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IAFC- Division kicks off the largest class yet in Lafayette

Bienvenue en Louisiane

WHAT: 3rd Annual IAFC-SW Division Leadership Academy Symposium

WHERE:  Louis F. Babin Institute of Fire Training, 300 N. Dugas Road, Lafayette, LA

WHEN:     Tuesday, March 12, thru Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.

DETAILS: Lafayette Fire Department will host the International Association of Fire Chief, Southwest Division, Leadership and Coaching Academy this week at our training facility. 1 Smart Career consulting firm partnered with IAFC to bring this cutting edge leadership academy designed for members of the fire service. Twenty-two fire chiefs and officers from the southwest division of IAFC will be in attendance including members from Lafayette Fire. The academy will begin with a 3 day symposium on topics of leadership, coaching, and mentoring. It will be followed by 4 months of online courses. 

Fire Chief Robert Benoit is a member of the IAFC. He is also the 1st Vice President of the IAFC’s Southwestern Division. IAFC is a prominent organization in the fire service providing leadership to fire departments throughout the United States and Canada. Chief Benoit welcomed the opportunity to have Lafayette serve as a host site. After reviewing the course programming, he was encouraged with the depth of training and believed the outcome to be very beneficial to his members and the fire service in general.

Fire officers from 5 states; Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Minnesota spent 3 days in Lafayette March 12, 13 & 14 for our 3rd annual Hi-Performance Leadership Academy Symposium. Each year since 2016 the Southwestern Division has partnered 1 Smart Career’s Kelly Walsh and Dan Jones to host a 6 month combined real and virtual classroom to deliver exemplary leadership skills to the officers.

There will be a graduation ceremony held for the officers who complete the course. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Executive Leadership Academy in October.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler.”

At the conclusion of the academy, there was a special treat for the students and instructors. The officers from Plaquesmines Parish Fire Department worked with the host to show everyone what real cajun food is all about

1 Smart Career delivers more than training

Juggling Personal Relationships and Professional Ambitions

Listen to the PODCAST here


Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Kelly Walsh discuss the following:

  • Remind our listeners what is 1 Smart Life?
  • One of your areas of expertise is work-life balance. Can you give our listeners some tips on how to juggle personal relationships and professional ambitions?
  • Talk to us about the teeter-totter conundrum. How does that concept apply to every day life?
  • Who should hire a life coach?
  • What is the difference between a life coach and a therapist?
  • With the extra stress of the holidays, does it make work-life balance even harder? How do you manage extra stress and unique situations?
Video is the exclusive property of 1 Smart Career

Kelly Walsh is one of our coaches for the annual Leadership Academy. This year we are hosting it in Lafayette, LA. For information on registration click here

Pine Bluff Battalion Chief selected for FSEDI !

Chief Clark selected out of dozens of applicants.

Harold Clark selected into 2019 Fire Service Executive Development Institute!
Please join me in congratulating Battalion Chief Harold Clark in being selected by the International Association of Fire Chiefs to attend the Fire Service Executive Development Institute. This leadership development program will provide new and aspiring chiefs with the
tools they need to have successful and productive tenures.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) announced that Battalion Chief Harold Clark
of Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services has been accepted into the Fire Service Executive
Development Institute (FSEDI). Chief Clark competed with new fire chiefs and chief officers from across the country and Canada to become a member of the 2019 cohort program. Along with being accepted into the program Chief Clark has been awarded a scholarship which covers the expenses for attending the program.

Chief Harold Clark Jr’s credentials helped him stand out above the other candidates.

Battalion Fire Chief Harold Clark, Jr., is an Arkansas native that started his fire service career with Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services in July of 2000.

Chief Clark started out as a firefighter and was one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians in the department, and has
had increasing rank and responsibilities with the department throughout his career.

Chief Clark is a 1992 graduate of Watson Chapel High School.

MBA degree in Public Administrations from Webster University, and a BA degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; AAS Degree in Fire Science from Southeast Arkansas College

Chief is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Pine Bluff, a 2015 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Citizen’s Academy, and a 2016 graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI).

Chief Clark has numerous certifications such as:
▪ Emergency Medical Technician
▪ Hazardous Materials Technician
▪ CPR Instructor
▪ EMT Instructor
▪ Certified Training Officer
▪ Certified Fire Instructor
▪ Certified Fire Investigator
▪ Certified Specialized Law Enforcement Officer
▪ Homeland Security Liaison Officer

Chief Clark was PBF&ES’s second Public Information Officer and liaison to the Fire Chief. He currently serves as an adjunct Instructor for the Arkansas Fire Academy, and is a member of the Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, Fraternal Order of Firefighters, Arkansas State Firefighters
Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Mu Delta, NAACP, Toastmasters International, Black Chief Officer’s Committee, and the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.

Also, Chief Clark is a board member of the Jefferson County Drug
Court, Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Pine Bluff Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club.

