990). His track record in both roles illustrates his commitment to the fire service and to professionalism.
As Manchaca Fire/Rescue fire chief, Barron led the department's transition from an all-volunteer to a combination department serving an area of 12 square miles and a population of more than 17,000 during a period of tremendous growth. As executive director of SFFMA, he has garnered respect for his focus on firefighter education and for coordinating and supervising the construction of the new SFFMA headquarters.
Chief Barron also served on the NFPA 1720 Committee on Standards for Staffing Volunteer Emergency Services and the North Central EMS Cooperative Board of Directors. Further, he served as chair of the national search committee for the associate director of the Texas Forest Service and as a national representative at the IAFC's Landmark Fire Service Summit.
He secured a $1M grant for SFFMA from the Department of Homeland Security for the recruitment and retention of firefighters, and he created and administered the Texas Wildfire PPE Relief Fund. He has been recognized and received a number of awards for his commitment and service, including the VCOS John M. Buckman III Leadership Award. Chief Barron earned a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Southwest Texas State University.
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