April 2021 Leadership Message From the ISFSI President: Pete Van Dorpe

Greetings brothers and sisters,

As always, I hope and trust that this finds you well, getting vaccinated, and working toward a bit of post pandemic (yes, I realize we’re not quite there yet, but I truly believe we’ve turned the corner), normalcy. 


Vision 2021, Transforming Instructor Professional Development Towards a Resilient Future, has come and gone, (well not really gone – we’ll get to that), and I simply couldn’t be happier with how it all went. Unless you have put an event like this together yourself, its simply impossible to appreciate how much effort it takes and how much stress there is, especially when you are trying to pull off your first “virtual” event. Well, pull it off they did and with flying colors! For those that may not know just who “they” are its our Executive Director Leigh Hubbard and her staff of Jamie Lacy, Emily Stephens and Suzanne Campbell. I may be, at present, the man in charge but these are the women that actually run the place and they do so with extraordinary skill, (and no small amount of above and beyond effort). Please join me in extending our sincerest thanks to these exceptional people. The ISFSI simply wouldn’t be the success it is without their guidance, skill and effort. 

What did I mean by not really gone? Remember that if you couldn’t tune in to all of the live event, or if you simply want to revisit some of the presentations, your registration came with access to the nine conference courses online and on-demand for six months following the conference date. Also remember that most of the instructors are available to you through the ISFSI member’s directory. 


Each week Fire Engineering broadcasts a “Humpday Hangout” which is co-hosted by the ISFSI in the person of Tony Carroll, one of your Directors at Large. Tony does a great job engaging the hosts, keeping the content moving along, and even sparring with Bobby Halton on occasion! This month’s program also featured ISFSI members and Board member, Jesse Marcotte, Jacob McAfee, and Demond Simmons talking about the Society’s (slightly delayed but SOON to be released) Coaching and Mentoring Initiative. You really do need to check this out: https://www.fireengineering.com/hangouts/humpday-hangout-mentoring-with-the-isfsi/.

Many of our members have been featured in previous Hangouts as well. There is always something interesting being discussed there, and a variety of opinions and perspectives as well. Definitely worthy of an hour of your time. Have yourself a look-see. And while we’re on the topic, if you have something you would like to share with your brother and sister firefighters, this is a great place to do so. Tony can provide you with support and guidance if you desire it. Don’t limit yourself. Reach out to Tony, me, or any of the Board and/or staff. It’s what we are all here for.


No doubt you are aware of the ISFSI Professional Development Matrix which made its debut on March 18th. If you’re a little behind the curve check it out here: https://www.isfsi.org/page/professional-development-matrix. We are extremely excited about the possibilities this has for our members and for the fire service as a whole. Special thanks to Mike Richardson and his team for putting this together. As you dig into it you will see that there is a LOT of room for additional resources. This is where YOU come in. We are a member driven organization. Our value is in harnessing the talents and skills of our members and making them available to each other. What YOU contribute to this matrix is what will determine its success and value. Reach out to Mike with your ideas, resource links, content, and information.

The Professional Development Matrix is designed to work hand-in-glove (should you so desire) with the Coaching and Mentoring Initiative I referred to in the Humpday Hangout section. Jesse and his committee have done a fantastic job developing this program. It promises to be, along with the Professional Development Matrix, the premier benefit(s) the Society makes available to its membership. The soft launch has been slightly delayed but will be happening sooner rather than later. We plan to beta test the software, the participants, and the program guidelines with a small group of mentors and mentees in order to get it ready for prime time. Stay tuned!


The first delivery of this grant funded HOT training took place on April 26th at the South Metro Fire Rescue training facility in Centennial, CO.  Getting all of this put together with the ubiquitous “Covid Restrictions” we’ve all come to love was no small challenge. As always, many hands made this possible but please allow me to extend a special thanks to Board members Matt Hoppel and Seth Barker for driving this one home. Thanks are also due to member extraordinaire Kevin Milan and to the officers and members of South Metro who a doing yeoman’s work getting all the last moment details and logistical gremlins taken care of. 

It is part of our mission here at ISFSI to be committed to and advocates for evidence driven tactics and training methods. There is no better way to demonstrate our commitment than to develop and deliver evidence-based content ourselves. We have a more than decade long relationship with UL-FSRI (and a great grant writing team!) that enables us to develop and deliver these quality programs throughout the country a no cost to the students. Look for a delivery in your area. 


FDIC has been a bit of a moving target, but it looks like it has set down roots in Indy on August 2-7. While ISFSI will not have the same “formal” presence we typically have at FDIC, i.e., Board meeting, swearing in ceremony, vendor booth, etc., we WILL be there! We haven’t settled on exactly how we will be gathering and interacting with each other, so feel free to offer up some ideas and suggestions. I am SO looking forward to actually seeing you all again! Let’s get some conversation going on the Forum and Blog on who can be there and what you’ve got planned. 

Keep well. Be good to each other. Be good to yourself! 

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