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2023 Annual Conference Speakers

Shaping Our Success - It Starts Here 

March 20-23, 2023 | Waco Convention Center, Waco, TX

Keynote Speaker

Leadership and Accountability When it Matters

Commander Kirk Lippold (Ret.) - United States Navy

Commander Kirk Lippold photo Commander Kirk Lippold, USN (Ret.) was the Commanding Officer of the USS Cole when it came under a suicide terrorist attack by al Qaeda in the port of Aden, Yemen on October 12, 2000 . During his command, he and his crew distinguished themselves by saving the American war ship from sinking. This event is widely recognized as one of the most brazen acts of terrorism by al Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001.

Today, Commander Lippold is a popular inspirational figure and leadership speaker who is in high demand with Fortune 500 companies, leading financial institutions, and top industry associations. And at a time when everything we’ve come to know is being reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic, Commander Lippold reveals how to lead teams and manage challenges successfully in the face of financial, national security, and global uncertainties.

A compelling storyteller, CDR Lippold draws upon his Five Pillars of Leadership to offer strategies he learned and applied to instill integrity into his team members and mitigate crises throughout his naval career. With takeaways for organizations on assessing their own successes and failures to prepare for what the future may hold, his lessons learned can make the difference when it matters most.


The privilege and burden of leadership comes with a level of accountability that many aspire to emulate, and anyone can rise up to and achieve. Using a devastating suicide terrorist attack as a backdrop, Commander Kirk Lippold conveys how the principle of integrity created a diverse and inclusive environment for leadership where his crew felt imbued with a sense of ownership, seizing the opportunity to be responsible for their ship and not just their jobs. Their own sense of personal accountability and leadership proved to be a guiding principle in the crucible of combat. Lippold shares why his "Five Pillars of Leadership" are must-have business tenets for any team.

Power of We

Keith Jackson - Retired Professional Football Player, Philadelphia Eagles

Keith Jackson photo Before his NFL career, Jackson played for the University of Oklahoma, where he was nicknamed Boomer Sooner. He assisted the Sooners to a 42-5-1 record in his four seasons and a national championship in 1985. He caught a total of 62 passes for 1,407 yards and was a College Football All-America Team selection in 1986 and 1987. Jackson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988, Jackson recorded 81 receptions for 869 yards and 6 touchdowns in his first season, along with seven catches for 142 yards in the Eagles' only playoff game that year, and won the NFC Rookie of the Year award. In his nine seasons, Jackson made the Pro Bowl six times. In his final season, Jackson made 40 receptions for 505 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns, assisting the Green Bay Packers to a 13-3 record and a win in Super Bowl XXXI.

After his NFL career, Jackson became a color commentator on radio broadcasts for the Arkansas Razorbacks.


Motivating the possibility of becoming better teammates.

General Session Speakers

Becoming a Leader of Character - Would You Follow You?

Dave Anderson - Author, Writer, Radio Host, Anderson Leadership Solutions

Whether I am consulting in businesses, observing our politicians, reading the sports page, or speaking at universities, I am sure of one thing — our society is in a leadership crisis!

We keep developing new management workshops and hiring more MBA’s, but most leaders do not fail because they don’t know WHAT to do or HOW to do it. Most leadership failures occure because the leader’s character fails them at the time of testing.

I wrote Becoming a Leader of Character with my father General James L. Anderson USA Retired, in response to the leadership crisis in our culture today. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Ken Blanchard, former West Point Superintendents and Fortune 500 leaders have all endorsed our book.


Would you follow you? That is the question every fire services leader must ask themselves. Surveys show the #1 reason people will follow you is Character and the #1 reason leaders fail is Character. Character Counts! But most of the training available for leaders does not address the issue of Character. We will dig into the practical ways you can develop your character and the character of the people you are called to lead. You will laugh and probably feel uncomfortable at times during this session because none of us have perfect character. Through genuine discussions about the character tests all leaders face, you will walk away with some personal “aha” moments that will help you answer “Yes” the question “Would you follow you?”

This session is based upon Dave Anderson’s best-selling book: Becoming a Leader of Character and the related Firefighters of Character curriculum.

Teams 2.0 – Leading in the Post COVID World

Jeffery Thompson (Retired), Col - Senior Advisor to the President of the University, The University of Arizona

Jeff Thompson is a recently retired Army Officer, now working at the University of Arizona as the Senior Advisor to the President of the University. Jeff’s final assignment in the Army was as the Chief of Staff for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY directing a diverse staff that supports over 52,000 Soldiers and Families members. Prior to this assignment he served as a Military Assistant for Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. Jeff has served in a variety of command and staff positions since graduating from flight school, serving in the 2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. Jeff also served in key staff positions on the Army, CENTCOM, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs personal staff; as well as multiple operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan commanding an Attack Helicopter Task Force in Afghanistan and an Aviation Brigade in Iraq during the fight against ISIS.

