Instructor Biographies

Rob Backer
Rob Backer is a 17-year veteran of the fire service and currently serves as a Captain with Thornton Fire Department in Thornton, Colorado.  As the owner and lead instructor of First Due Intelligence, llc, he has taught with Dave Dodson to assume responsibility for continuing the instruction of his popular program "The Art of Reading Smoke" nationwide, in addition to classes on size-up.

Chris Boyer
Bio Forthcoming

Tom Cole
Tom Cole is the Deputy Chief of Fire Operations for the Goodyear Fire Department. He is a native Arizonan whose career started in 1994 with the Glendale (AZ) Fire Department and he has been with Goodyear since 2013. Tom has been a paramedic since 1997 and served as firefighter, fire captain, battalion chief, and deputy chief. Tom has a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University, and the designation of Certified Public Manager from Arizona State University.

Bryan Duquin, Jr.
Bryan Duquin, Jr. EMT is an Education and Training Specialist for VFIS, a subsidiary of the Glatfelter Insurance Group, responsible for the national delivery of educational and training programs, curriculum development, and information analysis.  Duquin is an active Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and volunteer Firefighter in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Currently, he serves as an Assistant Fire Chief in an all-volunteer organization where he has been a member for 15+ years. Duquin comes with experience in education and has taught Fire and EMS personnel all over South Central Pennsylvania as a Fire & EMS educator with various educational institutes and the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy as a local level Instructor. Duquin has held many ranks in both the Fire and EMS industries, including an operations chief for a rural EMS organization and several ranks within the fire service on both the operational and administrative sides of the volunteer fire department.

Mark Emery
After 40-years of service, Mark Emery recently retired as the Fire Chief at East Valley Fire Department in Yakima County, WA. Mark self-published the ITAC Strategic Development manual, and has published numerous articles for Firehouse magazine, FireRescue magazine, and for the FDSOA Health and Safety Newsletter. Mark is co-developer of the Integrated Tacti­cal Accountability System (ITAC), and creator of the popular ITAC Command Competency Clinic. Chief Emery was selected as the 2015 George D. Post Instructor of the Year at FDIC, and serves as the Region 10 Director of the National Fire Academy Alumni Association.

Scott Harrison

Scott Harrison brings with him over 46 years of experience, education, and knowledge in all aspects of the fire sprinkler industry.

This includes estimating, design, service, project and branch management as well as inspection, product development, forensic investigation, sales and technical consulting.  He holds a BA Degree in Communications and Business from San Diego State University and is a U.S. Army Veteran.

Scott is the National/International FlameGuard CPVC Technical Specialist for Spears Manufacturing and provides technical consulting and training to architects, engineers, AHJs, designers, contractors and end-users internationally who use the FlameGuard CPVC Fire Sprinkler Products.

Scott Holman
Scott Holman is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and a current full-time Fire Captain/Paramedic at Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District with 30 years in the Fire/EMS industry. Scott is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Red Line Safety Inc. incorporated on 9/11/2018 and dedicated to developing advanced, next-generation technology for the first responder community.

Scott holds an A.S. & B.S. degree in Fire Administration from Columbia Southern University. Additionally, Scott has spent the past 30 years attending 45 advanced fire service courses from the California State Fire Marshal’s Office, IAFC, NWCG and Cal Fire.

Driven by an innovative spirit, Scott has spent the better part of his fire service career pursuing new ways of providing service to include starting a Type II hand crew at Metro Fire, the creation of a fire service drone (UAV) program, serving as a member of his departments EMS CQI Committee, President of his labor unions “Steering Committee” and being the co-creator & instructor of Metro Fires Leadership Program that involves the L-280, L-380 & L-381 curriculum.

Scott believes in the guiding principles of servant leadership that in order to lead, one must be willing to serve. Red Line Safety Inc was created to serve the first responder community.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing” - Theodore Roosevelt

Anthony (Andoni) Kastros
Anthony (Andoni) Kastros is a 33-year veteran of the fire service and Battalion Chief with Sacramento Metro Fire District (ret). He is author of the Fire Engineering book and video series, Mastering the Fire Service Assessment Center – 2nd Edition. It is used widely throughout the United States for officer development. Also, from Fire Engineering, Anthony authors the 3-part DVD series Mastering Fireground Command – Calm the Chaos! This series focuses on fireground strategy, tactics, and ICS using actual incidents, video, and simulations. In addition, Kastros authored the video series, Mastering Unified Command – From Hometown to Homeland. The video is focused on bridging the gap between fire and law for a true unified response and command platform to face the “New Normal” that is prevalent in America today. The video features many experts from around the United States, including former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Kastros is an FDIC-International and Firehouse World instructor, was the Keynote Speaker at FDIC 2013 and is the recipient of the 2019 George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and Fire Engineering. Anthony hosts The Command Show, a monthly blog radio show through Fire Engineering. As a USAR Team Manager with Sacramento Task Force 7, he deployed to Ground Zero on 9/11. Anthony spent 4 years with a Type 1 Incident Management Team.

