Carl Holmes to Be Presented with 2016 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award

The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s Board of Directors selected Assistant Fire Chief Carl Holmes (Ret) as the recipient of the 2016 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. The presentation will take place at the 28th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on May 5th at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C.

During his career, Chief Holmes was deeply involved in mentoring fire officers throughout the nation, as well as advocating for modern and inclusive human resource management practices in fire departments. In 1991, he established the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI) to develop the management skills and leadership potential of African American firefighters. The concept of the program was born out of Chief Holmes’ personal experience and knowledge of what was needed to prepare African American firefighters for leadership positions. Now in its 25th year, EDI has graduated hundreds of students who eventually attained leadership positions in the fire service as Company Officers, Chief Officers, and Fire Chiefs as a result of training at EDI.

Chief Holmes began his career in the fire service in 1951 with the Oklahoma City (OK) Fire Department (OKFD). He was one of the department’s 12 initial African American firefighters hired. The group overcame many obstacles because of their race in rising through the ranks of the department. In 1981, following a 30-year career with OKCFD, he retired–but not until he achieved the rank of Assistant Fire Chief. A highly sought-after speaker and change agent, Chief Holmes has traveled across the country, delivering presentations at major fire service conferences and events. His message is always one of inclusiveness and effectiveness–and it is a positive message about creating opportunities for all firefighters to reach their full potential.

“The CFSI Board of Directors congratulates Chief Carl Holmes on being selected the recipient of the 2016 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award,” said Bill Jenaway, President of the Congressional Fire Service Institute. “This Award was established to recognize leadership in strengthening our nation’s fire and emergency services. Chief Holmes’ legacy has created opportunities for so many firefighters to reach their potentials in leadership, making the fire service a stronger profession. It is a legacy that should be forever embedded in the extraordinary history of the fire service. We look forward to honoring Chief Holmes on May 5th.”

“For more than 65 years, Chief Holmes has dedicated his life to the advancement of fire and life safety initiatives,” says Travis Boettcher, vice president of sales, Motorola Solutions. “He founded the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, which has built the management skills of more than 5,000 firefighters from across the U.S., Africa, Canada and the Caribbean. We are proud to recognize Chief Holmes with the 2016 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Award.” 

For additional information about the 2016 National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium/28th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner, visit the CFSI website at www.cfsi.org. This event benefits the mission of the Congressional Fire Services Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy organization designed to educate members of Congress about fire and life safety issues.

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