Chief Amesqua Named 2011 Chief of the Year

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 9:52am

The City of Madison Fire Department is pleased to announce that Fire Chief Debra Amesqua has been named 2011 Career Fire Chief of the Year by Fire Chief Magazine.

According to the magazine's editorial director, Janet Wilmoth, winners are honored for their dedication and leadership in the fire and emergency services. The award is sponsored by Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company.

The 16th annual awards will be presented during the opening session of the 2011 International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Fire-Rescue International Exhibits and Conference in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday, August 26th.

In announcing the award, Wilmoth said, "We are very pleased with the selection of this year's winners. The commitment and dedication of both Chief Amesqua and Volunteer Chief of the year Robert Perry (Union Fire Protection District, Peace Dale, R.I.) represent the hard-work and challenges facing today's fire and emergency leadership. Our judges had a difficult time with many excellent nominations this year."

When Chief Amesqua was named Chief of the City of Madison Fire Department in 1996, she was the first woman in the Department's history to hold the position. At that time, she was one of only seven women to head one of the 32,000 fire departments in the country. She began her firefighting career in 1983 as a recruit in the Tallahassee Florida Fire Department, where she rose through the ranks to Assistant Chief for Training for the department.

Amesqua is nationally recognized for her work on senior level management training for fire service women and breaking down barriers for people of color. She has developed and presented workshops and authored professional papers on subjects related to executive officer career development, and building a learning organization in the fire service.

Chief Amesqua holds a BA degree with honors in business and management from Alverno College in Milwaukee. She has completed the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Training Program as well as the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Established in 1956, Fire Chief Magazine is a professional journal for fire service leaders. Articles by fire officers from across the country and worldwide cover a wide variety of important areas to today's fire service leaders. The publication's monthly readers include chief officers, with a sizable contingent of incident commanders, training officers, safety officers, and other titles and ranks.

  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947