Company officer leadership has always been integral to FireRescue magazine. When Chief Jim Page first founded FireRescue, he drew a bull’s-eye on the wall, and in the center, he wrote “Company Officers.” He wanted to emphasize the significant impact that company officers have on how a department serves its community. That’s why each year, FireRescue magazine demonstrates its commitment to company officer development and recognition through the Company Officer of the Year Award.
The award honors company officers with outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, training, incident command, firefighter safety, interpersonal communications, and community involvement.
The Company Officer of the Year receives a $1,000 cash award and airfare, accommodations and registration to the IAFC’s Fire-Rescue International conference.
Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Travis Benne
Station chief with Andersen Fire and Emergency Services in Guam
Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Travis Benne is a station chief with Andersen Fire and Emergency Services in Guam. Sergeant Benne was recognized for his excellent fire service leadership, commitment to safety and preparedness, and dedication to professional development. He holds a master’s degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership and was one of the first in the United States Air Force’s Fire Protection career field to complete the Professional Development certification through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. While serving in various fire protection positions at bases throughout the United States and South Korea since 2003, Benne has also been deployed four times as a firefighter to support Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He has received the Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal with Valor Device with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. Benne regularly works as a public educator for home and workplace fire safety. He leads a family reading night at the Andersen Air Force Base Elementary School, serves as a merit badge instructor for the Boy Scout Troop on base, and serves as one of the base squadron’s CPR instructors.
Lt. Kevin M. Kalmus
Austin (Texas) Fire Department
Kalmus is a lieutenant with Austin (Texas) Fire Department, assigned to Engine 16 in north/central Austin. He has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas. He serves as an instructor for the IAFF’s Affiliate Leadership Training Summit, as well as a Master Instructor for the IAFF/IAFC Fire Ground Survival Program. Lt. Kalmus has written numerous articles and instructs nationally on engine company operations and firefighter survival. He was instrumental in establishing a burn camp for children in Austin and gets involved in many areas of community outreach. Lt. Kalmus has received the Austin Fire Department’s medals of Valor, Merit and Commendation.
Lt. Shawn M. Jones
Anne Arundel County (Md.) Fire Department
Lt. Jones is a 14-year veteran of the Anne Arundel County (Md.) Fire Department, a 1,400-personnel career and volunteer department.He was promoted to Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator in 1998and to lieutenant in 2007. Lt. Jones has served his department as a Recruit Training Officer, Field Training Officer, Public Information Officer and Fire and Life Safety Educator.He is currently assigned as a Company Officer/Shift Supervisor at Station 26 in South Glen Burnie—the busiest station in the county.He also serves as a Liaison Officer on the Regional Type III Incident Management Team.
Captain Michael C. Hayes
FDNY Ladder Company 28
Captain Hayes started his fire service career at the age of 16 as a member of the Volunteer Departments of Binghamton N.Y. He eventually became the chief of the Garden City Fire Department in Nassau County. Upon relocation to Middletown, N.Y., Captain Hayes became a member and eventually chief of the Slate Hill Volunteer Department. Hayes is a New York State and nationally certified fire instructor. Hayes was appointed to the New York City Police Department in 1984, and then appointed to the FDNY in 1989. After completing Probation Training at the Fire Academy, he was assigned to Engine Company 69 in Harlem. Capt. Hayes was promoted to Lieutenant in 1999 and assigned to the Division of Training where he served until assignment to Ladder 38 in 2003. He was promoted to Captain in 2005 and assigned to Ladder 28 in 2006, where he serves today. Hayes was instrumental in developing a victim/injured firefighter removal system and procedure called the Belmont System (named for the firehouse on Belmont Avenue).
Captain Daniel Corder
Loudoun County (Va.) Fire & Rescue Department
Captain Daniel Corder started his fire career as a volunteer with the Ashburn (Va.) Volunteer Fire Company in 1974. As a junior member, Corder completed his NFPA 1001 Fire Fighter I, II and III training as well as becoming an EMT-A shortly after his 18thbirthday. He was the first member of the Ashburn Company to become a certified EMT. During his active volunteer years, Corder served in many operational positions, including assistant chief. Corder served with the Prince William Fire and Rescue Department as a career fire fighter from 1983 to 1989. In 1988 he became a career station officer at Loudoun County.
Captain Richard Kellogg
Engine 5A of the Virginia Beach (Va.) Fire Department
Captain Kellogg was an original member of the VBFD’s Safety Committee and served the committee for 20 years. He routinely acts as the shift safety officer and believes in “fitness for duty.” Kellogg received the Model Partnership in Education Award for his community involvement at North Landing Elementary School. According to his nominations, Kellogg has three goals: everyone goes home, get the job done, and have fun.
Lt. Steve Shupert
Miami Township (Ohio) Division of Fire and EMS
Steve Shupert is a lieutenant with the Miami Township (Ohio) Fire-EMS Department. A 20-year firefighter-paramedic, Shupert works on the second platoon Engine-Rescue Company 48. He is a member of the Ohio Task Force 1, and was task force leader at the World Trade Center and during Hurricane Katrina. He is also a member of the FEMA-USAR Rescue Working Group. Read more from Steve here.
District Chief Billy Schmidt
Palm Beach County (Fla.) Fire Rescue
Billy Schmidt is a district chief assigned to the 3rd battalion with Palm Beach County (Fla.) Fire Rescue. An adjunct instructor for the department’s Training and Safety Division, he has a master’s degree in organizational leadership, a bachelor’s degree in human resource management and an associate’s degree in fire science. He’s a member of FireRescue magazine’s Editorial Board and the author of FireGroundWorks.com. Read more from Billy Schmidt here.
Comment Now: Post Your Thoughts & Comments on This Story