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Bell-Fennessy-1720x800-1In partnership with Pierce Manufacturing Inc., the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) announced the “IAFC Fire Chief of the Year 2023” honorees at Fire-Rescue International (FRI) in Kansas City, MO.

APPLETON, Wis. (August 16, 2023) Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) company, in partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), announced the 2023 IAFC Fire Chief of the Year honorees. Volunteer Fire Chief Thomas Bell of the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department in Pennsylvania, and Career Fire Chief Brian Fennessy of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) in California, have been named this year’s recipients.

Annually since 1996, the IAFC has honored both a volunteer and a career fire chief. Nominations for these awards are evaluated by a committee selected by the IAFC, focusing on chiefs who have notably contributed in areas of leadership, innovation, professional growth, integrity, and public service. The IAFC Fire Chief of the Year accolades were announced at the Fire-Rescue International (FRI) event in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 16.

“We are honored to celebrate the commitment and dedication of these outstanding fire service leaders,” said Bob Schulz, president of Pierce Manufacturing. “Chief Fennessy and Chief Bell are not just fire service professionals; they are community pillars and mentors for future generations. Pierce Manufacturing is proud to recognize their invaluable contributions.”

Volunteer Fire Chief Honoree – Thomas Bell, Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department (Pennsylvania) 

With over 30 years of dedicated fire service, Chief Thomas Bell is a hardworking and result-driven leader. Starting his journey as a junior firefighter and climbing through the ranks, Chief Bell took the helm during a pivotal period in the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department’s history. Under his leadership, the department underwent a transformation, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, skill, and core values.

Chief Bell's leadership style ushered in an era of reform, prioritizing the right skill sets for fire and rescue operations. Recognizing the need for change, he focused on developing and delivering comprehensive firefighter training, facilitating transparent after-action reviews, and cultivating a culture of continuous improvement.

One of his hallmark initiatives was the implementation of the 'Dignity Statement' policy, emphasizing mutual respect and intolerance for harassment and bullying. This policy, coupled with mandatory training, not only reinforced the department's core values but also resonated with the broader community.

Other notable accomplishments include:

  • Revitalized the Junior Firefighter Program, leading to exponential growth in program participation with young participants actively learning fire safety skills and inclusion of participants’ families, which fostered a renewed passion for service among older firefighters
  • Implemented various community and operational programs to enhance excellence, including:
    • Red X Program designed to let firefighters know a building has significant structural or interior hazards
    • Introduction of a rotating nightly Command Officer shift with skilled officers
    • Developed mandatory post-fire bunker gear laundry services for all responding firefighters
    • Mandatory radio command and protocol training, with hands-on skill set demonstrations
    • Officer training in sectoring practices, the use of 'CAN’ reports with interior firefighters, and command benchmarking
Career Fire Chief Honoree – Brian Fennessy, Orange County Fire Authority (California)

For nearly half a century, Chief Brian Fennessy has been a leader in fire service innovation. From his early days as a helitack captain and crew superintendent for the U.S. Forest Service to his esteemed roles as fire chief for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and, in the past five years, as chief for the OCFA, his impact has been profound. Fennessy’s contributions span diverse areas such as incident response, firefighter exposure, mental and behavioral health, diversity, equity, inclusion, and grant activity.

He recently secured substantial funding for projects like the Wildland Hand Crew Station and vegetation management initiatives. But one of his visionary projects, the Fire Integrated Real-Time Intelligence System (FIRIS), exemplifies his forward-thinking approach. Conceived in 2017, today’s FIRIS is a public-private partnership involving top-tier experts from various fields. The success of FIRIS is evident from the $30 million state funding it received last year, positioning it as a pivotal tool for wildfire intelligence in California.

Other notable accomplishments include:

  • Pioneered the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in partnership with Southern California Edison
  • QRF had 50 fire incidents in its first year and made more than 2,200 drops, using almost 3 million gallons of water and retardant
  • Introduced numerous initiatives at the OCFA under his leadership, including:
    • Hiring roles emphasizing diversity and behavioral health
    • Establishment of the annual Girls Empowerment Camp
    • Frontline service enhancements
  • Recognized as Fire Chief of the Year by the California Fire Chiefs Association
  • Named one of the nation’s "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers" by Government Technology magazine

With countless accomplishments, Chiefs Thomas Bell and Brian Fennessy stand out as exemplary leaders. Their dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to the fire departments and communities in which they serve make them deserving recipients of the 2023 IAFC Fire Chief of the Year award.

For more information about Pierce Manufacturing and the IAFC Fire Chief of the Year award, visit

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About Pierce Manufacturing
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] business, is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, mini pumpers, 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

About Oshkosh Corporation

At Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK), we make innovative, mission-critical equipment to help everyday heroes advance communities around the world. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Oshkosh Corporation employs approximately 17,000 team members worldwide, all united behind a common purpose: to make a difference in people’s lives. Oshkosh products can be found in more than 150 countries under the brands of JLG®, Hinowa, Power Towers, Pierce®, MAXIMETAL, Oshkosh® Defense, McNeilus®, IMT®, Jerr-Dan®, Frontline™ Communications, Oshkosh® Airport Products, Oshkosh AeroTech™ and Pratt Miller. For more information, visit

®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.

Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital expenditures, debt levels and cash flows, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “should,” “project” or “plan” or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include the Company's ability to successfully integrate the AeroTech acquisition and to realize the anticipated benefits associated with the same; the risks associated with international operations and sales, including compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act;  the Company’s ability to comply with complex laws and regulations applicable to U.S. government contractors; cybersecurity risks and costs of defending against, mitigating and responding to data security threats and breaches impacting the Company; the Company’s ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate other acquisitions and to realize the anticipated benefits associated with the same; and risks related to the Company’s ability to successfully execute on its strategic road map and meet its long-term financial goals. Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company assumes no obligation, and disclaims any obligation, to update information contained in this news release. Investors should be aware that the Company may not update such information until the Company’s next quarterly earnings conference call, if at all.

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