Leadership on the Line: Marketing the Fire Service One Firefighter at a Time

The success of any business or the effectiveness of your department depends on how well each person understands and utilizes this one concept.


A Beacon of Light: Not a Finer Example of Leadership

Probably the best observation and comment I received about Greg came from the general manager of a retirement community where Greg's crew makes frequent runs. She noted that she could not imagine a finer example of leadership. "He has high expectations for his men and they achieve them every time. He leads by example with compassion and humor, and from my observation, he leads by the greatest of attributes: humility."

Finally, she noted, "Lieutenant Ahearn is well respected and known in the greater Woodinville community. If there is an event he is there. If there is a crisis he is there. If there is a need, he is there. In a world that could be considered to be in moral decline, Lieutenant Ahearn is a beacon of light: an example to all of us young and old. "Isn't this what the fire service must continue to represent in the minds of our citizens? This is marketing communications at its most effectiveness. I do not know a more fitting description to exemplify the fire service in any community through the leadership example of Lieutenant Greg Ahearn. Greg represents us all: a leader on the line."

I would like to thank Greg's crew: Battalion Chief Cliff Griffen; Firefighters Ron Suggs, Peter Briner, Jeff Smith, Ian D'Ambrosia and Kyle Felmley. I would also like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to the article: Chief Dennis Johnson, Rebecca Clark, David Leggett, Seth Merritt, Tad Wineman, Ted Klinkenberg and Wally Holstad

Suggest a "Leader on the Line" from Your Department

If you or your department would like to suggest a leader on the line for this column, e-mail me, at firecom1@aol.com with the name of the candidate and a contact. I will you and get the information for the story. Please keep your candidates to any rank from firefighter to battalion chief.

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Ben May, a Firehouse.Com and Firehouse Magazine contributing editor, has been developing the discipline of fire and emergency services marketing management for the past 15 years. He has been a firefighter for Montgomery County, MD, Fire and Rescue and fire commissioner for the Woodinville, WA, Fire and Life Safety District.

May holds a bachelor's degree in public affairs from the University of Oklahoma and a master's degree in international communication from the American University in Washington, D.C. He has been a vice president of two international marketing firms over the last 25 years, and now is responsible for business development for Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.

He is a member of the National Society of Executive Fire Officers, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, The Institution of Fire Engineers, the Florida Fire Chiefs Association and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.