Colonel Thompson holds a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science from the United States Military Academy, an MPA from George Mason University, and a Master's of Science in National Security Studies from National Defense University. An Oregon native, he is married to the former Briana Cahill, and they have three teenage daughters!!!!!


What is Teams 2.0 and more importantly why should I be interested in this idea???


  • How many of you have been on a Team? Have they always been good? Have some been bad?
  • How many of you have been responsible for leading a team?
  • How many of you believe that building or leading a team today is different – notice I used the word different – not harder – than it was say 3, 5, or 10 years ago?

I think all can agree the world has changed a great deal in the last 3+ years with COVID, let alone the last 20 years. 9/11, the Iphone, Tik-TOK, Zoom, the end of wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and now one in Europe!!!! – Inflation, the Great Resignation, and the list goes on and on! Unfortunately, what we think and how we think about Teams and building teams may not have kept pace with all that change. It is not to say that some of the fundamental principles we have been doing are no longer important – on the contrary, some of these principles are more important than ever and need to be reinforced. However, I will suggest that some new emerging concepts need to be integrated into the team lexicon if we want our current teams to meet the challenges of our times. Great leaders build great teams and the Teams 2.0 concept can help!  

The Impact of Trauma: Skills Training for Quality & Health

Heather Twedell(Dr. T), PsyD - CEO/Founder, F1RST

Dr. Heather Twedell received her doctorate in forensic psychology from Alliant University in 2011. She is a licensed psychologist in the states of Texas and California. Dr. Twedell's work with first responders, along with her family ties to law enforcement, gives her a strong appreciation and understanding of the culture and stressors specific to first responders. She has developed a diverse and unique set of skills working with law enforcement and fire departments and various clinical settings, including emergency departments, outpatient hospital programs, neuropsychology rehabilitation centers and corrections. During her time with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Dr. Twedell provided critical incident debriefs, individual, couples and family therapy for sworn and civilian employees, co-developed and provided trainings, conducted inter-Department research, provided consultations for the Department's Peer Support Program and consulted with various bureaus including the Special Victims Bureau. Dr. Twedell is highly motivated to assist departments in prioritizing the wellness of their personnel to promote both occupational and personal success. Current services include individual, couples and family therapy, group therapy, critical incident debriefing, psychological crisis intervention, annual wellness checks, equine assisted workshops, program development, research, trainings and consultations. She is committed to working collaboratively with both departments and individuals to facilitate positive change, growth and resiliency.


1 hour skills training on optimizing individual success by increasing self-awareness, intentionality in relationships, and understanding one’s role when it comes to navigating stress, both on and off duty.  

NFPA Updates: How to protect his Big World.

Kelly Ransdell - South Texas Regional Director, National Fire Protection Association

Kelly is the Regional Director for the South Central part of the US, covering 8 states from NC to Texas. She works with local, county, state and national organizations to educate them on codes & standards as well as how to make their communities safe. Kelly is from NC and served as the Deputy Director of the NC Office of State Fire Marshal . She stated in Emergency Services in 1994.


This session will give you the latest updates on how to address emerging hazards in your community through resources provided by NFPA. This fast paced workshop will look at the numerous issues and tools to help Fire Chiefs do their jobs.  

Courageous Conversations

Joel Baker, EFO, MPA - Fire Chief, City of Austin

Joel G. Baker was sworn in as Austin’s fire chief Dec. 10 and has relocated from Atlanta, where he rose through the ranks of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and served as interim chief twice and chief for three years before his retirement there.

Baker oversaw 35 fire stations, numerous divisions — including operations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — and more than 1,000 sworn and civilian employees, serving an area of more than 135 square miles. During his 30-year tenure, the Atlanta fire department maintained its ISO Class 1 rating and international accreditation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

He also led the development and management of the Atlanta Emergency Preparedness Institute, which offers tactical training for business and community leaders, and the Citizens Fire Academy, which teaches residents about fire prevention, hazardous materials, how to use a fire extinguisher, first aid and CPR.

