Fire Chief, Past President IAFC and Author

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Promoted to Fire Chief

Gary Ludwig currently serves as the Fire Chief of the ISO Class 1 Champaign (Illinois) Fire Department and served as the President and Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs during the 2019-20 term.  He has 44 years of fire, rescue, and EMS experience. Chief Ludwig started his career with the City of St. Louis at age 18, just two months out of high school, rising through the ranks and retiring as the Chief Paramedic of the St. Louis Fire Department after 25 years of service.  He has also served 10 years as a Deputy Fire Chief for the Memphis Fire Department, managing EMS and the Emergency Management Office. He has a Master’s degree in Business and Management, and has been a licensed paramedic for over 42 years.  He has written over 500 articles for professional fire and EMS publications and is the author of four books.  He has also been invited to speak at over 400 professional EMS or fire conferences or seminars.  He has won numerous awards including the James O. Page EMS Leadership Award from JEMS Magazine in 2014, the IAFC EMS Section’s James O. Page Achievement Award in 2018.

IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health

Physiological Effects from Untreated PTSD in First Responders

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.

CEO/Executive Director IAFC

IAFC COVID-19 Assessment: United States and Canada

Mr. Brown served 38-years in the fire and rescue service – 20-years as fire chief – and joined the IAFC as a full member in 1987. In 2012, as fire chief of a metropolitan city, Mr. Brown was invited to join the IAFC/NFPA Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. During his fire service career, Mr. Brown has served as President of the IAFC Missouri Valley Division; Treasurer, Director-at-Large and International Director of the IAFC Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Section; President of the Colorado State Fire Chiefs; and Chair of the Northern Virginia Fire Chief’s.

Mr. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and is a master’s degree candidate in Intelligence and National Security at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in Washington, DC. Mr. Brown is a graduate of the United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program and held Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Commission on Professional Credentialing, while actively serving as fire chief.

Mr. Brown and his wife of 31-years have four sons and make their home in McLean, VA (Fairfax County), where Mr. Brown serves as Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee for the McLean Citizens Association.

Buckeye Valley Fire District, AZ

The Value of Customer Service: Bruno’s Legacy

Mark Burdick started in the fire service in 1983 as a firefighter for the City of Glendale, AZ. He promoted through the ranks, ultimately serving as fire chief for just over 12 years. During his tenure, the department implemented service to a newly built hockey arena and football stadium (which included two Super Bowl’s) and the city constructed an 80-acre regional training facility.

He holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree and master’s degree, both from Ottawa University. Mark earned Chief Fire Officer (CFO) status from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. In 2011 he was chosen as “Chief Officer of the Year” by the Arizona Fire Chief’s Association, then in 2017 Mark was inducted into the Arizona Fire Service Hall of Fame.
October of 2019 Burdick accepted the position of fire chief for the Buckeye Valley Fire District, where he currently serves, in Maricopa County, AZ. In April of 2021, the district entered a unique “shared chief agreement” with the Sun City Fire & Medical District, covering the retirement community of Sun City as well as the town of Youngtown. Burdick is currently serving as fire chief of both departments.

Over the years, Mark was privileged to have spent a significant amount of time with the late Alan Brunacini (known affectionately as “Bruno”), former Phoenix Fire Chief who was known throughout the country as “America’s Fire Chief.”

Mark is both humbled and honored to be presenting at the “Chief’s Summit ’22,” on the topic, “The Value of Customer Service, Bruno’s Legacy.” In partnership with the IAFC and 1-800-BoardUp, the inaugural shared “Paradigm Shift” conference is supporting and endorsing the vision of “ Inspirational Leaders in America’s Fire Service and Those Who Aspire to Be.”

Survive First Center for Behavioral Health

PTSD Support Resources: Out of Chaos Comes Order and the Opportunity to Grow

Chris Fields is a former member of the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Chris joined the fire department July 12, 1985 promoting through the ranks and retiring as a Major 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 is now dedicating his life, and 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.
“I was shocked when I reached out, how many people were reaching back, I want 1st responders to know its ok, not be ok sometimes. It’s all about changing the narrative of reaching out for help. As heroic a calling as our profession seems to many, to me it’s just as heroic if not more to speak up, reach out. Be a hero to yourself and your family.”

Chris also serves as a Fire Liaison on the Advisory Board for Survive First, a 501©3 organization whose mission is to assist first responders, military and their families who need mental health support from the impact of PTSD, and substance abuse, he is also the co-host of a weekly webinar Trauma Behind the Badge

Chris still resides in Oklahoma City with his wife of 33 years Cheryl, they have 2 sons and 1 daughter in law. Ryan(27) and his wife Drew and son Parker(21) a Senior at the University of Oklahoma

Acting President/Chairman of the Board IAFC

Federal Legislation Update: Recognizing EMS Medical Support 

Chief Stuebing has over thirty-five (35) years of experience working with both career and volunteer emergency services across Canada and has a successful track record in the management of both fire and EMS. This experience enables him to bring a broad perspective on emergency services to Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency where he currently serves as the Fire Chief. In this position, he is responsible to the Council for the Provision of Fire Services and Emergency Management. 

