Fire Chief of the Year annual awards were presented during the opening session of the 2014 IAFC Fire-Rescue International Exhibits and Conference in Texas
Winners are honored for their dedication and leadership in fire and emergency services

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced the 2014 winners of the annual “Fire Chief of the Year” awards at Fire-Rescue International.

Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Barron of the Manchaca Volunteer Fire Department in Manchaca, Texas and career Fire Chief Alan J. Martin of the Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue Department in Tuscaloosa, Alabama received the awards.

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 19th annual awards were presented during the opening session at the 2014 International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Fire-Rescue International Exhibits and Conference in Dallas, Texas.

“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 Honoree –Alan J. Martin of the Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue Department in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The impact that 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 the TFRS to become an excellent, progressive fire department operating 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 “Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention” campaign. Chief Martin has, during his career, 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 Honoree – Chris Barron of the Manchaca Volunteer Fire Department in Manchaca, Texas

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 (while his service with Manchaca Fire/Rescue began back 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 over 17,000 during a period of tremendous growth. As Executive Director of the 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 Chairman 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.

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