Closing Session

Keith Jackson - Retired Professional Football Player, Philadelphia Eagles

Before his NFL career, Jackson played for the University of Oklahoma, where he was nicknamed Boomer Sooner. He assisted the Sooners to a 42-5-1 record in his four seasons and a national championship in 1985. He caught a total of 62 passes for 1,407 yards and was a College Football All-America Team selection in 1986 and 1987. Jackson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988, Jackson recorded 81 receptions for 869 yards and 6 touchdowns in his first season, along with seven catches for 142 yards in the Eagles' only playoff game that year, and won the NFC Rookie of the Year award. In his nine seasons, Jackson made the Pro Bowl six times. In his final season, Jackson made 40 receptions for 505 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns, assisting the Green Bay Packers to a 13-3 record and a win in Super Bowl XXXI. After his NFL career, Jackson became a color commentator on radio broadcasts for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Breakout Speakers

EMS - We are All In it Together

Brett Hart - Texas EMS Licensure Manager, Department of State Health Services , EMS/Trauma Systems

Brett is a Paramedic. He is currently the manager of the EMS Licensing Unit in Austin at the Department of State Health Services. He is active with the National Association of State EMS Officials and participates on their EMS Personnel Licensure Council.


A quick look at EMS in Texas, its regulation and how we are all in it together.

Fire Service Budgeting and Finance - Part I & II

Les Stephens, CPM, CFO, EFO, CFE, and FSCEO - Fire Chief, City of San Marcos

Les Stephens, a 34+ year veteran of the fire service, is the chief of the San Marcos Fire Department, where he has proudly served for over twelve years. Previously, he worked for the Garland Fire Department for 18 years, rising through the ranks to battalion chief, before leaving to become the chief in San Marcos.

He holds numerous certifications including master firefighter, paramedic, fire officer IV, and fire instructor III. Stephens served as Garland’s training officer for two years and he was also an instructor with Collin College’s fire science program, Dallas Fire-Rescue’s recruit academy, Texas A&M’s Municipal Fire School, and Fire Engineering’s Fire Department Instructor’s Conference. Stephens is also credentialed as a Chief Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence and a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s prestigious Executive Fire Officer program. He is credentialed as a Certified Public Manager and has an Associate Degree in Fire Protection from Tarrant County College and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Texas State University. In 2021, he served as President of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and currently serves as an advisor for the Fire Science Program at Austin Community College. In 2019, Stephens was appointed by Texas Governor, Greg Abbott to serve on the One-Call Board of Texas and in 2022 he was honored as the Texas Fire Chiefs Associations’ Fire Chief of the Year.


This super fast-paced, 2-hour session takes a detailed look at the ins and outs of fire department budgeting and finance. It covers, in specific detail, where the money comes from, where it goes, and why there never seems to be enough of it. This class will address some best practices on how to communicate financial realities to your employees to help them better understand your specific budget constraints and it also includes helpful hints for those who are or who aspire to be involved in their department's budget development and management process.

The Challenges of Building an Accessible Behavioral Health Program in Modern Fire Departments

Dominique Artis - Fire Chief, Dallas Fire-Rescue Department

Dominique Artis became Chief of the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department on December 28, 2018. He has 24 years of experience in public safety and has served in a variety of positions during his career. Prior to his appointment, he was the Assistant Chief of the Administration Bureau overseeing Training, Maintenance, Clothing and Supply, Recruiting, Chaplain Services, and the Environmental Management System for the department. Chief Artis also served as Captain, in both Emergency Operations and the Emergency Medical Service Bureau, a district swing Lieutenant, Driver Engineer, and Fire Rescue Paramedic. Dominique holds various certifications including Master Firefighter, Master ARFF, Fire Officer I, Fire Instructor I, and USAR Task Force leader.

Chief Artis is a devoted husband of 19 years and a supportive father to two daughters. He grew up in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School. Afterward, he went on to attain a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Technology from Prairie View A&M University, as well as graduate from the National Fire Academy and the Executive Fire Officer Program. Chief Artis currently serves on various committees at the regional and state level.

David Coatney - Agency Director/CEO, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service

David Coatney has nearly forty years of experience in public safety and currently serves as the Agency Director/CEO of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

Coatney’s fire service career began with the San Antonio Fire Department, where he served for over 25 years, retiring as an assistant fire chief. After this, he became the fire chief for the Round Rock Fire Department, and he later served as the fire chief for the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department. Coatney has experience as a firefighter, paramedic, fire company officer, department safety officer, special operations chief, operations chief and emergency management coordinator.

Coatney holds a Master of Public Service Administration from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management. He is also a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Executive Leaders Program in Homeland Security and the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program. Additionally, Coatney holds a Chief Fire Officer Designation and is a Certified Emergency Manager.

Coatney serves as a commissioner on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, chairs the Texas First Responder Advisory Council and is a member of the Texas Division of Emergency Management Advisory Committee.