Through, our cadre of instructors has taught thousands of firefighters from around the world in leadership, team building, officer development, command, tactics, strategic planning, and mergers. Anthony’s faith and family are the most important things in his life.

David Ladd
David Ladd has been involved in Fire Service/Hazardous Materials instruction for the past 17 years.  He has worked as an author, lead instructor, course developer, and subject matter expert in chemistry & toxicology for the National Fire Academy, ATEC, College of Southern Nevada, and Hazmat IQ© by federal resources.  He has co authored curriculum for the National Fire Academies R247 ALS Response to Hazardous Materials Incident, and was the lead developer and instructor of Hazmat IQ’s Tox-Medic © program.

David has also authored response protocols to various CBRNE, Hazardous Materials/WMD incidents and tox-medic programs.  He has both instructed and lectured to LE and Fire/EMS departments and has lectured at various conferences across the United States.


David Lind

Dave retired in 2013 from the North Shore Fire Department in Wisconsin after spending over 17 years as their Fire Marshal. Dave was responsible for day-to-day fire inspections, ensuring all company inspections were completed on time, part of the fire investigation team, plans review and municipal code enforcement activities. The North Shore is a consolidated department made up of 7 different communities and their respective governing bodies.

Dave was an active member of several fire service organizations. He is a Past President of the Wisconsin Fire Inspectors Association and Past Executive Board member of the International Fire Marshals Association. Dave served as a representative on several State and National Fire Service related committees and groups. He served as a Principal Member on many NFPA Technical Committees.

Dave was certified by the State of Wisconsin as a Fire Inspector, Commercial Building Inspector, Residential Building Inspector, Plumbing Inspector and Electrical Inspector.  Dave served for 13 years as a Building Code Official before joining the Fire Service.  Dave held certifications from NFPA as a Certified Fire Protection Specialist, Certified Plans Examiner and as a Subject Matter Expert on the test and credentialing committee.


Jeff Meston

Jeff Meston is the current Executive Director of the California State Firefighters Association and a past President of the California Fire Chiefs Association.  He is a 43 year plus veteran of the fire service working for the City of Madera Fire Department and serving as Fire Chief in both the Novato Fire District and the City of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.  He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration, is a California Certified Fire Chief & National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer.  He has served as President of the Marin County Fire Chiefs Associations and Lake Tahoe Regional Fire Chiefs Associations.  Meston has served as a course developer and instructor at the National Fire Academy and the California Fire Service Training and Education System. 

Meston recently retired and has served as the Acting City Manager for South Lake Tahoe as well as its fire chief.  Meston also served on the Board of Directors for FIRESCOPE, representing City’s North. He currently is assigned as a Deputy Chief working for CalOES Fire/Rescue as a liaison between the Emergency Medical Service Authority and CalOES Fire/Rescue during the COVID19 pandemic and principal author of the State of California’s Blue Ribbon Fire Commission Report to the Governor, 2021 all-risk update.


Ines Pearce

Ines Pearce is a global thought leader and executive with decades of executive level experience in developing and implementing disaster resiliency programs, public-private partnerships and planning strategies to promote business continuity and community risk reduction. She has worked with countries, major cities and national organizations around the world, bringing in resources, planning and strategies to businesses, governments, schools, nonprofit organizations, and communities. Her expertise in resilience best practices has brought her to the UN as a sought after and repeat speaker.

She is a Senior Advisor to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, directing: National Disaster Help Desk for Business - facilitating 13 years of disaster recovery including: COVID-19, hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. She is a Senior Advisor to the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science & Society; Instrumental Leader in The Great ShakeOut, an annual public drill, outreach campaign and event that reached over 29 million participants globally in 2020; President of the Contingency Planners and Recovery Managers (CPARM); Immediate past President of the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW); CEO of Pearce Global Partners Inc., a full-service firm addressing the needs of all sectors and communities in reducing potential loss/damage from disasters; and, President of the Disaster Resistant Business (DRB) Toolkit Workgroup, a 501(c)(3) non-profit developing simple, disaster-planning and resilience tools which increase the capacity of small to medium-sized businesses and non-profits to plan, survive & recover from all-hazards.

