Past Recipients- IFCA Administrative Professional of the Year

In 2008, IFCA President Chief Joseph C. Holomy, with the approval of the Executive Board of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA), first established the status of IFCA Administrative Professional of the Year as an honorary title for Administrative Professionals within the Illinois Fire Service. This award is reserved for those individuals serving as Administrative Assistants, Executive Secretaries, Secretaries or Support Staff employed by  a  Fire  Department  or  Fire  Protection  District  in  the  state  of  Illinois  who  have  made  outstanding contributions to the fire service.

Below are past recipients of the IFCA Administrative Professional of the Year Award.

Robin Dubiel
Hanover Park Fire Department

2017 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

Described as a compassionate, persistent, and reliable individual as the cornerstones of her personality.  She is known as a dedicated and hardworking professional who consistently supports the mission of the village and is a fierce advocate for the Fire Department.

Joining the village as an employee first for Public Works in 1999 as an Administrative Assistant and later as Administrative Assistant to the Mayor and Village Manager, Mrs. Robin Dubiel was transferred to the Fire Department where she has served as the Chief’s Executive Assistant for the last 11 years.  Her responsibilities include working closely with Division Heads of operations, training, EMS, and fire prevention within the fire department but also with departments of Human Resources and Public Works.  She manages the publication of the Village’s Comprehensive Strategic Plan and further insures the documents usefulness by various departments and elected officials. 

During her tenure, Mrs. Dubiel served on numerous Village work groups and committees, to include the New World Systems transition software committee and currently serves on the Village’s Communications Committee.  She has served on the IFSAP Board as President, Vice President, and Director since 2013 and is a 2009 graduate of the Executive Support Program.  She has since been an Instructor in the program and has worked with several individuals over the years in obtaining their individual certification.  She has also become involved in “Camp I Am Me” burn camp.  She has participated in the 4 week on-scene rehab program at her fire department and went to IFSI to participate in hands on fire training drills.  and has attended the National Fire Academy for three separate courses specific to her position and level of responsibilities in 2007, 2009, and 2010.  She was instrumental in taking charge of the department achieving 100% participation in the National Fire Service Seat Belt Pledge Program in 2009.  She even has been instrumental in collecting money from the firefighters to give children in her community gifts for Christmas. 

With her church, Mrs. Dubiel has served as a greeter and host every other Wednesday night for 3 years in addition to Holiday services.  She served for 7 years on the Global Leadership Summit with over 150,000 attendee’s world-wide which was telecast live from a campus near Chicago.  She and her family even hosted a family from Thailand at their home for dinner to better understand challenges they face in their country.  For several years, she served as a blind music teacher’s aide for 7th & 8th graders assisting him with class schedules, assignments, and tests.  For 3 years, she mentored young women in junior high, interacting with them discussing various topics related to issues they were facing or dealing with.

In her spare time, Mrs. Dubiel donates handmade greeting cards to assisted living facilities in the area to be given to residents or for residents to give to each other – this as one of her many random acts of kindness.

Mrs. Robin Dubiel’s department awards include the Chiefs Commendation Ribbon, and Employee of the Year in 2008.  In one letter, it stated “her work is of such quality that I rarely make changes and often simply sign the documents and move on to my next task.  It’s often times that her final touches that make my work useful for the greater fire service”.  Another letter stated “she continually strives to improve herself as an individual and as a professional.  Her faith and belief system has an enduring strength that is admired” and a final comment was “I have found her to be trusting, knowledgeable, sincere, and most of all a great friend.  She is a very devoted person in the fire service, her personal life, and within her community”.

On behalf of the entire IFCA Administrative Professional of the Year Committee and the IFCA Executive Board, it is our honor to name Robin Dubiel of the Hanover Park Fire Department the 2017 Administrative Professional of the Year.

Laura Haiden
Glenside Fire Protection District

2016 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

A few remarks in letters received in Laura Haiden’s nomination: “One of the most amazing aspects of her skill set is her gift for doing it all with a smile, along with a friendly, positive, and enthusiastic attitude”. “Her own pride is evident not only in the work she does but also in her dedication to being an active advocate for the fire service as a whole”.  And finally, Her knowledge, experience, dedication and never ending desire to reach out to others and share of herself clearly describes her as an Administrative Professional”.