Dallas Fire-Rescue made incredible strides in building an accessible behavioral health program following a member's suicide in 2017. The presentation will include a brief overview of existing behavioral health challenges within the first responder community, specifically fire departments. The body of the presentation will address the events leading up to the suicide of a member of the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department and overview the nearly year long process to develop a program, which was designed to address various behavioral health challenges. The presentation will outline labor/management collaboration, accompanied by community support to bring a program from idea to implementation.

“They Did What?!?”: Learning to Navigate a Multi-Generational Organization

Jennifer Strong, Ph.D. - Associate Professor-Leadership, Texas A&M University

Dr. Strong is an Associate Professor of Leadership in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at Texas A&M University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership theory, ethics, organizational culture, and team development. Her research includes developing, implementing, and evaluating public andragogy into leadership education as well as the impact of non-traditional educational practices in leadership development for adults. She, along with Dr. Barry Boyd have created the QUEEN model of critical thinking behaviors and have published a textbook on Ethical Leadership.


Today's fire service organizations are often made of Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. With at least four generations present in organizations; there is bound to be miscommunication and conflict. Every generation has its quirks and strengths, so the question becomes; how do we work and lead effectively within a multi-generational workplace? This session will discuss the “traditional” generational typologies and outline best practices for working with a multi-generational organization.

Fire Service Data - Being At The Table, Not On The Table

Matt Hinds-Aldrich, Ph.D. - Sr. Risk Strategy Lead, American Association of Insurance Services

Sr. Risk Strategy Lead - Dr. Matt Hinds-Aldrich, or "Dr Matt", has led several national initiatives and projects to improve how fire departments collect, analyze and use data to focus their efforts, improve their operations, and demonstrate their value. At AAIS, he helps lead the development, expansion, and adoption of the FLAMES (Fire Loss and Mitigation Evaluation Score) methodology for insurers to assess local fire protection and mitigation efforts. Matt’s Ph.D. research at the University of Kent (England) focused upon occupational culture, and specifically, firefighter culture.


Data is a four letter word that has become ubiquitous in discussions about leading in the modern fire service. Data seems to be both the solution and the root of most any problem or topic, yet how many of you got interested in the fire service to solve data problems? This presentation will cover several contemporary topics about how to leverage data (or avoid being leveraged by data) that will help you make the most out of your data and technology and build partnerships to answer questions you might not have even considered with your data.

CRR Leadership 101

Jason Tharp, FSCEO, CFE - Battalion Chief of Community Risk Reduction & Public Information Officer, Harris County ESD No. 48

Jason Tharp started his career in the fire service in 2006. Chief Tharp holds a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management Administration from Texas A&M-San Antonio. He also graduated from the Fire Service Chief Executive Officer program at Texas A&M TEEX and Mays Business School, and the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy from the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. He currently holds the ranks of Battalion Chief of Community Risk Reduction / PIO with Harris County ESD No. 48 and District Chief with Eastex Fire DepartmentIn March of 2020, Chief Tharp was nominated and awarded the Lone Star Achievement award and in 2021 the Valor Award by the Texas Fire Chiefs Association.


Community Risk Reduction is nothing new, however departments continue to over complicate its success. An organization’s leadership paves the way to meaningful CRR outcomes. Too often we see the cart before the horse and CRR initiatives fail to get off the ground. In this session, we will navigate how leadership has an influence over successful initiatives and how station based CRR is just as important. Some of the greatest ideas come from the station kitchen table.

Current State of the EMS Transformation

Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT - Chief Transformation Officer, MedStar Mobile Healthcare

Matt is the Chief Transformation Officer at MedStar Mobile Healthcare, the exclusive emergency and non-emergency Public Utility Model EMS system for Fort Worth and 14 other cities in North Texas that provides service to 436 square miles and more than 1 million residents and responds to over 170,000 calls a year with a fleet of 65 ambulances. MedStar is a high performance, high value Emergency Medical Services system, providing advanced clinical care with high economic efficiency. He has 42 years’ experience in EMS and holds a master’s degree in Health Service Administration with a Graduate Certificate in Health Care Data Management. Matt is a frequent speaker at national conferences and has done consulting in numerous EMS issues, specializing in high-performance EMS operations, finance, mobile integrated healthcare, public/media relations, public policy, transformative economic strategies, and EMS research.

MedStar is one of the most well-known EMS agencies in the county, and operates a high-performance system with no tax subsidy, and the recipient of the EMS World/NAEMT Paid EMS system of the Year, and the only agency to be named an EMS10 Innovator by JEMS Magazine.


This course will walk our attendees through the proper actions to ensure your construction projects are set up for success, and realistic expectations are established early on during planning. We will cover topics such as budgeting, scheduling and procurement methods in accordance with Texas Government Code.