This is the seventh year that the Motorola Solutions Foundation has provided the IAFC with a grant to fund the program. “The Motorola Solutions Foundation recognizes the critical role of
fire chiefs at the regional, state and national level,” said Matt Blakely, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “We remain committed to supporting the education and development of emerging leaders in fire service to ensure they are successful in protecting the
communities they care about.”

The Fire Service Executive Development Institute is a year-long leadership-development program created and implemented by the IAFC to provide new and aspiring chiefs with the tools they need to have successful and productive tenures. The members of the cohort will meet in January 2019 for their first six-day session in addition to two other sessions scheduled six
months apart. The group will communicate between sessions using an online community.

Pine Bluff Fire Chief Shauwn Howell said “Chief Clark is a dedicated, loyal and invaluable
employee of PBF&ES. I am very proud and supportive of what he has accomplished and continues to achieve in his career. I sincerely admire his desire to obtain professional development opportunities that enhance himself, PBF&ES and the community he loves and has
served for nearly two decades. There is no doubt in my mind that one day he will be selected as a Fire Chief to lead a department of his own.”
“Congratulations to this year’s cohort of emerging fire and emergency service leaders,” said
Chief Dan Eggleston, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “The IAFC’s Fire Service Executive Development Program has become the premier career- and leadership-development
program in our profession thanks to the generous support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Many officers from the previous programs have been successful in achieving fire chief positions
and are effectively leading their departments.”

Managing within the context of a fire organization

Human Relations: Managing within the context of a fire organization

• September 2018 • Chief Robert Benoit – 2nd Vice President, IAFC-SW Division – Fire Chief Lafayette Fire Department

The basic principles for managing one’s personal and family life, a private corporation (small or large) and both for-profit and nonprofit businesses are similar to those needed to manage a fire department. These management processes provide an orderly structure to achieving goals and objectives through delegated authority under competent leadership.
Within the context of a fire organization, effective management is a learned behavior that demands continuous training, requires team spirit and provides a strong disciplinary influence.
The NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, Section 10, Chapter 1, states

  Almost all fire departments were administered by clearly defined organizational structures long before system techniques were applied to industry and business. A system of task allocation to engine and ladder crews was developed whereby each person on the apparatus performed certain functions in sequence so the team operated as a coordinated unit, without duplication of effort.

Most fire departments are structured around this traditional model, and with it, leaders have a firm foundation to build on; continuous training, team spirit and influence are some of their construction tools.

Continuous Training

On June 15, my department held its 101st recruit academy graduation, with 17 graduates who started their training in January. The academies are six months long, with the objective of making sure each recruit has the foundation needed to perform in an effective manner during the working test period, which totals 18 months of probationary status. At the end of the working test period, they’re confirmed as permanent firefighters.

This is where the real training begins, and it will continue throughout their careers.

Effective leaders in the fire service are no different than those they manage. Management principles must start at the top and flow downward through the chain of command. Lower-level officers often find it difficult to practice leadership styles different from their superiors if we are not practicing what we preach.

Common sense is not without its merits. However, it’s just one tool mangers use, along with consistent education and training, to help members understand that decisions made at the member level may resolve an issue temporarily but that some decisions need to be made from a wider perspective, such as seen by the department leadership, to have lasting effects.

Team Spirit

If you are going to wear the jersey, become a team player. A spirit of cooperation is a powerful tool, meaning sometimes you will have to change your focus and direction for the betterment of the organization. Staff meetings are critical, can be very efficient and should be inclusive. All aspects of the department, both supervisors and members, should be able to sit at the table and present ideas to management on a regular basis.

The fire and emergency service is a very complex field that is constantly evolving, often very rapidly. Individual skills can make or break an organization and can best be managed when the leaders feel the pulse, which can only happen in a huddle (that is, staff meetings).
When employees are given the opportunity to provide input, self-ownership takes over and the stronger players have a way of getting the weaker players to buy into their goals and objectives. As a manager and part of the team, you have the authority to make things happen. Never let power keep you on the sidelines.


Black’s Law Dictionary defines influence as

“Power exerted over others. To affect, modify or act upon by physical, mental or moral power, especially in some gentle, subtle and gradual way.”

A lot can be said about influence depending on who is in charge. I like the phrase “gentle, subtle and gradual way” because it takes the sting out of having to use force to achieve goals and objectives in running an efficient fire service organization. The truism “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” goes a long way in making people feel appreciated.
Managers are held to a higher standard and are always being watched, filmed, recorded and scrutinized. Managers can get in trouble for off-duty actions, sometimes forgetting we’re always on the radar. Fire service leaders who excel do so because they’re on top of their games. More often than not, we forget that we’re human; it’s not the big things hurting us, but the illegal, unethical or immoral acts that destroy us because we don’t think things through.

Education = Knowledge = Success = Power

As an administrator, you have the authority to manage the performance within your organization. It takes a long time to build character and excel to the level of leadership in the fire service. It only takes a split second to crash and burn. As a leader, you owe it to yourself, your family and the entire fire service to finish strong, making a colossal impact on the organization you represent.

Chief Benoit is a member of the IAFC Human Relations Committee and currently sits on the executive board of the IAFC-Southwestern Division

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