Chief Stuebing began his career as a Paramedic after graduating in 1984 and has worked in all types of EMS services in many communities and provinces across Canada. He culminated his clinical activity as a Critical Care Flight Paramedic on “Bandage 1” in Toronto, Canada and was the Education/Research Program Manager for Hamilton Health Sciences Base Hospital. 

Chief Stuebing has been a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), and the Canadian Division of the IAFC since 2006. He has served on the Membership, Fire & Life Safety, Performance Excellence, and the Diversity & Inclusion committees. Chief Stuebing served on the CAFC Board of Directors as the Division Secretary and as the IAFC Canadian Division International Director. In 2019 he was sworn in as the Second Vice President of the IAFC. Throughout his career, Chief Stuebing has maintained membership in provincial/regional Fire Chief and Paramedic Chief Associations. 

Chief Stuebing holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences with Charles Sturt University in Australia, a Masters Certificate in Municipal Leadership with York University in Toronto, a Diploma from Seneca College and Certificate from Conestoga College in Aeromedical and Ambulance & Emergency Care, respectively. Chief Stuebing graduated from the Recruit Training and Fire Protection Technologies Programs at the Ontario Fire College (OFC) and served as a faculty member and content expert for the OFC’s Emergency Patient Care Program.
Chief Stuebing is an avid sportsman and enjoys lacrosse, hockey, equestrian activities, camping and boating. He believes strongly in giving back and has been very involved for over three decades coaching high performance athletes in lacrosse, hockey, swimming and equestrian events. He has been married to Pamela for over thirty-five (35) years. They have two children, Justin and Brandon, who attended Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, on a lacrosse scholarship and graduated with degrees and are now working.

Executive Director, NFFF

Responding to Violent Incidents: Resources and Educational Support

Ronald Jon Siarnicki, the Foundation’s Executive Director, began his career as a firefighter with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department in 1978 and, over 24 years, progressed through the ranks to Chief of the Department. In this position, he served as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the fire, rescue and emergency medical services of Prince George’s County, Maryland. While with the Department, he also served on the Joint Fire and Police Pension Board for four years.

Prior to joining the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Monessen Volunteer Fire Department, Hose House #2, in western Pennsylvania. In doing so, he followed a family tradition-both his father and grandfather were volunteer firefighters.

In July 2001, he retired from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department to take the position of Executive Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. In this role, he has managed the day to day operations of the Foundation to include the National Memorial Services, construction of the National Memorial Park and the renovation of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In addition, he created the catalyst for the development of the Everyone Goes Home® Program designed to reduce the number of firefighter line-of-duty deaths that occur each year in the United States.
Chief Siarnicki delivers presentations at fire and emergency conferences and meetings across the country, increasing awareness of the Foundation, the efforts of its prevention work and support for the families of the fallen. In recognition of his outstanding leadership with the Foundation’s and the fire service as a whole, he has been recognized by various groups and organizations to include: The Fire Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award, Alan Brunacini Fire Services Executive Safety Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs’ Presidents Award of Distinction, University of Maryland, University College Distinguished Alumnus, American Burn Association’s Moncrief Award and the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Silver Medal of Valor.

A strong proponent of higher education, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and served as a UMUC faculty member for the Fire Science Curriculum.

IAFC Past President and Chairman

Why We Need to Consider Another Incident Priority: Helping Fire Victims Post-Fire

Jack Parow served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Fire Chiefs, 2010/2011. From 1994 through October 2010 he served as the fire chief in Chelmsford, Mass., and is a 35-year veteran of the fire service and an IAFC member since 1991. Chief Parow’s fire service career started in a combination department in North Reading, Mass., in 1975. In 1991, at the rank of captain, he left North Reading to become the fire chief in East Bridgewater, Mass., also a combination department.

In 1994, Chief Parow was offered the position of fire chief in Chelmsford, a career department operating out of five stations and located on the Route 495 belt outside of Boston. Additionally, since 1990, he has led the busiest state hazardous-material team providing coverage for over 90 communities in the northeastern section of the state.

Active throughout his entire career, Chief Parow has served as president of the New England Division of the IAFC and president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts and served on the IAFC Election Committee, the Membership Task Force and the IAFC International Code Council regional committee. He is also a member of the IAFC’s VCOS, Fire and Life Safety Section, EMS Section, and Safety, Health and Survival Section, as well as the NFPA. In addition, he has been very active at both the state and federal level in moving vital fire service legislation forward, including funding of the Fire Bill.

Chief Parow holds a master’s degree in business management, a bachelor’s degree in fire and safety engineering, an associate’s degree in fire science, and he is an EFOP graduate. He also teaches at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass., in both the graduate and undergraduate Fire Science and Management Program. He still maintains both his state and national certifications as an emergency medical technician.

Specialties: Jack is very serious when it comes to health and wellness. He is a certified physical trainer and has competed in triathlons and hundreds of road races, including completing five Boston Marathons. He coaches hockey at North Reading High School and is a certified USA hockey referee, refereeing over 200 games a year.