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Glad to see succession plan at Alpena Fire

In a recent story by Steve Schulwitz, we learned that, in the 150-year history of the Alpena Fire Department, only six officers have completed the School of Fire Staff and Command Education and Training program.

That includes recent graduates Andy Marceau and Brett Miller, who earned their diplomas from Eastern Michigan University and join retired Alpena Fire Chief Bill Forbush, former chief Ken Hubbard, Deputy Chief Rob Edmonds, and retired captain Mike Manchester in completing the advanced education training program.

Forbush said the program is designed to prepare professional fire officers to effectively manage fire agencies and targets fire officers destined for senior leadership within their departments.

Forbush, who plans to retire in about a year, said having three current employees who have completed the schooling — which consists of 350 hours of competency-based education spread over 10 months — makes sure his department has a leadership succession plan in place, with natural leaders ready to step up when he departs.

“The number-one responsibility of a leader is to develop those behind them, and I’m proud to say we have some excellent senior command staff in Alpena,” Forbush said. “They will be ready to take over when I retire and really sets us up well for the future.”

Too often, leaders — from small business owners to the heads of government agencies — think too little about who will take over when they’re gone. They put too little thought into making sure their organization has competent people ready to step up and continue the work after they leave.

We’re glad to see the Alpena Fire Department is not among that bunch.

Congrats to Marceau and Miller, and thanks go to Chief Forbush for making sure his team is ready on behalf of Alpenans.

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