It was recently announced that President Obama has nominated Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran to serve as the next United States Fire Administrator. You might be thinking... So what? Who cares? Doesn't mean anything to me. Well, it should. We live in a political world where decisions are often made based on agendas. I know... you're shocked. Get over it.
Within the beltway, the politics can be brutal. There are a plethora of politicians and special interest groups competing for your tax dollars. You may feel powerless to impact positive change for the fire service from where you sit in your town. That is understandable. That's why you need a voice... and advocate... someone representing you at the table where important decisions are made.
And there could be no better choice in the American fire service today than Chief Kelvin Cochran. I met Chief Cochran for the first time about six years ago when we both served on the program planning committee for Fire-Rescue International. He was the chair of a committee whose task was formidable. On the committee there were a dozen people who all had their ideas about how to develop a successful FRI program. Chief Cochran was able to swiftly and effectively get the group focused and moving forward in a positive way.
He has certainly seen his share of adversity while serving as the fire chief in Atlanta and I have never heard him say anything that was unprofessional or discourteous. That's not his nature. Calm... collected... poised... gentle. He has the right attitude to lead. He is the epitome of a southern gentleman. Don't read that to mean he's a pushover. Far from it. He can be veracious when it comes to leading change.
Just the kind of person the nation's fire service needs at the table in Washington. It's going to be a tough ride in the years to come, but there's no one I'd rather have driving the bus than Chief Kelvin Cochran.