Steven Peavey

Steven Peavey retired from the City of Altamonte Springs Florida after spending over 38 years in the fire service. Up until his retirement, in June of 2016, he had spent the past 21 years as the Deputy Fire Marshal in Altamonte Springs where he was responsible for all of day to day fire inspection, investigation, plans review and city code enforcement activities.


Steve has been an active member of several fire service organizations. He is a Past President of both the International Fire Marshals Association and the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association. Steve has served as a representative on several other State and National Fire Service related committees and groups. He served as a Principal Member to the NFPA 101 Assembly Occupancy Technical Committee from 2003 – 2016 and in 2008 he served as part of the original Forum for the development of Visions 20/20 National Strategies for Fire Loss Prevention.


Steve is certified by the State of Florida as a Fire Inspector and Fire Code Administrator. He also served for 36 years as an EMT and 13 years as a Certified Law Enforcement Officer. Steve currently holds certifications from NFPA as a Certified Fire Protection Specialist and is also Certified as a Fire Marshal by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications.


Steve currently serves as Part-Time On-Call Senior Professional in the Orange County Fire Department Office of the Fire Marshals and a Consultant to FLASH, Federal Alliance for Safe Home, QuakeSmart Program.

Randy Perlis
Randy Perlis, speaker for the course, has a master’s degree in analytical chemistry with 30+ years in hazardous materials and environmental chemistry and has been a hazardous materials instructor since 1986. He was an EPA START contractor and on the Hazardous Materials Regional Response Team for 25+ years. He has developed several techniques to rapidly assess the chemical, biological, and radiological hazards at response sites utilizing several reliable screening techniques. He has assisted many companies and schools in options for chemical management including disposal options.

Steve Prziborowski
Deputy Fire Chief, Santa Clara County Fire Department, CA

Steve Prziborowski has over 28 years of fire service experience, currently serving as a Deputy Chief for the Santa Clara County (Los Gatos, CA) Fire Department, an adjunct faculty  member for the Chabot College (Hayward, CA) Fire Technology Program and a contract instructor for the National Fire Academy (Emmitsburg, MD). 


Steve recently received the 2020 Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Legacy Award from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) and in 2008 was named the California Fire Instructor of the year. Steve recently completed a five-year stint as an Executive Board Member for the California Fire Chiefs Association and is a Former President of the Northern California Training Officers Association. He is a state-certified Chief Officer and Master Instructor, has earned a Master’s degree in Emergency Services Administration, has completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy, and has received Chief Fire Officer and Chief Training Officer Designation through the Commission on Professional Credentialing.


Steve is a regular speaker at fire service events and departments, having presented or scheduled over 400 sessions in 33 states. He has authored and contributed to over 200 articles, podcasts, videos, blogs and books in the leading fire service publications. He has published three career development books: “Reach for the Firefighter Badge,” “The Future Firefighter’s Preparation Guide,” and “How to Excel at Fire Department Promotional Exams,” with a fourth book being finalized at the publisher, “101 Tips to Assist you on your Next Promotional Exam,” and a fifth book “Courage Under Fire Leadership” that is also being finalized.


Steve has mentored and assisted countless personnel get hired as well as get promoted to all ranks within the fire service, up to and including Fire Chief. He has a sincere passion for helping others meet and exceed their career and personal goals, as well as helping others get hired, stay hired, get promoted, stay promoted, and ultimately be the best they can be for those they are fortunate to lead and serve! For more information please visit his website at


Derek Reid
Derek Reid is the President and Founder of the NNPSN. He is a career Fire Captain with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and has served in the fire and EMS industry for 25 years. Derek spent his first six years in EMS as a paramedic on an ALS ambulance with REMSA. Derek began his fire career in 1999 at Central Lyon County Fire Protection District and took advantageof further career opportunities with the Nevada Division of Forestry, Sierra Fire Protection District, and Reno FireDepartment.  He has been an educator with Truckee Meadows Community College and serves as an Instructor / Facilitator for the Phi Theta Kappa International Public Safety Leadership & Ethics Institute.

