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Chief jona receives Volunteer Fire Chief of the year award!
Check out the Award Press Release and jona's Acceptance Speach

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Fire chiefs from New Mexico, Georgia departments to receive awards during national conference in Denver

Chicago (August 1, 2012)  Fire Chief magazine, part of Penton Media’s Public Infrastructure Group, today named Chief Kelvin J. Cochran of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department in Atlanta and Chief Jona Olsson of the Latir Volunteer Fire Department in Questa, N.M., as the recipients of the 2012 Fire Chief of the Year Awards.

The winners will be honored on Friday, Aug. 3, during the opening session of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Fire-Rescue International Conference and Exhibition in Denver.

“Chief Jona Olsson and Chief Kelvin Cochran are excellent examples of the dedication and leadership required of fire chiefs today,” Fire Chief Associate Publisher Janet Wilmoth said. “They represent many hard-working, committed leaders of fire departments across North America.”

“We are very pleased with this year’s response to the call for nominations for the Chief of the Year Award,” said Wilmoth. “The level of commitment and professionalism required to lead a fire and emergency response department is a challenge in the world we live in today.”

The Chief of the Year Awards are presented to one career fire chief and one volunteer chief each year for dedication and leadership in fire and emergency services. This is the 17th year of the awards program, sponsored by Pierce Manufacturing Inc.

2012 Career Fire Chief of the YearFire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department in Atlanta, Ga.

Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran has enjoyed a 31-year career in the emergency services. He began as a firefighter in Shreveport, La., and eventually became that department’s chief. He served as the U.S. Fire Administrator in Washington, D.C., and currently is serving his second stint as the fire chief in Atlanta, Ga.

Cochran was appointed by President Obama in 2009 to serve as U.S. Fire Administrator. There he directed administrative and operational activities of 620 career and contract staff of the U.S. Fire Administration, a directorate within the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In Atlanta, Cochran is responsible for planning and administration of a $74 million budget. He directs operations of a 980-member accredited Fire Rescue Department (comprised of 35 fire stations with 3 shifts and 6 battalions) that provides fire, rescue, and emergency medical services. He was responsible for collaboration of homeland security and emergency preparedness initiatives between the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (AFCEMA). 

Cochran has a degree in Organizational Management (Bachelor of Science) from Wiley College in Marshall, Tex., and a degree in Industrial Organization Psychology (Master of Science) from Louisiana Tech University, Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, La. Chief Cochran is community oriented and serves on and supports numerous non-profit organizations, including the Shreveport Firefighters Museum, the Norwella Council Boy Scouts of America, Volunteers of America, the Salvation Army, the American Society for Training & Development, and the Alliance for Education.

2012 Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year – Jona Olsson of the Latir Volunteer Fire Department in Questa, N.M.

Jona Olsson began her career in the fire service in 1999 as a volunteer with the Latir Volunteer Fire Department. She rose through the ranks, serving as training officer, deputy chief, and finally fire and EMS chief for the department in 2006. Olsson also is the founder and director of Cultural Bridges to Justice, which provides social-justice workshops and programs for non-profits and communities. She has facilitated training to individual departments and fire conferences across North America, as well as the United Kingdom.

Even during tough economic times, Olsson has continued to expand her department, increasing both training hours and the number of qualified personnel. She wrote and received more than $350,000 in federal and state grants. All 18 of Latir’s firefighters are structure trained, 13 are qualified with wildland Red Cards, and nine have EMS licenses. Olsson has developed and strengthened an active Junior Firefighter program that has nurtured firefighters for Latir, as well as for other departments.

Olsson is currently chair of the Enchanted Circle Regional Fire Association, and serves as a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Volunteer/Combination Officers Section, serves on the IAFC Human Relations Committee, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Women in Fire & Emergency Services, the Taos Community Foundation– LGBT Advisory Council, and the Anti-Racism Educators/Organizers National Network.

About Fire Chief Magazine

Established in 1956, Fire Chief is the magazine for progressive fire service leaders. Articles by fire officers from across the country and worldwide cover a wide variety of important areas to today's fire service leaders. In addition, a monthly lineup of departments provides even more information, in a quick, accessible format. Fire Chief’s monthly readers include chief officers, with a sizable contingent of incident commanders, training officers, safety officers, and other titles and ranks. Issue content and more information on the publication can be found at

About Pierce Manufacturing

Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, minipumpers, elliptical tankers, and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce frontal airbags and the Side Roll Protection system to fire apparatus. To learn more about Pierce, visit