This is a listing of YLD scholarship recipients for the years 1989-1999, with their affiliation at the time of their award. Each awardee's philosophy of leadership is also included. For awards made in 2000-2007, click here.
Ms. Robin Brabb: "My leadership philosophy is to lead by example. I think that an effective leader has to be motivated to constantly strive to better not only themselves, but those around them and the organization which they represent. A true leader earns the respect of their subordinates by doing and knowing the job, and utilizing the knowledge of their most important resource, their coworkers. Leaders need to be proactive rather than reactive. They need to be able to project the future of the organization and which direction it needs to follow, and then be able to motivate and influence others toward the achievement of those goals. I think that a leader needs to be flexible and be able to communicate as well as listen, to be decisive and take action. I strongly fee that a true leader realizes that there are always going to be things that they don't know or have an answer for, but that should motivate them to seek answers. Education is the key to motivation and improvement."
Mr. H. Michael Drumm: "I believe in shared leadership. I use my leadership skills in three ways: 1) for my own personal growth and development; 2) for the growth and development of my fire department; and 3) to help fulfill our department mission by achieving our strategic goals and objectives. My leadership philosophy is quite simple: What is most important to the newest and least senior person on my department must be important to me. I use many tools and processes in the daily practice of leadership. Some of them, like incident command, are formal and very autocratic. Others, like our strategic planning committee, are formal but with shared responsibility and consensus decisions. Yet others are like my professional development program, an opportunity to use leadership as a means of developing others' skills and knowledge."
Ms. Stacy Morton: "My philosophy of leadership is to strive for excellence while setting outstanding examples."
Ms. Kelli J. Scarlett: "I believe in leading by example and by providing opportunity and guidance. I believe that the only thing that can really change the world is education. I believe that a good leader provides the opportunity, tools and knowledge that enable and encourage others. I believe that a good leader listens to the people he or she is leading, even when it is difficult to hear what they are saying. I believe that a good leader continually aspires to become even better. A good leader inspires and empowers and facilitates. I believe that a good leader must have the trust of the people he or she leads and be willing to trust them in return."
Back to Top
Mr. Christopher A. Blair: "My philosophy of leadership is to empower the "team" and value each individual, encouraging and helping them to visualize opportunities, and helping to make each work day interesting and fun. A leader is a proactive, collaborative problem-solver. By acknowledging my commitment to professionalism, the YLD scholarship recognition will benefit my department and will impact others to lead by my positive influence. I can provide greater direction and balance the higher I go in my organization and in the Fire Service. I will continue to train and lead."
Ms. Cecilia N.H. Causey: "My philosophy is simple, I lead by example. I would not ask or expect anything from my personnel that I do not expect of myself. I promote a "We Can" attitude and I think proactively. The YLD Foundation Scholarship is an investment in my future potential. The financial support I receive will enable me to acquire my degree. I believe this degree will provide the opportunity for my advancement to upper management that is not possible without it. If given the opportunity, I will put my new management concepts, knowledge and philosophies into daily practice, such as "management in motion" and "management by example."
Mr. Jeffrey A. Grote: "The true definition of a great leader is that he never has to tell his or her organization that he or she is the leader. In other words, a leader is one that is respected by their organization for not only their knowledge and achievements in the fire service, but for their personality as well. My current supervisor (Rick Brisbin) once told me that a great leader never has to lead, only to steer. So to explain my definition of leadership, a leader is a person who stands in support of his organization, always providing growth opportunities for employees. I believe that instinctively people strive for more responsibility and will seek it out. I believe a leader needs to know when to be visible and when to stand behind his or her staff. The two most important traits of a leader are to provide a good example for people to follow, and to build avenues of professional achievement for their employees."
Mr. William A. Lowe: "My personal philosophy of leadership is that all people are inherently good but crave recognition and challenge in their jobs. Officers have a duty to vary tasks and assignments because firefighters do not get in trouble when working, but rather when they are sitting around the fire station thinking about ways to fight boredom instead of fires. Personnel problems and morale problems can be minimized when officers invest in the subordinates education and career goals."
Back to Top
Mr. David W. Nichols: "My personal philosophy of leadership is that anyone who is placed in a leadership role carries a great responsibility to the "followers." Those that lead must ensure the safety and well being of their subordinates. Being granted the leadership role is a privilege, not a right. I consider my career position an honor to serve the citizens and the many volunteers that staff our individual agencies. I am continuously striving to improve myself as a person and as a professional. Only by attending current training can I maintain a current level of competency in today's emergency services field. Today's leaders require today's technology and expertise."
Ms. Cynthia L. Patterson: "I don't view a leadership position as just being the person at the top, but rather having the wisdom to use one's knowledge to set a good example for others to follow. The skills I have acquired on my squad will enable me to teach by example and encourage other younger members to learn what they too may accomplish. I think this will help to attract other younger members to our squad, all of which is necessary if we are to be able to continue to meet the growing needs of our community."
