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FDIC 2017 My Story

Another FDIC has come and gone and what an FDIC it was! I have attended FDIC several times starting in 2001, I even attended the old FDIC East in Atlantic city twice. After going about 6-7 years in a row (I honestly lost count) I took last year off. I started to feel disenchanted with the conference. I read a lot of fire service articles and books, listen to podcasts, watch videos etc. When you are that plugged-in things can get a little repetitive, and spending a week away from the family and a lot of money does not seem as appealing so last year I took the year off. To be honest going this year was a last-minute thing even when my wife was accepted to teach and promote her book at book signings I still was on the fence about going, and didn’t register until about a month out. Even the days leading up to the conference when my mom who was supposed to be watching my kids, I offered to stay home and not go, to say I was not excited about going was a huge understatement.

Boy, was I wrong! After attending opening ceremonies, I was pumped! Then I attended the first classroom sessions of the conference as I am listening to Steve Kerber from UL talk about the top 20 considerations learned for the UL research, my brain starts moving, I am taking notes on my phone, I AM INSPIRED! It happened several more times that day, as I am walking back to my hotel with my wife and brother to drop stuff of before we head to dinner and the FOOLS Bash I told them both we cannot miss another one of these! I said this several more times that week, even after running to my gate to catch my connection home in the Charlotte airport I was thinking the trip was worth it.

You see I forgot what FDIC was, sure it is a place to learn the latest and greatest fire service techniques, review old ones, and see cutting edge technology. However, what it really is, is the chance to be surrounded by thousands of passionate firefighters who love the job and want nothing else but to be the best firefighters they can be. My wife said it best saying she could come to opening ceremonies and leave the conference and it would be worth the trip just from the inspiration. The experience of FDIC is more than just taking classes, it is about rediscovering, and reigniting your passion! I got to take some fantastic courses, and witness brotherhood in ways others only dream about. FDIC truly is the greatest firefighter conference in the world! How realistic is it for me to go to every one of them? I do not know, things happen but I can assure there will not be a year where I do not want to go ever again. If you have not gone you need to make the sacrifice, save the money, and GO!

I would also like to give a few special shout outs to phenomenal instructors and friends who made this conference one of the best ever.

Steve Kerber

Dennis LeGear

Jim Moss

Andy Starnes

Dan Kerrigan

John Dixon

John Haowyck

Rob Fling

Dennis Rubin

Chris Jett

Rhett Fleitz

Jonah Smith

Cory Perry

Paul Martin

Byron Burton

Ryan Pennington

Bobby Halton

Bobby Drake

My Wife Karen

My Brother Danny

(if I missed anyone I am sorry)

Each one of you whether you know it or not, even if we did not talk directly made this conference one to never forget. Thanks for your inspiration either from up close or afar.

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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