Derek spearheaded the first comprehensive mental health wellness program for Truckee Meadows Fire. As founder and lead for their Peer Support Team, he was instrumental in starting the Chaplain program and on-boarding of Truckee Meadows Fire's first licensed psychologist. In addition, he is the former Water Entry Special Team leader, and Instructor for the Officer Development School at Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.  Derek is also published / co-contributor of Fire Standards through the Nevada Department of Education.  Derek's vision is to build unity within the first responder.

Ray Reynolds

Ray Reynolds currently serves as the Director of Fire and EMS for the City of Nevada.  He oversees fire department operations and serves as a sworn peace officer within the Nevada Public Safety Department.

Ray raised awareness of a statewide fire prevention message while serving as the State Fire Marshal for Iowa between the years 2010 and 2013.  Ray developed a state-wide smoke alarm installation program within Iowa that was responsible for over 50,000 smoke alarms being installed in homes throughout Iowa.   He will continue to implement community risk reduction programs within the City of Nevada.

Ray began his law enforcement service as a reserve deputy sheriff in 1987, and became a full-time municipal police officer in Mount Vernon, Iowa in 1988.  Ray served as a police officer and Crime Scene Technician for the City of Iowa City from 1991-1996.  He has been a member of the fire service since 1986, and held certifications as a fire inspector I, firefighter II, firefighter I, paramedic, bomb technician, hazardous materials technician, fire investigator I, and is a certified public manager (CPM).  Ray works part time as a paramedic/firefighter for the Bondurant Fire Department and has served on six different volunteer/combination fire departments in the last 25 years. 

Ray joined the State Fire Marshal's Office in 1996, and was detailed to the State of Iowa Intelligence Fusion Center in 2006, where he has been assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).  Ray has received extensive specialized training in terrorism, intelligence, informants, explosives, and other topics, and he has headed up two major cases within the JTTF during his tenure at the Des Moines FBI Office. 

Ray served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross Central Iowa Chapter.  In July of 2015 he was elected to the prestigious Fire and Life Safety Section board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.    

Ray is a 22 year veteran with the Iowa Army National Guard serving in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 and retired a Sergeant First Class E7 with an Honorable Discharge.

Steven Shepard, Ph.D.

Dr. Steven Shepard is the founder of the Shepard Communications Group in Williston, Vermont, co-founder of the Executive Crash Course Company, and founder of Shepard Images. A professional author, photographer, audio producer, and educator with more than 35 years of experience in the technology industry, he has written books and articles on a wide variety of topics, including technology, business, biographies, history, photography, children’s stories, storytelling, wildlife recording and fiction. His published books number 84 and counting.


Steve is the creator and host of the Natural Curiosity Podcast, which is devoted to the discovery of the joy and wonder of the natural world and based on the idea that curiosity leads to discovery, discovery leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to insight, and insight leads to understanding. It’s available on iTunes, or on SoundCloud.


Dr. Shepard received his undergraduate degree in Spanish and Romance Philology from the University of California at Berkeley (1976), his Master’s Degree in International Business from St. Mary's College (1985), and his PhD at the Da Vinci Institute in Rivonia, South Africa (2009). He spent eleven years with Pacific Bell in San Francisco in a variety of capacities followed by ten years with Hill Associates in Colchester, Vermont before forming the Shepard Communications Group in early 2000. 


In addition to his work with a wide range of industries, Steve works extensively in the education sector. He is a Senior Fellow of the Da Vinci Institute of South Africa; Adjunct Professor in the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business; a Founding Director of the African Telecoms Institute; and an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees of Champlain College. He was the Resident Director of the University of Southern California’s Executive Leadership and Advanced Management Programs for more than 25 years, and is adjunct professor at Emory University, the University of Vermont, and the Ivey School in London, Ontario, among others. 


Dr. Shepard specializes in international issues in technology strategy, with an emphasis on the social, geopolitical, economic, and competitive implications of technological change. He has written and directed more than 40 videos and films, and written and produced technical presentations, white papers, Podcasts, speeches, and articles on a broad range of topics for companies and organizations worldwide. He has written, recorded, and photographed in more than 90 countries, serving clients across many different industries including telecommunications, IT, media, advertising, healthcare, transportation, government, software development, education, professional services, NGOs, venture capital, and regulatory.