Back to Top
Mr. Vincent P. Mulray: "My basic philosophy of leadership is to use a form of contingency leadership that matches a style with the problem or situation at hand. With the employee being the most valuable resource that an employer has, it would be self defeating not to look for input from seasoned veterans or fresh ideas from the newer members."
Mr. Michael H. Gabelman: "Management begins with communication. Developing effective communication skills is my primary concern. The ability to motivate people toward goals achievement, the ability and knowledge to earn the trust of others, having foresight and vision toward the future, leading by example, fairness, tolerance and strong ethics in business and in my personal life are qualities that I strive to keep developing in order to have an impact on the the most important resource at our department, our personnel. In aiding their development, anything is possible for our department, our community, the personnel, my family, and me. Everyone wins."
Ms. Tori L. Jennings: "Leadership, in my opinion, is a service that encourages employees to succeed in their career, to gain confidence at job tasks, and achieve future career goals. Fundamental to the leadership equation is an individual who thoroughly understands him or herself. Good leaders place the needs of their employees first. By placing employees first, a good leader can create a safe, efficient, and professional work environment."
Mr. John Caufield: "I believe in a few simple concepts with regard to leadership. I like to lead by example when possible and appropriate. I firmly believe that a successful example provides confidence, and promotes motivation in others. As a leader, I try to encourage "my" firefighters/officers to offer their insight and opinions for my consideration. I recognize that no one person can solve all the problems in an organization, and therefore it is important to solicit different ideas from as many "good" sources as possible. I strongly believe in the concept of Total Quality Management (TMQ), particularly with regard to team building, and group problem solving. Whenever possible, I try to use the concept of empowerment and encourage my officers to do the same. Lastly, I do not endorse the idea that labor and management are, by definition, adversarial. I think that labor and management should work in conjunction toward common goals."
Back to Top
Ms. Elizabeth Dawkins: "Leadership is a critical skill for today's fire service professional. I have experienced many forms of leadership because the fire service offers much variety: from the progressive, personal motivation type leader to the older "let's not get excited until we see the whole picture" practical type leader. It is my personal goal to continue to incorporate, from these examples, the best of all that I have admired and to create my own view with a genuine concern for individuals and a commitment to solid management techniques. We must all do our part. Each of us committing to our own educated vision of leadership will naturally raise the standard of the organization as a whole and by extension raise the standard of the fire service profession."
Mr. Michael E. Crawford: "My basic feelings on leaders and leadership is that leaders need to develop the skills and talents of the personnel under them. By allowing subordinates to grow professionally, it allows employees to achieve greater satisfaction on the job, and to aspire to higher positions within the organization."
Mr. Todd R. Gorham: "Being a leader is a very difficult role to fill in the fire service. A leader must encompass a wide range of knowledge in fire safety operations, as well as in human and public relations. Because a leader has such a great responsibility in the fire department, I believe a good leader should never stop learning. It is also my philosophy that an operation works best when the people in the organization feel that their work is needed and appreciated."
Mr. Don Stangle: "Most importantly, I lead by example. My philosophy is to always have an open door and an open mind. My style when working on a project is to make it a team effort."
Back to Top
Mr. David Brent Fulmer: "I believe in setting the example for the others to follow and try to emulate and surpass. I believe that a leader should work with others in all aspects of the job. One has to fully understand what the job is, what the limitations are so his or her expectations are not so high that the goal is unreachable. I do however, expect the most. If I can strive to be the best and the people around me see that I practice as I preach, a positive atmosphere is created. I look after the ones who work for me because they get the job done and can make all the difference in the world."
Mr. George L. Thomas, IV: "My philosophy of leadership is that true exercise of authority entails caring for others' needs. Leaders must work with and for their staff, encouraging them to be the best they can be. This is accomplished in part when leaders work their way to the top from the bottom. Experience allows leaders to understand the position of the people working for them. Leadership is also enhanced by education."
Mr. Ronald D. Blackwell: "My philosophy is based on seven principles. Among those are the primary tenets to make others feel important, promote a vision, and admit mistakes. I believe that a combination of formal education and experience are essential for people in leadership positions."
Back to Top
Mr. Franklin R. Burke, Jr.: "Leadership to me is to set an example for the personnel under my supervision as well as those in the various associations I participate in. I need to set the example of caring and being dedicated to the furtherance of progressive, modern and efficient management and operation of an organization. I need to set this example by further educating myself continuously, formally and technically. In doing this I would hope to lead others to follow and hopefully surpass my goals to carry emergency services into the future."
Mr. Joseph P. McCool: "I believe that leadership is motivation. To effectively motivate is to serve as a role model for subordinates, and more importantly, to be used as a role model by peers and superiors. A role model must possess personal qualities, technical ability, and motivation of the highest levels. He always aspires to the next level in training, education, or position."
