CPSE Recognizes Its “Rock Stars”

Nearly 300 representatives from accredited agencies and designated officers and their guests enjoyed an evening of good food and networking on Thursday, August 14, in Dallas. CPSE hosted its annual Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Reunion in Dallas during the IAFC’s Fire-Rescue Conference and honored the hundreds of people who make CPSE programs successful.

The dinner program spotlighted more than 500 fire and emergency services officers who attained or renewed a professional designation since August, 2013. Specifically, CPSE’s Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) awarded designations to:

    • 95 Fire Officers (FO)
    • 25 Fire Marshals (FM)
    • 21 Chief Training Officers (CTO)
    • 39 Chief EMS Officers (CEMSO)
    • 327 Chief Fire Officers (CFO)


In addition, 47 fire agencies, consisting of both civilian and military from around the world, were recognized for new agency accreditation or re-accreditation in 2014.

Individuals who successfully earned a designation or represented an accredited agency as well as the nearly 400 individuals who serve CPSE in a variety of capacities, such as Ambassadors, workshop instructors, peer assessors, peer reviewers, on technical working groups, as technical advisors, past awards winners, as Commissioners or Board members and on various committees were honored as our “rock stars.”

The evening began with a few welcoming remarks from Chief Bill Metcalf, CFO, outgoing Chairman of the IAFC Board of Directors. Chief Metcalf praised all of the individuals and agencies in the room who are striving to provide the highest level of services to their respective communities. Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Chief Randy Bruegman, CFO, CPSE President and Chief of the Anaheim (CA) Fire Department.

Paul Brooks Honored for Service to CPSE as Executive Director

During the Awards Dinner, Chief Bruegman paused for a few minutes to call Paul Brooks, CFO, CPSE Executive Director, to the stage. He then asked the entire CPSE Board of Directors, and Paul’s wife, Kathy, to join him on the stage to recognize the contributions that Paul has made in the past six years to grow the programs and services of CPSE. Chief Brooks has announced his retirement and plans to return to his home in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was totally surprised by the presentation of a bald eagle statue with commemorative plate recognizing his years of service to the organization from the Board and the staff and the recognition from friends and colleagues in the audience.

Chief Brooks became engaged with CPSE when his department was selected to participate in the original beta testing project for the CFAI model in 1993. He was the accreditation manager when Greensboro became one of the first five accredited agencies in 1997. He worked with the original technical working group tasked with developing and implementing the fire accreditation model in its final phase, and was one of the very early CFAI peer assessment team leaders and instructors He has contributed to several CPSE publications included numerous editions of the Fire & Emergency Services Self Assessment Manual, the CFAI Standards of Cover Manual, and Exceeding Customer Expectations. He was nominated by IAFC and appointed by the Board to the Commission on Fire Accreditation International in 2002 and served as the Chair from 2006 until 2008 when he accepted the position of Executive Director of CPSE.

Paul Brooks accepting his eagle statue and congratulations from the CPSE Board of Directors

Regional Consortiums Reach More Local Departments

CPSE is seeing a greater number of agencies becoming a Registered Agency due to the influence of a regional consortium of currently accredited agencies. At the present time we have nine regional and state groups supporting the accreditation model and promoting professional designations in the U.S. These regional groups are:

  • Rocky Mountain Accreditation and Credentialing Consortium
  • Florida Accreditation/Credentialing Consortium
  • Great Lakes Fire Accreditation Managers Group
  • Heart of America Accreditation Task Force
  • North Carolina Accreditation Support Consortium
  • Pacific NW Fire Accreditation Consortium
  • South Carolina Accreditation Consortium
  • Virginia Accreditation and Credentialing Consortium
  • Canadian Accreditation Consortium

The regional consortiums are a valuable resource for any agency seeking information and assistance with the self-assessment process in that they often offer workshops, conference calls to assist departments and more. If you are interested in starting a regional or state consortium, or in getting involved with an existing consortium in your area, contact Karl Ristow at the CPSE office for assistance at kristow@cpse.org.

Neil Rosenberger Takes Ambassador of the Year

Neil Rosenberger, CFO, Division Chief/Fire Marshall of the Fairmount Fire Protection District in Colorado, was named the CPSE Ambassador of the Year at the awards dinner on August 14, by Executive Director Paul Brooks. Chief Rosenberger was cited for his active support and promotion of CPSE accreditation, credentialing and technical advisor services to groups throughout Colorado, around the country and at industry events.

Chief Rosenberger is a member of the Technical Advisor team and is a frequent contributor to CPSE programs.

Neil Rosenberger accepts the Ambassador Award for 2014

Designees in the News

Christopher Cotter, CFO, City Administrator Representative on the Commission on Professional Credentialing recently received the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Mr. Cotter is one of over 1,300 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program. The designation recognizes professional local government managers qualified by a combination of education and experience, adherence to high standards of integrity, and an assessed commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

Mr. Cotter has more than 20 years of experience as a local government executive. Prior to his appointment as City Administrator for the City of Summit, NJ, he served as Director of Community Services, Fire Director and Fire Chief. Mr. Cotter serves as a member of the NJ Municipal Management Association.

