Retiring Asst. Chief "Little" Laura Laurenzi Leaves Behind Big Shoes To Fill
“I’m not done giving back to the community,” says retiring Assistant Chief Laura Laurenzi, who’s been serving the City of Madison since October 1988.
Her journey to the Madison Fire Department came on a road less traveled.
Laurenzi was eyeing up Law School at the University of Wisconsin while doing accounting work in Kenosha, hoping to move to Madison to be with her partner. She was also working some part-time jobs when she met then-firefighter Laura Agostini who encouraged Laurenzi to consider joining the Madison Fire Department.
“After one month on the job I thought, ‘Why in the world would I want to be an attorney?’” Laurenzi recalls. She never looked back.
She continued with her accounting education, however, and earned her CPA. The Fire Department schedule allowed her the time to keep her accounting skills fresh — skills that would prove to be beneficial to the City later on.
Laurenzi began her firefighting career at Fire Station 9 on Midvale Boulevard. She remembers walking in on her first day to a cold reception from her lieutenant.
“He said, ‘Why did they put you here? There’s no place for you here,’” she remembers. “I was a little taken aback.”
Nevertheless, she explained to the officer that Station 9 was her first-choice firehouse because it put her in a position to serve her own neighborhood. The officer, days from retirement, moved on and Laurenzi kept her chin up.
“There is no officer now that would ever dream of saying something like that to anybody,” Laurenzi said, adding that the department has evolved a lot in the 28 years since she joined.
Her career took her from Fire Station 9 to Station 6, then to the north side at Station 10, westward to Stations 7 and 12, and then back to 9. After serving as a firefighter, paramedic, and fire lieutenant, she was promoted to Division Chief of Special Teams and Grants in January 2012. A year later, she was promoted to Assistant Chief of Administration where she remained until her last day, January 17, 2017.
While a paramedic out of Station 10, she said the longer transport times gave her the opportunity to get to know her patients.
“Certainly if the call was acute, you were pining to be at Station 6, closer to the hospital,” she said. “But if it was a call where time wasn’t of the essence, I enjoyed spending time with the people we served. I've talked to some amazing people throughout the years.”
It was her role as Assistant Chief of Administration that really brought together her skills as an accountant and her expertise in fire and EMS. Tasked with tracking resources throughout the department — from budgetary funds to medical supplies to allocation of services — her proficiency with finance and statistics led to greater efficiencies and accountability within the department.
She looks back on her time here with immense gratitude.
“I’ve been blessed to have a job I loved; to work for the City of Madison, which has been a great employer; to live in a department that cares about the people we serve and that we serve so deeply. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling career.”
Several initiatives were developed during her time at MFD, but she’s particularly proud of the Community Paramedicine program which launched about a year ago in partnership with UnityPoint Health-Meriter and UW Hospital. She says the burgeoning program has the potential to make one of the greatest impacts on the community, especially as the healthcare and insurance industries face potential changes related to the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s a unique opportunity for us to interface with the community in a more preventative role, and I’m proud that we were able to provide this with minimal cost to the city,” she said.
She’s especially grateful for the people “behind the scenes” who really keep the Fire Department going.
“The things we’re able to do as a department could not be done without the support staff at Fire Admin. I think they are unsung heroes,” she explained. “It’s often overlooked how important their roles are, which make it possible for the people in the field to do their jobs.”
In her retirement, Laurenzi looks forward to having more time to travel with her wife, Kris, and to be with family. But she’s not done serving the community. She’ll continue to do part-time accounting for a local coffee company, and after some well-deserved rest and relaxation she’ll decide exactly what to do next.
“We were raised to give back when you’re blessed. To have been able to make a career of giving back — I couldn’t think of a better job.”
Subscribe to Email List
- ER Docs Dive Into Firefighting During 'Doc Ops Day'
- MFD Lends Helping Hand At Gilbert Brown Football Camp
- Special Delivery: “Beltline Jax” Makes A Grand Entrance
- New Lease On Life: Oregon Man Reconnects With Crew That Helped Save Him
- 235 New Smoke Alarms Move Into Sherman Terrace!
- Captain Todd Steyer Wraps Up A Fulfilling 30-Year Career With MFD
- Calling All Volunteers! CampHERO Kicks Off Its 6th Season
- EMS Q&A: Where can I learn CPR?
- EMS Q&A: Did you know MFD paramedics are also firefighters?
- EMS Q&A: What should I expect after calling for an ambulance?
- EMS Q&A: What’s the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic? How many paramedics are on duty?
- EMS Q&A: Why does a fire truck come when I call for an ambulance?
- Meet Firefighter Maj-Britt Williams
- Meet Firefighter Adam Thimmig
- Meet Firefighter Ruth Savard
- Meet Firefighter Mike Reisman
- Meet Firefighter Trent Meicher
- Meet Firefighter Jonathon McCray
- Meet Firefighter Adam Lesser
- Meet Firefighter Patrick Johnson
- Meet Firefighter Kyle Homan
- Meet Firefighter Joe Gangler
- Meet Firefighter Justin Fehrenbach
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Dykstra
- Meet Firefighter Brandon Douglas
- Meet Firefighter Tamara Dinkel
- Meet Firefighter Marta Darrow
- Meet Firefighter Davy Calkins
- Meet Firefighter Ryan Beckwith
- MFD Introduces 18 New Firefighters!