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk - Engaging Diverse Audiences & Building Your Brand in the Era of Tik Tok

Connor Christian - Executive Communications Manager, South Metro Fire Rescue

Connor Christian serves as the Executive Communications Manager for South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) based in Centennial, Colorado. Connor is responsible for helping guide strategy and implementation of SMFR’s internal/executive communications. She also operates as one of the department’s Public Information Officers (PIO) on major incidents occurring in the fire district. Connor joined South Metro in 2018 as a PIO: Communications Specialist, being part of a team helping to make South Metro one of the most progressive and followed fire departments in the nation. Prior to starting her career at South Metro, Connor worked as a news reporter for several years throughout Oregon and Colorado – with her most recent news role at the ABC affiliate news station in Denver. Connor is a Colorado native and received her bachelor’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism (M-I-Z!).

Chelsea Tegtmeier - Community Risk Manager, South Metro Fire Rescue

Chelsea Tegtmeier serves as the Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Manager at South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR). Chelsea plays a critical role in leading the CRR Team as the group works alongside many of the department functions to help assess, educate and mitigate risks that are identified throughout SMFR’s district. Chelsea maintains an active role in South Metro’s Youth Firesetter Intervention and Prevention program and instructs the Colorado Youth Firesetter Intervention Specialist 1 course. Chelsea is pursuing her Master’s in Organizational Leadership and holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Criminology from Colorado State University.


With the ever-evolving landscape of social media and keeping up with the needs of the communities we serve, it is more important now than ever to find creative and successful ways to disseminate timely and accurate information. Take a deep dive into South Metro Fire Rescue’s strategies that have led to a large following on various social media platforms and increased engagement with over half a million diverse community members. Learn how to build a brand for your department based on trust through your Communications and Risk Reduction Teams. You will also takeaway progressive ways to get ahead of the call and how to communicate during and after an emergency has occurred.

With 30 fire stations in the South Metro Denver area of Colorado, South Metro provides emergency and prevention services to a daytime population of approximately 595,000 residents across three counties and twelve municipalities.

Physiological Effects of Untreated PTSD in First Responders

Abby Morris, MD - Medical Director, International Assoication of Fire Fighters

A graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Abby Morris is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine with diverse experience in community mental health, substance abuse, inpatient and private practice settings. She is responsible for all inpatient care, training and future operations planning. She develops the individualized plan of care that will follow each client throughout their stay at the Center. Previous to her appointment to the IAFF Center of Excellence, Dr. Abby Morris was the medical director of a 24-bed inpatient facility that treated addiction and behavioral health disorders.


First responders face stress and trauma daily for years often starting as very young men and women. Dr. Morris will discuss the possible consequences of this stress long-term on a person's body, psyche and soul.

The Fundamentals of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Michele Lau Torres - Organizational Development and Leadership Consultant, The McMillon Group

I find a path through organizational clutter to maximize company profitability and help reach strategic goals. I redefine and promote organizational culture to inspire stakeholders at all levels. Leverages deep expertise in human resources, equity and inclusion, L&D, and operations across broad industries including private, civil service and municipal environments. Leads with vision. Executes with passion and purpose.


This one-hour introductory class on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is designed to give participants an overview of DE&I concepts. Participants will learn how individual, interpersonal, and systemic factors influence DE&I and organizational culture. In addition, participants will learn the following:

  1. The definition of DE:
    • What is DE&I, and how does it show up in the workplace?
    • What do we need to advance DE&I within our organization?
  2. How to create an inclusive environment:
    • How inclusion and belonging are business strategies.
    • The seven key pillars to improve inclusivity.
  3. Understand bias and other terms:
    • What is cultural competence and bias impact?
    • How to create brave and intentional spaces.

Strategic Decision Making in Uncertain & Ambiguous Environments

Michael Rainey - President, Decision Scientist, Michael Rainey and Associates

Michael Rainey is a former active duty service officer in the United States Army and current strategic level scientific, technical, and decision science consultant with a desire to continue a lifetime of service to high stakes leaders that make decisions daily with human lives in the balance.


Invested leaders must make critical decisions, mostly in time constrained, uncertain, and ambiguous environments, but often feel as if they have little to no decision-making framework or system in place to help them do so effectively. These are critical decision points in the life of your organization.

Therefore, invested leaders must take advantage of a decision making framework that illustrates opportunities, reduces uncertainty, and reveals the best path forward when these critical decision points occur. A framework that will prove valuable time and time again. A framework that is both human focused and outcome oriented. One that accurately demonstrates the care and concern for all those that they serve.