Jacque McLaughlin
Channahon Fire Protection District

2015 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

As stated by her Fire Chief John Petrakis, "Jacque is the individual I will often look to as a counterpart in some of my decisions because of her vast amount of experience and perspective. She is an integral part of our team. If it is as simple as a small snafu in the office or a major issue that requires immediate attention, Ms. McLaughlin's attitude is simply, "We will work through this together and make it right." She understands and is motivated by the knowledge that her reliability as an Executive Manager for the Channahon FPD is a critical component in our ability to provide a great service to the community."

Joan Buzzard
Effingham FD

2014 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

As stated by Chief Joseph Holomy:

Mrs. Buzzard's work ethic and dedication is one that every Fire Chief hopes to have in "their sixth bugle" during their career. Joan is the individual who is dependable, an attitude with a professional twist, and the respect of her peers who she values. Regardless if the challenge is related to the Fire Department, Emergency Management, MABAS, IFSAP, or the result of a special project, Joan has always given beyond what could be expected, spending many after hours of her own time to meet the expectations. She is always willing to assist many of the neighboring Fire Chiefs, all of which are volunteer, with various documents or reports that they may need or have limited time to complete.

Janice Gumprecht
Bartlett FPD

2013 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

Chief Mike Falese of the Bartlett FPD stated it best when he described Janice Gumprecht:

"When performance excellence is measured, Janice's work could be used as the example. She pays attention to detail, forecasts effectively and communicates tremendously with all the different groups and individuals in the organization. She communicates equally as effective with outside agencies, including everyone from the different committees of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, the Illinois Fire District Association, and the Northern Alliance of Fire Protection Districts. Her work for me, both in the fire district as well as with fire departments across the state, has been exemplary. She has worked effectively with dozens of chiefs, elected officials, and organizational leaders. She represents the work and integrity of the Bartlett Fire District in a most stellar manner."

Lisa Alfaro
Oak Forest FD

2012 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

Whether it's on a local or state level, Administrative Assistant Lisa Alfaro is known for keeping everyone on the right track. Described as a truly dedicated professional in everything she does – Ms. Alfaro has exhibited the true spirit of what an fire service administrative professional should be. Besides her duties at the Oak Forest Fire Department, Lisa serves as the Administrative Assistant for MABAS Division 24 and has been instrumental in redeveloping its' training academy, photo unit, and has contributed to the establishment of the Division's Chaplains Corps, Safety Officers, and Incident Support Services.

Ms. Alfaro has also served her community in various capacities within other organizations that include: the Oak Forest Firefighters Pension Fund, the Oak Forest Fire and Police Commission, the Oak Forest Firefighters Union Local 3039, the Southwest United Fire Districts Training Academy, the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA), the Illinois Fire Service Administrative Professionals (IFSAP), and the Interrelated Cooperative Education and Part-Time Program.

Diane Michalec
Romeoville FD

2011 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

Known for her meticulous organizational skills, professionalism, and work ethic that goes over and above, she is highly respected by not only Fire Department staff but also every Department Head in the Village and the entire Village Board and Mayor.

In one letter, the words Dedicated, Involved, Attitude, Notable, and Excellence described the qualities that contribute personally and professionally to her success. Ironically, those words spell the name Diane. No matter what the task, large or small, personal or business, family or friends, she is known to give 100 percent of herself.

(Top L to R) Chief Joe Holomy, Chief Don Markowski, Chief Tim Sashko (Bottom L to R) Chief Pat Kenny (RET), IFCA President Chief Ralph Webster, Chief Mike Falese

Sue Huiner
Homer Township FPD

2010 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

"Described as having a special talent for public relations and recognized by many not-for-profit organizations, charities, and fire service organizations for taking on new challenges with high energy and enthusiasm, she has become a person of inspiration among her peers."

Kathy Adams, IFCA President Chief Tim Sashko

Kathy Adams
Lisle-Woodridge FPD

2009 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

"Letters from every President in the last ten years of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Secretaries Association, now the Illinois Fire Service Administrative Professionals (IFSAP), serve as testimony to the respect and recognition she has garnered during her career."

Chief Dan Hermes, Kathleen Haage, Chief Joe Holomy
Kathleen Haage
Deerfield Bannockburn FPD

2008 Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
Administrative Professional of the Year

On December 1, at the “first” Annual Awards Luncheon held in Oak Brook, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA) President Chief Joseph C. Holomy and IFCA Past President Chief Dan Hermes presented the “first” IFCA Administrative Professional of the Year Award to Kathleen J. Haage, Administrative Manager of the Deerfield Bannockburn FPD.

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