September 22, 2023

Brunacini Leadership Retreat draws engaging crowd

Danny Coker, left, Joe Maroni, Trey Lamb, standing, and Jeff McNeel discuss a case study during the Brunacini Leadership Retreat in Huntsville, Texas.

CSU and the Brunacini Leadership Institute welcomed 23 interactive firefighters and emergency service personnel to the Alan Brunacini Leadership Retreat held March 31 through April 3 at the Holiday Inn in Huntsville, Texas.

“It opened my mind to the different styles of leadership and helped me understand why people manage their fire departments differently,” said Alison Stein, chief arson investigator with the Houston Fire Department. She and others attending the “Hawaiian Shirt Boot Camp” enjoyed the educational and motivational seminar and discussed issues such as engine company staffing, personnel policies and procedures, firefighter safety, personnel investigations and effective behavioral management.

During the four-day event, roundtable discussions and presentations were led by fire chiefs Alan Brunacini, Billy D. Hayes, Dennis Rubin and Bruce Varner.

“These retreats are an excellent opportunity to engage current and future fire and emergency service leaders on critical thinking skills with a diverse blend of students and instructors. As an instructor, I learn from the students every time simply because they bring their own local style of how they handle problems in their organizations,” explained Hayes, who is also vice president of marketing and outreach for CSU.

And based on comments, the student attendees definitely learned much from Hayes and fellow panelists at the Brunacini Leadership Retreat.

“It gave me a hard copy format on how to approach any situation,” said Huntsville Fire Department’s Trey Lamb. He added that he enjoyed being able to have informed conversations with the panel of experts.

Jarred Blansett of the Haywood (Okla.) Fire Department concluded: “It’s given me a whole new perspective on the proper leadership skills.”

Retreat participants can boost their education with two continuing education units and/or three optional hours of CSU college credit upon successful completion of additional coursework. Registrants also received a complimentary Blue Card Command Certification Program 50-hour online course.

Although the next Brunacini Leadership Retreat, set in Alameda, Calif., on June 1-3 is sold out, another seminar will be held July 18-20. For more information, call 877-325-2863 or visit