Federal and State Investigations into Fire Departments: Know Your Legal and Compliance Risks

Kevin Fairlie, JD,MHA - Attorney, EMS Compliance, LLC/Fairlie Law, LLC

Kevin is a national healthcare attorney who has specialized in representing Fire and EMS organizations across the country for more than 20 years. His expertise is in complex federal investigations led by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the DHHS. He also has significant experience representing Fire/EMS organizations with Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigations; state licensing board investigations; Medicare/Medicaid cost report audits; and the full spectrum of legal matters facing EMS and Fire entities. Kevin has served as CEO and Chief Compliance Office to national and regional EMS organizations and is outside counsel to numerous Fire, EMS and Air Ambulance operators. He has spoken to thousands of Fire Chiefs and EMS leaders over the years, is a frequent guest lecturer at national conferences and his articles on legal matters are published regularly in national Fire and EMS publications. Kevin earned his law degree and Master of Healthcare Administration degree from the University of Missouri. He is Counsel and Executive Advisor to EMS Compliance, LLC and is the Founding Member of Fairlie Law, LLC. He can be contacted through or

Anthony W. Minge, Ed.D. - Senior Partner, Fitch & Associates

Dr. Anthony Minge is a Senior Partner with Fitch & Associates where he coordinates the firm’s educational offerings and is responsible for the firm’s reimbursement, compliance and membership consulting services. Dr. Minge serves as the program co-chair for the Pinnacle Leadership Forum and as the partner responsible for the Ambulance Service Manager and Communications Center Managers certification programs. Anthony has an extensive background in healthcare finance specializing in managing billing and collections functions in multiple areas including hospital and ground and air medical transport. Prior to joining the firm, he was the business manager for one of the largest air medical programs in the Pacific Northwest and one of the nation’s busiest pediatric specialty transport services. He has been directly involved in the development and management of ground and air services for hospital based and stand-alone ambulance services. Dr. Minge’s involvement in EMS industry education is extensive and he has authored multiple articles for EMS periodicals and is a nationally recognized speaker. Anthony earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, an MBA in Strategic Leadership from Amberton University in Garland, Texas, and a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University, Dallas, Texas.


During this seminar, Fitch & Associates' Senior Partner, Anthony Minge, Ed. D., along with EMS attorney and compliance expert, Kevin Fairlie, JD, MHA, will discuss the increasing and significant legal risks facing Fire-based EMS and the concrete steps you should take now to minimize your potential liability.

Fire Prevention: A Liability and Asset for Fire Chiefs

Ariana Kistner - Assistant Fire Chief/ Fire Marshal, City of Rockwall

Speaker Bio Coming Soon.

Kelly Kistner - Fire Marshal, City of Frisco

Speaker Bio Coming Soon.

The Future is Now!

Jeff Dulin - Strategic Advisor, International Association of Fire Chiefs

Jeff Dulin is the Strategic Advisor for National & Global Programs for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Jeff also oversees the GIS and Data Analytics Division where he works on programs that collect, analyze and disseminate information. In this role, Jeff oversees all Technology Research Projects and data development tools for use during disasters. Jeff Works closely with State, Local and Federal partners in the GIS arena to help bring real time data sharing from the field to decision makers. Jeff has been very active in the disaster response arena deploying to dozens of national disasters as part of Incident Management Teams and was the Deputy Operations Chief for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Prior to the IAFC, Jeff retired as the Deputy Chief from the Charlotte Fire Department after 33 years where he served as a Deputy Chief for the last 14 years over the Communications, Training, EM / Homeland Security and Special Operations Divisions. Jeff has spoken Nationally and Internationally on Disaster and Homeland Security and Emergency Management issues. Jeff serves on three Federal Committees overseeing National Standards for Homeland Security, Emergency Management and Active Shooter Events. Jeff holds a BA in Fire Administration from the University of Maryland and is a Graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School with a Masters in Homeland Defense and National Security. Jeff has presented Internationally in the UK, EU, Australia and the Middle East for many years.

Scott Roseberry - Battalion Chief , Garland Fire Department

Scott Roseberry has over 23 years of experience in the fire service and is a Battalion Chief with Garland Fire Department. He has an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection, a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He holds the designations of Executive Fire Officer (EFO), Certified Public Manager (CPM), Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Fire Service – Chief Executive Officer (FSCEO) ,and Chief Fire Executive (CFE). He has commanded many Multi-Alarm assignments to include the EF-4 Tornado that struck Garland December 26, 2015. He is an Adjunct Instructor with TCC and is the Special Operations Division Chief for Garland Fire Department. He is the Co-Chair of the IAFC Technology Council, a member of the FEMA Region 6 RAC, and on the Department of Homeland Security First Responder Resource Group. He has presented at the Texas Fire Chiefs Conference, TEEX Leadership Symposium, CPSE Annual Conference and FRI.