- A Greener Firehouse: How Fire Station 12 LEEDs the Way
- Meet AE Brad Vogen
- Meet AE Vince Soto
- Meet AE Chad Powell
- Meet AE Daniel Pazurek
- Meet AE Todd Mahoney
- Meet Apparatus Engineer Cole Christenson
- Meet AE Derek Brown
- New Apparatus Engineers Now Serving In Your Neighborhood!
- Dane County EMS Banquet Honors Survivors, Responders Involved In Cardiac Saves
- On This Day In History: The First 911 Call Is Placed In 1968
- PHOTOS: Getting Up Close With The Lake Rescue Team
- Sable Flames "Second Alarm" Benefit Enters Its 24th Year
- Madison's Iranian Community Comes Together To Honor Firefighters
- Building Connections, Inspiring Kids: Engine 12 At Olson Elementary School
- Welcome Home: Cooper's Hawk Returns To Willy Street
- The Results Are In: 91 Donations Collected During the “Never Forget” Blood Drive
- Meet AE Ethan Dade
- Meet AE Wade Raddatz
- Meet AE Lance Radock
- Meet AE Jacob Conner
- Meet AE Dan Smith
- Meet AE Kevin Hembrook
- National Preparedness Month: Special Needs Disaster Planning
- Meet AE Tom Winter
- Meet AE Lori Karst
- MFD Introduces Eight New Apparatus Engineers
- Generous Grant Brings New "Jaws Of Life" Equipment To Ladder 6
- National Preparedness Month: Creating Communication and Evacuation Plans
- National Preparedness Month: Don't Wait. Communicate.
- “Doc Ops Day” Gives ER Docs A Taste Of Firefighter Life
- Two Years After Accident, Family And First Responders Celebrate 'A Miracle'
- Madison Fire Aims To Keep Injuries Well Under Par At PGA Championships
- “It’s Been A Great Ride," Says Retiring Driver John Lucille
- A Thank-You Gift For All To Enjoy
- “Friday Nights At the Y” Returns In 2016
- Meet Lt. Lisa Becher
- Meet Lt. Derek Teff
- Meet Lt. Casey Preimesberger
- Resources For Candidates Preparing For the Physical Ability Test
- Meet Lt. Sue Juedes
- Meet Lt. Ted Higgins
- Meet Lt. Matthew Mialik
- Meet Lt. Michael McCartney
- MFD Introduces Seven New Lieutenants
- Inside The Galaxie: Making Madison's Newest High Rise Safer For All
- Edgewood Students Donate Stuffed Animals For Kids Experiencing Trauma
- Apparatus Engineer "Recon Bob" Says Goodbye After 25 Years Of Service
- New Boat Enhances MFD Lake Rescue Capabilities
- With Gratitude, Division Chief Ron Schwenn Bids Farewell To the MFD
- New Training Technology Aims to Offer Full Immersion, Minus the Risks
- In the Midst Of Transitions, Our Crews Don't Miss A Beat
- Finance Manager Rita Johnson Retires After 44 Years With the City
- Farewell to West District Captain Tom Reiter
- Meet Firefighter Caluster Buie
- Meet Firefighter Steven Foulks
- Meet Firefighter Richard Miyagawa
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Balli
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Boyle
- Meet Firefighter Oscar Castillo
- Meet Firefighter David Bartkowiak
- Meet Firefighter Christopher Staveness
- Meet Firefighter Michael Guerten
- Meet Firefighter Marcus Bobholz
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Ramsey
- Meet Firefighter Michael Olson
- Meet Firefighter Eric Popovich
- Meet Firefighter Paul Schecklman
- Meet Firefighter Brian Tremain
- Meet Firefighter Cameron Gasaway
- Meet Firefighter Vaughn Brockel
- Why We Do What We Do: Remembering the Our Lady of the Angels Fire
- Meet Firefighter Brian Bieganski
- The Madison Fire Department Prepares For Inaugural "Shake the Lake" Event
- The Heavy Urban Rescue Team Practices Life-Saving Skills
- Safety Saturday 2015: A Day In Photos
- Firefighter Fun Day 2015 is Saturday, August 8
- Retired Firefighter Tim Healy Inducted Into Madison Sports Hall Of Fame
- Firefighter Ty Stebbins Sworn In
- A Day In The Life Of A Madison Firefighter
- Alix Olson Award
- Awards & Recognition
- Battle Of the Badges
- Black History Month
- Community Outreach
- Community Paramedicine
- Dane County Public Safety Communications
- Fire Academy
- Fire Prevention Division
- fire prevention month
- Fire Safety School Tours
- Fire Stations
- Firefighter Fun Day
- Friday Nights at the Y
- Hazmat Team
- Heavy Urban Rescue Team
- Hiring & Promotions
- Join the Team
- Lake Rescue Team
- Madison Fire EMS
- Meet the MFD
- MFD Behind the Scenes
- MFD Mailbag
- MFD Prevention Division
- National Preparedness Month
- Our Lady Of the Angels
- public health
- Public Safety
- Sable Flames
- Safety Town
- Shake the Lake
- The American Center
- Training & Professional Development
- UW Health
- Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program