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Student Profiles


"One of the great things about this program is the diversity of students and the expertise of instructors.  These are people who are from all over the country who bring their ideas and concepts to the online discussions. We all learn things from each other, it is fascinating.  It is a great thing to have all of these people come together."
John Kaminski
Battalion Chief, Toledo Fire & Rescue

John Kaminski is finding more than one reason to celebrate his education at BGSU. One of the members of the first cohort of students in the Bachelor of Fire Administration online degree program, he was promoted to Battalion Chief at Toledo Fire and Rescue Department on March 15, 2013. He initially started to take classes at BGSU in order to be considered for promotion, but then decided to pursue the FIAD degree. “It opened my eyes and got me thinking outside of the box. A fire chief is like the CEO of a large company, and the citizens are the stakeholders. For anyone who has any kind of future goals to be promoted in the fire service, I would say education is a necessity. ”

A beautiful thing about this program, according to Chief Kaminski, is the diversity of students and the expertise of instructors. “These are people who are from all over the country who bring their ideas and concepts to the online discussions. We all learn things from each other, it is fascinating. It is a great thing to have all of these people come together.”

While balancing work and school and family is challenging and takes discipline, John says that the cohort model helps keep everyone on track. “The cohort is like a family. We are all excited to be here and we are all focused on graduating so it is a great thing.”

John says his family, wife Denise and daughters Ari (19), Sydnie (18), Brooke (8), and Paige( 7) are his true support. “They understand that the long hours and homework are all for a higher purpose. I couldn’t do it without them.” For now John’s immediate plans are to graduate in August 2014 and learn as much about his new position as possible. With a solid foundation in education, more than 15 years of professional experience he is ready to accept the challenge.

 



"Education is truly the tool that is improving what we do every day and the FIAD program at BGSU is outstanding.  It was looked upon very highly by the panel of professionals in our community that assisted the Mayor in his decision to select me as the new Fire Chief. "

Chief Richard Sluder
Wauseon Fire Department

Rick Sluder  is as dedicated to public safety as they come. As soon as he graduated from high school he and began to pursue education and training in law enforcement.  In 1988, he obtained the Ohio Peace Officer Certificate and began working part-time for the Wauseon Police Department.  In 1990 he also  joined the Wauseon Fire Department, and in 1991 he joined the Delta Police Department as a part-time officer.   AIthough he accepted a fulltime position at the Delta Police officer in 1994, he continued training in fire and EMS and earned multiple certifications  

One of Rick’s goals was to prove that he could work effectively in both fields and that fire officer and police officers can work together.  He recognized that the changing of the culture was challenging, but not impossible. He has made it his goal to demonstrate effective and positive inter-agency cooperation, staying focused on planning and prevention, and merging services whenever feasible. He has always been avid about education and training and is a certified inspector, instructor, and also completed the Ohio Chiefs of Police Executive Leadership College in Ohio. His active roles in the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association, as well as local organizations provide him an opportunity to build strong networks and professional relationships. Through his involvement with state and local Police Chiefs and Fire Chiefs organizations, he has been able to build a professional network to support his mission of better cooperation among the agencies in his county, and is developing new members to look beyond their own agency’s needs to become true advocates for public safety and positive changes in culture.

When Rick began the Fire Admininstration program he was the Chief of Police in Delta and the Assistant Chief of Fire in Wauseon, not to mention a husband, father of three sons, and extremely active community member.   He tirelessly took classes, sometimes taking a fulltime course load, even while working two  jobs. To say he inspires us in an understate. On July 1, 2013, Rick was sworn in as the Chief of Fire for the City of Wauseon  and  continues to  proudly serve in that capacity. He will also be in the first group to graduate with the Bachelor of Science in Fire Administration in May 2014.