"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."
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 December 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. Although 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 Administration 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 is an understatement. 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.
"I largely struggled to find a bachelor’s degree program in fire science that interested me and motived me to go back to school. I felt like I was going to have to go through the motions in a program that really didn’t fit my needs or desires. In fact, I dragged my feet for several years before finally making the commitment to go back to school, even though I knew that I needed a bachelor’s degree to compete for future internal and external career opportunities such as promotions and the NFA’s Executive Fire Officer Program. Once I found the BGSU program, I was instantly sold that this was the program for me and very quickly applied to the program. The BGSU FIAD program has more met my expectations of what I wanted to get out of bachelor’s degree program and has further prepared me to be a leader in my department. During the time that I was working on my degree, I was promoted from the rank of Captain to the rank of Battalion Chief and I use the program’s lessons each and every day to better serve my department. Without this course work, I would not be as prepared as I currently feel I am to do the job of a company or chief officer. "
Jason Graber, Battalion Fire Chief
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department
Jason Graber is a battalion fire chief with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department and is currently in charge of the safety and training division. Graber has been with MWAA since 2003 and served in various roles of progressively responsibility during his career including firefighter, firefighter/technician and captain. Graber has been a member of the ARFF Working Group since 2004 and served as the sectional manager of section two and is currently the education and training and affairs officer and a current member of the board of directors and executive board.
Graber has been in the fire service since 1998 serving stints as a volunteer firefighter and officer with the Darien Volunteer Fire Company in Genesee County, New York and the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company in Loudoun County, Virginia. He holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from SUNY Canton and will graduate with his bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration from Bowling Green State University in August 2014.