Thanks to a childhood spent in Spain, Steve is native fluent in Spanish and routinely publishes and delivers presentations in that language.  He lives in Vermont with his wife Sabine, who has put up with him for more than 40 years.

Justin Smith

Justin Smith lives in Casper, Wyoming where he enjoyed a 20-year career with Casper Fire-EMS.  His career began in Operations Division where he reached the rank of Captain.  Looking for a new challenge, Smith transferred to the Prevention Division where he became enthralled with Community Risk Reduction.  Smith holds numerous certifications including Certified Fire Marshal, Certified Building Official, and Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS).  Smith began a brief career as a Code Consultant before becoming the Building Official for Natrona County in Wyoming.


He loves to spend time outdoors with his dog Crash and friends.  Justin feels that networking is the cornerstone to successful prevention efforts in today’s world and feels very lucky to have made friends with so many incredible people committed to providing for their community’s health and safety.

Dean Sparaco
Dean leads PACT’s Public Safety Design practice out of our Denver office. He is a nationally renowned thought leader on Public Safety Design and frequent guest speaker on the topic of Health and Wellness in the Fire and Police Service. He has a passion for sustainable design and construction that is reflected in the body of work that he has carefully crafted over the last 25 years. Dean has extensive experience in Public Safety, Health Care/Senior Living, Multi Family, Town Planning and Urban Design and has studied under, worked with and learned from some world renowned planners, authors and architects. This employment history has afforded Dean with extensive Design, Administration and Construction Management experience on a wide variety of projects.

Dean is a life long Fly Fisherman and outdoorsman. A former college athlete, two of Dean’s children have followed suit and play at the collegiate level. Dean is heavily involved in youth sports, coaching Football and Baseball.

An admitted Bibliophile, Dean has the largest collection of romance novels west of the Mississippi

Bill Steward
Bio is forthcoming  

Chris Stewart
Bio is forthcoming  

Paul Strong
Paul Strong entered the fire service in 1990 and is a Battalion Chief with the Valley Regional Fire Authority in King County Washington. Paul has been an educator in the public and private sectors for over 25 years. He has served as a training officer, medical program specialist, hazmat technician, and a rope/dive rescue technician. He is also an adjunct instructor for the Washington State Fire Training Academy as well as the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.  Paul’s focus in education is providing energetic programs that keep the audience engaged through interactive participation and thought-provoking delivery. Paul has well over two decades of delivering effectual classroom and conference programs to police, fire, and EMS personnel as well as private business leaders and industry workforce.

Bob Sullivan
Bob Sullivan is the Southwest Regional Director for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  Mr. Sullivan has over 31 years of experience serving on fire departments in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Colorado, including several years at the rank of Lieutenant. Prior to coming to NFPA, he served on the Thornton Fire Department in Colorado as the Senior Fire Protection Engineer and Deputy Fire Marshal, focusing on new development construction and fire code enforcement. Previously, Mr. Sullivan worked for National Foam Inc./Kidde Firefighting USA and Industrial Risk Insurers. He has a Master's Degree in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist.

Paul Sullivan
Paul Sullivan is Fire Chief of the Weber Fire District. He has 40 years of combined Fire and EMS experience, including 21 years with the Chandler, Arizona Fire Department, where he retired at the rank of Battalion Chief.  He has been a certified emergency paramedic for 38 years, currently holding certifications in Utah and Arizona. Paul has been a fire service instructor for 28 years, teaching command, WMD, truck company operations, leadership, and other topics. Paul has an Associates in Fire Science, a Bachelors in Public Safety Administration, and a Masters of Administration from Northern Arizona University.

Kevin Ward
Kevin Ward has been the fire chief for the Layton City (UT) Fire Department since 2004. Prior to his appointment, Chief Ward served 24 years with the Chandler (AZ) Fire Department, retiring as a battalion chief. He has served as an officer for over 36 years of his career.  While in Chandler, Ward served as a training officer, public information officer, hazardous materials team coordinator, wildland fire program coordinator, administrative battalion chief, and emergency medical services (EMS) division chief.  Prior to his promotion to battalion chief, Ward spent 18 years as a captain/paramedic on both engine and ladder companies. Chief Ward has achieved qualifications through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group as an engine boss, strike team and task force leader, structure protection specialist, and Type 3 incident commander. He has been an instructor for the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy Command Training Center since its inception. Chief Ward currently serves as Vice President of the Utah Fire Chiefs Association and chairs the Utah Fire Officer Designation Program.


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