Reginald Freeman, CFO, Diversity Representative on the Commission on Professional Credentialing was appointed Chair of the Industrial Fire and Life Safety Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and member of the Board for the new Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Section of the IAFC.

Chief Freeman currently serves as the Fire Chief for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas and has been a Commissioner on the CPC since November 2010.

*Ron Fowler, Monroe’s fire chief and a public safety officer for more than three decades, was installed recently as president of the N.C. Association of Fire Chiefs.

The fire chiefs’ organization, founded in 1932, serves the needs of volunteer and career fire chiefs across the state. Fowler was a board member of the group for five years before becoming president.

Fowler joined the Monroe Public Safety Department in 1983 and rose through the ranks. When the fire and police departments were separated in 1999, Fowler was named chief of the fire department. He has an associate’s degree from CPCC and a bachelors in fire safety engineering technology from UNC Charlotte.

Fowler is past president of the Piedmont North Carolina Firefighters Association and is a board member with the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs.

*This article was reprinted from the August 16, 2014 edition of the Charlotte Observer.

Stephan Cox, CFO, CEMSO, CTO, FM, Awarded Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Legacy Award

Stephan Cox, Chief of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, was honored as the 2014 winner of the Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Legacy Award at CPSE’s annual awards dinner. Chief Randy Bruegman, in announcing the award, stated that Chief Cox is a 45-year veteran of the fire and emergency services and currently serving as a DoD Regional Fire Chief responsible for administering a 580 person fire department operating in 25 fire stations, headquarters, logistics and training facilities from Maine to Virginia.

Chief Cox oversaw the department’s successful reaccreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International 2009 and 2014, and his organization was the first in the state of Virginia to obtain BLS training site accreditation by the Virginia Department of Health-Office of Emergency Medical Services.

Chief Cox holds an associate’s degree in Law Enforcement, a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and a Master’s in Human Resource Management and Development from National Louis University. He was awarded the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation in 2003, was the first DoD officer to receive the Chief EMS Officer designation and became the first person to obtain four designations through CPC – CFO, CEMSO, FM and CTO. He served 9 years on the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) and was Chair from 2011 to 2013. He has served on numerous task forces and committees and has been a Commissioner for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Education Training Commission and continually serves as an advocate and mentor for accreditation and professional credentialing.

This annual award recognizes an individual from an accredited agency or a Chief Officer Designation for superior leadership and actions that have elevated the International Fire and Emergency Services profession through mentoring, teaching and sharing outstanding contributions; and who has exhibited the consistent dedication of renewal qualities and commitment to fire service professionalism by demonstrating a devotion to help raise the International Fire and Emergency Services to greater heights.

Stephan Cox receiving the Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Legacy award from Chief Randy Bruegman

CFAI Names Ernst Piercy, CFO, Winner of Ray Picard Award

Ernst Piercy, CFO, Chief of the Air Force Academy Fire Department, (Retired) has been awarded this year’s Ray Picard Award at the annual CPSE awards dinner.

Chief Piercy has 35 years fire service experience and served 11 of those years as fire chief, retiring in 2014. He holds an associate’s degree in fire science and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program as well as the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Chief Piercy served for 9 years as Commissioner on the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and Chair for 2009-2012. He has been a Chief Fire Officer Designee since 2003 and currently serves as a Peer Team Leader, Instructor, Mentor, Technical Advisor, and a Technical Reviewer for CFAI and the Technical Advisor Program.

His fire department was the first fire department in the United States Air Force to become accredited and was selected by the United States Air Force as Fire Department of the Year. He was also selected by the Air Force as Fire Officer of the Year.

The Ray Picard Award is aptly named after its first recipient and one of the founding fathers of fire and emergency service accreditation, Chief Ray Picard, who retired as fire chief of Huntington Beach, CA. Recipients are selected annually from a pool of nominations. The Award recognizes individual superior leadership and outstanding contributions to CFAI and to fire and emergency service accreditation.

Ernst Piercy receives the Ray Picard Award from Chief Randy Bruegman

How Do You Do the Hokey Pokey?

I have had the privilege to serve as an instructor for the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) for several years now. I have been asked many questions in my delivering the word of the self-assessment and accreditation processes. These are not exciting subjects for some and for others the processes give meaning to excellent service.

The three-day workshop starts with two days covering organizational assessments, known as self-assessment, followed by a day on standards of cover. Attendees often show up wondering how to navigate the at times complicated processes. Attitudes and expectations run the gamut of I want to improve my department to I was sent here as my next assignment.

We began our fire service careers using manuals and code books and other how-to, step by step manuals of instruction, which are many things but exciting they are not. To make learning this process a bit more fun and exciting CPSE instructors break up the traditional workshop monotony. For example, I give out Godiva Chocolates as part of a scavenger hunt using the Fire and Emergency Service Self-Assessment Manual (FESSAM).

