Firehouse Interview: Gregory B. Cade: The New U.S. Fire Administrator

Firehouse Magazine Contributing Editor Charles Werner interviews Fire Chief Gregory B. Cade, incoming administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security.


On May 25, 2007, the U.S. Senate confirmed Fire Chief Gregory B. Cade to be administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security. He succeeds Fire Chief R. David Paulison, who is now the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Cade, a...


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On May 25, 2007, the U.S. Senate confirmed Fire Chief Gregory B. Cade to be administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security. He succeeds Fire Chief R. David Paulison, who is now the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Cade, a 39-year veteran of the fire service, began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Prince George's County, MD, and became a career PGFD firefighter in 1971. He eventually served as bureau chief of administrative services and bureau chief of fire suppression, before being selected as the Hampton, VA, fire chief in 1992. Since 1998, Cade has been the Virginia Beach, VA, fire chief/emergency management coordinator, overseeing a multi-service agency of career personnel and volunteers. He is currently completing course work for a master's degree in public safety leadership from Old Dominion University. He holds a bachelor of science degree in fire administration (with honors) from the University of Maryland/College Park and an associate's degree in fire science from Prince George's Community College. In addition, he completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The interview was conducted by Firehouse® Magazine Contributing Editor Charles Werner, chief of the Charlottesville, VA, Fire Department.

FIREHOUSE: How did you become interested in the U.S. Fire Administrator position?

CADE: I became interested in the position when I was approached by then Under Secretary of Preparedness George Foresman. George and I had worked together on many projects while he was with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and later when he was Deputy Assistant to the Governor for Commonwealth Preparedness. He and I met in 2006 at the Congressional Fire Services Institute Dinner and had a chance to talk and I agreed to send him my resume and that was the beginning of the process.

FIREHOUSE: What are first impressions and/or desires going into the position?

CADE: My first impressions of going into this position is what an awesome opportunity, as well as an awesome responsibility, to help shape and set the agenda for the national fire service at the federal level. Although I have been in the fire service for 39 years, it is still somewhat intimidating to think that I have been given this opportunity, albeit for a short time. I have not only the opportunity, but also the responsibility to try and help shape that agenda to improve upon the capabilities of the people who work in this wonderful profession.

FIREHOUSE: What has been the most rewarding experience during your fire service career?

CADE: Having been in the fire service for 39 years, it is very difficult to sit and point to one thing that I could say was my most rewarding experience during my fire service career. I have had the good fortune to have been associated with three outstanding fire departments and have been given tremendous opportunities as a result of that.

Fundamentally, the most rewarding experience out of all of that has been my opportunity to come in contact with some of the most outstanding, innovative and creative people that exist anywhere in the world, and not only just those individuals who spend their time and efforts in the fire service, but all of the other ancillary things that they do. The fire service is a unique profession, full of truly unique people and having had the opportunity to travel across this great country, as well as internationally, and meet and talk and learn from all of those people, truly has expanded me. That is what I reflect back on most often.

FIREHOUSE: What would you consider your greatest fire service accomplishment and why?

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