Mark W. Light selected as IAFC Executive Director

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Board of Directors announces the selection of the association’s new executive director, Mark W. Light, MPA, CAE. A nation-wide search was conducted with the assistance of Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm and culminated in late May. “It soon became evident to us and the search firm from intensive vetting and interviewing, that the best person for this extremely important leadership position was Mark,” said Chief Jim Harmes, president of the IAFC.

Light has a 30-year fire service background and has been with the IAFC for the last six years. He began his career in the fire service as a volunteer paramedic and firefighter. He was hired by a large combination fire/EMS department, where he worked his way up through the ranks and was promoted to deputy chief. His operational fire/EMS career culminated when he became fire chief in a metro-sized career department. Additionally, he served as an elected board member and second vice president of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

Light has a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Tech. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program through the National Fire Academy and participated in Harvard University’s Harvard Fellowship Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. In 2006, he obtained his Certified Association Executive (CAE) credentials through the American Society of Association Executives.

In 2001, Light coordinated the September 11th emergency response for the IAFC, sending a team into New York on the night of the 11th and providing critical information to members of the association in the days and weeks following.

“I feel that my 30 years experience in the fire service and association management has been preparing me for this opportunity. I am extremely honored to be selected by our top fire service leaders to serve as the executive director of the IAFC, said Mark Light.

“The future of the IAFC is exciting, challenging, and unlimited. My role is to harness that excitement and tap into the collective wisdom, experience and perspective of the leaders of the fire service to take our association to the next level,” said Light.

Chief Steven Westermann of Blue Springs, Missouri will be sworn in as president of the IAFC in August. “As incoming president, I’m delighted with the selection and looking forward to the prospect of working with Mark and the vibrant future for the IAFC,” said Westermann.

“We are looking forward to continued success as we take the fire service into the 21st century,” said President Harmes. For more information about the International Association of Fire Chiefs, go to

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