With the amount of technology available and new products coming to market every day, improving your department's efficiency and effectiveness with technology can be overwhelming. This presentation will give the audience a brief overview of technology available today to include data analytics, real-time situational awareness applications, virtual reality, and augmented reality. It will then cover what the future of the fire service may look like. Chief’s Dulin and Roseberry will also discuss how to overcome some of the barriers to technology and resources available to help you implement technology in your department.

Human Trafficking Prevention and Education

Matt Driscoll - Firefighter/Paramedic, Las Vegas Fire Department

Currently I am a Paramedic Engineer with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. I have been in the fire service for 16yrs, of which 14 has been with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. I met the men and women of iEmpathize in 2018 when I was called to action after hearing about their mission. With iEmpathize’s support, we held a 7 day training where we were able to train just over 1100 first responders, ambulance providers, nursing students and the like. The goal of the training was to teach first responders how to identify, treat and transport patients of human trafficking. I recently used iEmpathize’s media based platform to train approximately 700 front line responders at Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. North Las Vegas Fire Department recently went through the training as well. The goal of this training is to get it in front of as many first responders across this country as possible. With the First Responder Intersect Platform that is media based, instructor guide and net cost of zero; this is the perfect training to get out to the front lines.

Guido Hajenius - Co-Director of Programs, iEmpathize

Guido Hajenius is the Co-Director of iEmpathize (an international human rights non-profit, combating crimes against children) and trainer for the Empower Youth Program. He’s been a non-profit leader and trainer for 20+ years and believes collaboration and empathy are key for social transformation. Engaging the issue of exploitation and human trafficking at the community level, Guido trains leaders in exploitation prevention with a multi-sector approach and has developed strategic partnerships for the distribution of prevention education curricula. Within Guido’s work at iEmpathize, he has helped the Empower Youth Program reach over 40,000 youth. His work includes organizing adult and youth outreach; building exploitation prevention models for youth-serving spaces, and providing training for educators, law enforcement, first responders, sector-specific industry professionals, and community members. He serves as the curriculum trainer for the Department of Health and Human Services HTYPE Grant where he trains facilitators in the second-largest school district in the nation (LACOE) to teach the Empower Youth Program. Guido’s work also involves collaborating with a large group of educational experts and survivor leaders to further improve exploitation prevention education for youth.


The First Responder Training Course is designed to address human trafficking specifically from the unique perspective of a firefighter, EMT, paramedic and 911 dispatcher. First responder professionals are uniquely positioned to address and identify trafficking situations and are often the first to come into contact with a potential victim or crime. Their role is critical in identifying and responding to human trafficking cases. This course provides the tools and equips first responder professionals to identify, report and respond to this issue in their own unique context.

Fire and Emergency Service Continuous Quality Improvement through agency Accreditation and personal Professional Credentialing

Jim White, CFO, EFO, MiFireE - CFAI Program Manager, Center for Public Safety Excellence

Jim joined the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2023 after serving as a career firefighter for more than 35-years. His fire service career began in 1978 in Arlington, Virginia as a volunteer firefighter, and then as a career firefighter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, before moving to Central Florida in 1992, Jim’s final assignment was as fire chief of the Winter Park Fire Rescue Department where he served for his last sixteen years. Jim is a 30-year member of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. In 2014, He was awarded the Fire Chief of the Year by the FFCA where he remains on the Executive Board as Chairperson of the Florida Fire Chief’s Charitable Foundation. Jim’s involvement with Commission on Fire Accreditation International began in 1997 when he first served as a peer assessor, peer team leader, and program instructor. Jim has continued throughout his fire service career to contribute to the accreditation process in numerous ways and was recognized in 2015 with the Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Legacy Award for his support of the CPC credentialing process within his agency. For the past five years, Jim has served as the Director of the Fire Rescue Institute at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. Jim is credentialed as a Chief Fire Office (CFO) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Flagler College. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program where he also serves as an on-campus instructor and a subject matter expert in the Community Risk Reduction and Data Analysis program.


Jim White, Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) Program Manager, will provide an overview of the Center for Public Safety Excellence’s accreditation and credentialing programs.

CFAI accreditation is a process of agency self-assessment and an international recognition of achievement. It shows to your community that your agency continually self-assesses, looks for opportunities for improvement, and is transparent and accountable through third party verification and validation.

CPC Credentialing is a professional designation model that recognizes career excellence and offers strategies for continuous personal improvement. Designated officers are often described as being progressive and well-rounded. Part of the reason for this is the holistic scope of the CPC model.

