Dennis L. Rubin, DC's Fire Chief

Editor's note: This month's Chief Concerns column is a departure from our usual format, in that it takes the form of an interview with one nationally prominent fire chief conducted by another. Dennis L. Rubin, who has been chief of the District of...


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WERNER: Given your impressive fire service career, if you had a single piece of advice for others who wish to follow in your footsteps, what would you recommend?

RUBIN: That is simple; "keep your eyes on the prize"! If you can, become a "monomaniac" -- focused like a laser on a mission to accomplish whatever you truly want to accomplish in your career. I am sure that the same advice will work in your personal life as well. It took me 36 years and several jobs to be aligned to help lead this department. If I can reach this point, so can you. Focus!

WERNER: What would you say is your most rewarding fire service experience to date?

RUBIN: Every time we host a recruit graduation, it reminds me that we are always renewing and rejuvenating our department, the best is yet to come! These ceremonies help me to focus on what is truly important to the department; the people and their families. Recently, I had a wonderful treat to share the podium with a recruit school classmate (Class 255 in 1973), Lieutenant Richard Belcher (retired). The situation was that Rick's son was graduating from our academy. What a real treat to be with our past, our present and the future of our department.

CHARLES WERNER, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 32-year veteran of the fire service and is fire chief of the Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department. He serves on the Virginia Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, the SAFECOM Executive Committee and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council Governing Board.