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

This is my first opportunity to greet you in this new year. I trust you have all recovered from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 


Vision 2021, Transforming Instructor Professional Development Towards a Resilient Future, is right around the corner on March 24th and 25thCan't make all (or any) of the live event? Your registration guarantees you access to the nine conference courses that will be available online and on-demand after the live event. Even a cursory glance at the instructor and topic line up makes it abundantly clear that this will be about the best bang for your “self-development buck” you are likely to get in 2021. A close look will reveal that Leigh and her staff have folded in several additional bennies with virtual vendor rooms, speed networking, as well as opportunities to participate in our award ceremonies and the kickoff of our 60th anniversary celebration. This is a GREAT opportunity to get that adrenaline shot you’ve been needing since the cancelation of FDIC, etc. last year. I look forward to seeing you there on March 24th and 25thBy the way – The conference is a great recruiting tool for the Society – but only if you spread the word! LOTS of people you know can benefit from what we have to offer. Invite them in!

We are also kicking off our 60th celebration at the conference. Please allow me to paraphrase from my December message (I think it worth repeating):

Please join me in celebrating our past and future successes by re-committing yourselves to the mission and vision of the ISFSI. As members each of us is committed to, “Inspiring, supporting and elevating instructors around the world”, and, “To be the premier instructor organization providing resources to improve safety, efficiency and effectiveness of the fire service”. Fulfilling this mission and this vision is only possible through our combined efforts. We really and truly do NEED each and every one of you to continue participating and contributing to the Society as you have done, (can I get away with saying, “even more than you have done”), in the past! 

You know what’s coming, next, don’t you? The “ask”. Here’s a short list of some of the ways you can make a contribution to the ISFSI:

  • Jump on the next “Happy Hour”. We are moving these to the first Wednesday of each month. Better yet, take the lead on one of the discussions.
  • Take one of the on-line Continuing Education Courses. Better yet, develop and present one!
  • Ditto the Modern Mentor Webinar Series. There is some incredible education there, but I bet some of you can top it!
  • Subscribe to and participate in the ISFSI Member Forum. Many of our members who are new instructors and training officers are seeking your guidance, expertise and resources. Help a brother or sister out!
  • Write a little something for this publication for crying out loud!
  • Contribute to The Buzz (our site blog). Contribute something to the Resource Library.
  • Get on one of our committees. They are truly doing great things and could sure use another worker bee or six.
  • Take the on-line Training Officer Credential class. (Yeah, I know. You’ve already got your state cert., it isn’t exactly cheap, time, family, work, etc., etc.)  But you never know, you just might learn something useful. 
  • Become a Mentor or a Mentee. How you ask? Get on the development committee and find out!
  • And last but not least, RECRUIT A MEMBER (or twelve). I know you’ve heard this from me before and trust me, you will keep hearing it. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US knows at least one person who could benefit from and/or contribute to the success of the ISFSI. They won’t join if you don’t ask. Don’t want to be a tail twister? Send me their digits and I’ll twist it for you, (just know I’m going to drop your name).

Many of you have reached out to me since I posted this back in December and agreed to make some further contributions to the Society. Thank you! We’ve got a lot of talent in this organization and I’m going to keep after all of you to get you to share it with your brothers and sisters. Saddle up!


First off please join me in thanking the following for their service to the Society and its members.  Jason Caughey and Marc Davidson both had to take (what I sincerely hope will be a temporary) step back from their service on the Board in order to meet more pressing needs. Jason and Marc have been and continue to be important contributors to the success of ISFSI. You see the fruits of their labors throughout our website, in our programs and member services, and at our conference. 

I’d like to welcome the new board members. Mike Richardson was appointed to fill Marc’s seat in the fall of last year and was subsequently elected in December. Demond Simmons of Oakland, CA was elected to fill the Region #1 vacancy. Vince Conrad from Halifax, Canada will be returning to the Board and Sean Gray of Cobb County, GA will be joining us for the first time, both as Directors at Large. You will learn more about them at the conference and in April when we officially swear them in. New members always bring new energy and new ideas. The staff and the sitting Board are looking forward to their insights and contributions. Welcome aboard!

I can’t wait to “see” you all at the Instructor Development Conference next month. Remember, as we celebrate our 60th, I encourage you to “Write your own Chapter in our history books!”

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