Mr. John G. Dahms: "My philosophy is simple. Share your vision, involve others and allow them to do their best. Plan and prepare for the future through continual improvement, seek opportunities and challenges that will develop and refine needed skills."
Back to Top
Mr. Russell Clark Mitchell: "My philosophy of leadership is TEAMWORK. I believe that all fellow employees, administration and labor have ideas to offer. Leadership is a skill which can be learned. Effective management and leadership can be accomplished through education and guidance of fellow employees."
Mr. Allen B. Clark, Jr.: "I believe in leading by example in a participatory setting whenever possible. There are instances, such as emergency response and command, that do not allow, or restrict this methodology. My organizations have always promoted and encouraged education, primarily because as Chief I made it a priority. My example of continuing my education while belonging to three departments, working full time and other interests can serve as a model that others can do so, to the benefit of all."
Mr. Mark Lee Martin: "My leadership philosophy can be summarized by the following: Be fair and honest with all people, do the very best at all times and in all ways, and treat people as you would want to be treated."
Back to Top
Mr. Marcus H. Billington: "My philosophy of leadership is the accomplishment of goals (vision) through others. It is the ability to help individuals or organizations surpass themselves and their abilities and to motivate them to exceed and succeed in their personal as well as the organizations goals. I believe a leader develops visions for his or her organization and a roadmap on how to get there. A leader views roadblocks only as hurdles and overcomes them and continues on and remains on course. A leader must get commitment on the visions with others in the organization so all travel the same road. The traits to be a leader are the same ones our friends from the Wizard of Oz went in search of: heart or compassion like the Tin Man; brains or wisdom like the Scarecrow; and, courage to make decisions like the Lion. And finally, like Dorothy, to have faith in yourself."
Mr. Bernard D. Dyer: "I have a simple philosophy of leadership: treat everybody as I would like to be treated, listen to your people, set the example, let subordinates make decisions, but be ready and willing to make the hard decisions. I don't know everything nor is my way the best way all the time, so I make sure I listen to someone else's ideas and suggestions. On the same token, I do realize that I have 19 years of experience in line and staff units so I may know a better way. However, it's important that I present this to my subordinates in a fashion that does not denigrate their confidence or enthusiasm. I encourage new ideas, I try to challenge people and I think they respond accordingly."
Mr. Kevin M. Taylor: "My personal philosophy of leadership involves creating an environment where the employee can excel. Although most emergency scenes require a military style of management, the rest of the job does not normally entail this. I believe that the employee who is able to participate in decision making and to manage entire "sections" of his or her job is happiest. I assign employees tasks, such as prefire inspection management, direction of pub-ed programs, and so on. I am available to assist as a resource, but they are given the freedom to "run with the ball."
Back to Top
Mr. Lance Denno: "An effective leader is a strong role model for his or her subordinates. He or she must possess specific skills; a comprehensive knowledge of the field is essential, but not sufficient. The effective leader must have the ability to inspire a shared vision of purpose, provide an environment which enables others to act effectively, demonstrate to others that their commitment can and does make a difference, and provide the emotional rewards that promote commitment and dedication. Finally, I sincerely believe that anyone who would be a skilled leader must first recognize his or her own limitations and be prepared to be an equally skilled follower."
Mr. Gary E. Pedigo: "I prefer a participatory style of management. In this organization a manager that cannot delegate quickly becomes overwhelmed. The involvement of as many of the personnel at all levels in the organization is imperative. Not only does this spread the work load, it enhances the morale of the organization."
Ms. Victoria Chames: "My philosophy of leadership is to develop and promote strong character traits as well as physical skills. Exercise always produces an increase in strength, and practice produces skill and confidence. Exercising self-discipline, responsibility, pride in accomplishment, dedication, and team loyalty, produces strength in these areas also. Some may have more natural ability, but all individuals have the potential. I see the development of that potential as an essential element of leadership. I believe that the best leaders are those who not only organize and motivate personnel, but also evoke their best efforts, ability, and desire in a continuing growth process. Any leader who is able to produce leaders is a strong leader. He or she has been given a special gift and has a responsibility to use it. Recognition is not an issue. Responsibility is."
Mr. Robert G. Stewart: "A leader, to me, is a tireless, take charge individual who strives for educational goals and then shares his or her experience with the newest member to the most senior members in such a way as to make every one a part of the total operational goal of the department."
Mr. Donald Lee Cox: "My basic philosophy of leadership is that it can be learned. Leadership is not something only a blessed few are born with, BUT it takes an effective educator to teach leadership. Leadership should be humanistic. Human Resource Development may be a buzz word but I sincerely believe it identifies the challenge that confronts us. There is much wasted talent in the world of Emergency Services and we need to cultivate that talent in order to make a difference. Leadership is finding the GOOD in everyone and then helping them to their BEST!"
Back to Top
Send questions or comments to YLD at: email@example.com