At the beginning of the three day block of interactive workshops, I ask all attendees to write down one question they would like answered by the end of their three day commitment. I inform them we will collectively answer any questions any newly assigned fire officer may have about the accreditation process. I ask for one question on one index card. However, I have lost count of the times I have received multiple questions on one card, seemingly limited only by the size of lettering my fire service colleagues can produce.

Questions have included, can getting my department accredited get me a raise; how can I get buy-in from my department and how do you do the hokey-pokey. These questions represent a hierarchy from what’s in it for my security, how do I get this done as a team and to what are the steps. It is not any dance; it is a ballet. There are movements which must be done in sequence and in concert.

The CFAI self-assessments have a recurring collection of steps or activities. There are two distinct movements in this ballet. One dance is the reduction of risks within the department’s mission. The other movements involve the system-wide assessments of all programs and activities any credible modern fire service agency must sustain. The award of accreditation is just that, an award. The real value of the ballet is organizational improvement.

The reduction of risks is the most complicated movement, learning these simple steps will keep you in time to the music. Step one, conduct risk assessments, step two develop standards of performance to reduce those risks, step three implement those standards through policy development, step four, repeat all steps. This over simplification has value because of sequence. If you do these out of sequence there is a risk of frustration due to re-writing and editing policy statements. Done in sequence these steps will result in firm policy development which allows for the flexibility of changing risks.

The other collection of assessments are designed to assess the department’s system-wide performance. The first step in this dance sequence uses the CPSE models for improvement found in the FESSAM. This model includes describing the activity, appraising the activity, plans for improvement and all supported by references. The second step is to implement those plans for improvement. The implementation comes in the form of planning documents such as the strategic plan, the budget plan and department performance management plans. The third step is repeat all of the above steps.

So returning to that comical yet insightful question, how do you do the hokey-pokey? We all remember, “you put your [right leg] in…and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about!” The CPSE self-assessment and accreditation process may seem a bit hokey to the uninitiated. But with a bit of time, patience and guidance, your organization can master the steps and sequence of this ballet. The community you serve and the organization you represent will be better for it. That is what it’s all about!

James L. Day, is a retired Battalion Chief of the Atlanta Fire Department, is a peer assessor, CPSE workshop instructor and specialist on the accreditation model.

Excellence Conference Grand Prize Winner Revealed

CPSE held a special drawing during the exposition portion of the recent FRI conference in Dallas, sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The winner receives complimentary registration to the 2015 Excellence Conference in Orlando, Florida, with free accommodations during the conference – a total value of more than $1,000.

The winner is Chief Kenneth Richards, Jr., EFO, of the Old Mystic Fire Department in Mystic, CT. We look forward to seeing Chief Richards at the conference next March.

Upcoming CPSE Workshops

CPSE has several workshops scheduled for the next few weeks. Register today to reserve your seat at the workshop that meets your needs. Please pass these dates and locations on to your colleagues at adjacent fire departments to help us promote attendance at all workshops.

For course details and registration, go to: www.cpse.org/news/upcoming-workshops-events.aspx.

August 26, 2014
DoD Only- Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
San Diego, CA

August 26, 2014
Chief Officer Credentialing…Where Do I Stand?

September 08, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Carmel, IN

September 08, 2014
DoD Only-Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Ramstein Air Base

September 09, 2014
Your Strategic Plan: It Drives Your Performance Management Systems

September 15, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Alcoa, TN

September 15, 2014
Credentialing: Pathway to Personal and Professional Excellence
Shawnee, KS

September 16, 2014
Marketing and Managing your Dept’s Image and Reputation through the Power of Social Media

September 17, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Grand Rapids, MI

September 17, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Rockford, IL

September 22, 2014
Data Analysis and Presentation Using Excel
Los Gatos, CA

September 23, 2014
Self Assessment & Community Risk/SOC
Akron, OH

September 30, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
St. Albert, Canada

October 01, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Guelph, ON

October 02, 2014
Advanced Technology for Community Risk/Standards of Cover

October 07, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Rocky Mount, NC

October 08, 2014
Chief Officer Credentialing…Where Do I Stand?

October 20, 2014
Self-Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Myrtle Beach, SC

October 21, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Plano, TX

October 21, 2014
Flawed Situational Awareness: The Stealth Killer of Firefighters

October 23, 2014
Credentialing: A Pathway to Personal and Professional Excellence
Myrtle Beach, SC

October 24, 2014
Peer Assessor Workshop

October 24, 2014
Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Myrtle Beach, SC

October 27, 2014
Data Analysis and Presentation Using Excel
North Charleston, SC

November 03, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Miami Beach, FL

November 03, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Grand Junction, CO

November 03, 2014
Self Assessment and Community Risk/SOC
Germantown, MD

November 06, 2014
Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring
Miami Beach, FL

November 10, 2014
Technical Competency – Writing to Achieve Designation

November 19, 2014
Data Analysis & Presentation Using Excel
Sandy Springs, GA