Attendees will be provided an overview of:

  • Developing a community-driven strategic plan, a community risk assessment-standards of cover, and a self-assessment manual.
  • Using data and information collected during the accreditation process to better lead departments.
  • Building a culture of accountability, innovation, and continuous improvement within departments.
  • The CFAI model and process.
  • Six distinct professional designations offered by CPC.

What Does City Hall Know?

Nate Mara - City Manager, City of Decatur

Speaker Bio Coming Soon.


City managers must be up to speed on EMS and Fire protection. How will you handle that, Chief? This 60-minute session will help you establish better partnerships with your team at City Hall.

Fire Station/EMS Construction: Planning For Success

Ryan Rosborough, CCM - Vice President - Central & North Texas, AGCM

After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2003, Rosborough joined the AG|CM family in Corpus Christi where he began as an Estimator. He soon transitioned into project management where he had the honor of being involved in several high profile projects such as Whataburger Field (home of the AA Corpus Christi Hooks) and Christus Spohn Critical Care Tower. He served several different roles before eventually relocating to Central Texas in 2006 to lead the AG|CM team regionally. Rosborough has a vast and diverse amount of experience managing projects and programs which include healthcare, pipelines, municipal work, private work and ISD work. To date he has managed nearly a Billion Dollars in projects and programs with AG|CM, Inc., as a Certified Construction Manager.

Rosborough currently serves in the role of Vice President for Central Texas. This role consists of managing client relations and ensuring client satisfaction, managing operations, staffing programs and projects, overseeing programs and projects, and providing individual program and project support as the need may arise. Ensuring our clients and employees have all the tools and resources in place to guarantee success is the #1 priority of this position. He enjoys an excellent reputation for attention to detail, an enviable work ethic and is adept at identifying problems that may impede job quality or progress and is quick to develop proposed alternative solutions.

Ryan also has served several positions with the local Construction Management Association of America (Past Secretary, President, and Committee Member) where he enjoys furthering the profession and mentoring those who are newer to the industry.”


This presentation will focus on the unique occupational health risks that firefighters face that causes disability and line of duty death. Current research and evolving research will b e reviewed on areas of occupation cardiovascular death, sleep, occupational cancer and mental wellness as well as total work life balance.

Out of Chaos

Chris Fields - Speaker, Lighthouse Health & Wellness/Oklahoma First Responders Wellness/Trauma Behind The Badge

Chris Fields served over 31 years with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, promoting through the ranks, he retired as a Major in March of 2017. Chris was captured in a photo that became an iconic symbol of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 when he was cradling the body of 1yr old Baylee Almon. Chris discusses the brutal realities of a life spent responding to citizens in their darkest hours. Chris tells a story of his life, his 31 years of public service and how that day in 1995 all combined to take a toll on his own life and his family, he suffered in silence for many years. Now he shares how he took control and his journey out of the suffering in hopes of helping others avoid the failure, the pitfalls he experienced, and to reach out!


Chris Fields is a former member of the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Chris joined the fire department July 12, 1985, retiring March 1, 2017 serving the citizens of Oklahoma City for 31yrs and 7 months. Chris was captured in a photo that became an iconic symbol of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 when he was cradling the body of 1yr old Baylee Almon. Chris travels to speak to other 1st responders, he discusses the brutal realities of a life spent responding to citizens in their darkest hours. Chris tells the story of his life, his 31yrs of public service, and how that day in 1995 all combined to take a toll on his life and his family, he suffered in silence for many years. Now he shares how with God, Faith, and Family he took control and his journey out of the suffering in hopes of helping others avoid the failure, the pitfalls, and to reach out. OUT OF CHAOS COMES ORDER AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO GROW

State of Science in Firefighter Sleep

Joel Billings, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, College of Arts & Sciences; Program Chair BS in Emergency Services, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Dr. Joel M. Billings is interested in bringing together research and practice to influence evidence-based decision making. His current research focuses on firefighter sleep quality, fire department shift schedules, and fire station alarm systems. His goal is to ultimately improve health, safety, and performance of members in the fire and emergency services profession. His professional background includes being a volunteer firefighter and EMT-Basic in Michigan. Dr. Billings brings science to the fire station as a member of Science Alliance. He’s also a council member for the Healthy Work Design & Well-Being cross-sector program at NIOSH/CDC.


This presentation provides a progress report of current firefighter sleep research and efforts that are currently in-progress to optimize sleep health and subsequently performance. The presentation will include an open format to discuss sleep-related controversies, current issues, and what information is needed for firefighters and fire departments to make informed, evidence-based decisions regarding health and well-being.

TFCA Best Practices 101

Paul Henley - Fire Chief, City of Flowermound

Speaker Bio Coming Soon.

Neil Howard - Fire Chief, City of Rowlett

Speaker Bio Coming Soon.