GEM Environmental would like to congratulate Savage Hess on his Undergraduate Scholarship Award. Savage is one of our newest hardworking recipients. Congratulations Savage!
How did you hear about G.E.M. Environmental and this scholarship opportunity?
Through a fellow lab member.
Please provide a brief description about yourself.
I am indigenous and queer undergraduate researcher who hopes to combine my love for ecology with the microscopic world. In my free time, I engage in lots of creative work like digital art and game design.
Please provide a brief description highlighting your work/area of focus.
I am currently researching the unknown world of viruses within coyotes. With the help of many others, I've collected hundreds of scat along the Rio Salado. A small portion of those scat were sampled and scanned for ssDNA viral genome segments. We then isolated and amplified those gene fragments with our personally designed primers.
From the results we've uncovered so far, a circovirus has been identified. This circovirus is likely an undiscovered species but is closely related to canine circovirus and bamboo rat circovirus. This relationship give us immense ecological insight and potentially a clue into disease outcomes for these urban coyotes.
How do you plan on using your scholarship funds and how do you anticipate you will achieve success?
I plan on using these funds to help pay for travel and registration at conferences. Attending this conference will enable me to make connections with other scientists active in my fields. This will help me retain a career in molecular ecology by letting others now I'm a serious and capable researcher that deserves opportunities. It will also give me experience presenting my research to a public audience. Communication of one's findings is a vital responsibility for all scientists. The more opportunities I receive to share my research, the more I will be able to explain it clearly and effectively.
Tell us what this scholarship means to you.
This scholarship means that I have an opportunity to be an indigenous person in the global stage of research and academia. There are few from my people who can claim such prestige and I hope that I can act as a become to young indigenous people every where. To be able to show that we can be equals in the western world.
Anything else you'd like to share about your work, yourself, or the STEM fields?
I design tabletop games as a hobby. It's another way I can represent my ancestors connection with story telling in this modern world.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SAVAGE HESS FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER: @savagehess
GEM Environmental is proud to welcome our newest team member Samantha Salazar! Samantha is our new GEM Corps AML Geographer's Assistant! Welcome to the team Samantha!
Samantha Salazar is originally from Arizona but now resides in Albuquerque, NM. Her interests include ecology, GIS, and conservation work. She values STEM education because it opens a world of wonder and imagination of our physical world.
Please provide a brief description highlighting your work/area of focus.
My area of focus is geography and GIS. My BS is in Geography/Environmental Studies and Evolutionary Anthropology. Which has shaped my focus on my area of work.
What do you plan to accomplish during your service term with GEM?
Samantha plans to accomplish learning about geography/geology fieldwork and the natural environment and applying her technical knowledge to better understand the natural world.
What are your career goals?
My career goals are to make an awareness of environmental security by becoming a NEPA Planner or a GIS specialist.
Do you plan to continue your education? If so, what programs or school are you looking into and what is the highest degree you plan to earn?
I am always looking for ways to further my knowledge in all things relating to environmental studies. If possible I would love to get a Ph.D. in environmental security or environmental policy.
Have you had any other internship or service opportunities before this? If so, how do you believe internships have benefited you so far?
I personally have never heard of an internship opportunity where I go out into the field and apply it to systems. I think this is a really great opportunity for Geography/Environmental studies students to get hands-on experience to understand physical data translation to geographic systems.
Anything else you'd like to share about your work, yourself, or the STEM fields?
One-touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
—William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SAMANTHA CLICK HERE.
Did you know that around 300 million years ago, Payson was part of the ocean!?! Geologists have learned this from the multiple limestone deposits that are still there. Fossils like corals, seashells and other remnants of sea creatures can still be found. There is a little area 13 miles east of Payson, near Kohl’s Ranch, called the Indian Gardens Paleo Site that is open to the public and free of charge! Check out our extended GEM family members Billy and Larissa Hinshaw as they take their mini-paleontologists Maelani and Kailee on a fun-filled adventure!
Here are a few tips and tricks to help your adventure run smoothly:
Bring water and food since there are no restaurants or food marts around.
Wear protective gear and clothes such as goggles, glasses, gloves, and knee pads, hats, closed shoes since it’s dangerous to dig and find fossils without them.
Help save the environment by not leaving your garbage.
Be there early since the parking may fill up quickly.
Bring some tools like brush, rock hammer, chisel, and screwdriver for a better digging experience!
Put on sunblock because you’ll be out there when the sun is high and you don’t want to get burnt.
Always be careful while walking or digging because some rocks may be sharp.
Brush off the dirt to clean the fossils you have collected. As much as possible, do not use water, because they could get mushy and crack in the future if you do so.
We hope you enjoyed sharing this experience and that it may encourage you to go explore our amazing state! Thank you to the Hinshaw Family for sharing this wonderful adventure!
Growing up in an active family, I was accustomed to being outdoors. My family played many different games on the trails and at the campgrounds. My parents used every opportunity to teach us how to thrive in the natural world. It wasn't until I was older that I understood that the depth and breadth of my outdoor experiences exceeded the average city dweller. Some parents find ways to sneak vegetables into their children's food; my parents found ways to sneak survival into our hikes and camping trips.
My favorite campground game was and still is "Gourd Ball," it is similar to bocce in that it is played with a "p," small rock or something that is the target. Instead of bocce balls, we would use gourds, and instead of a court, we would use the entire campground. Whoever was closest to the p would get to throw it for the next round; they could throw it anywhere they liked. Our games usually wound through the campground, twisting and turning through empty campsites and along the roadways. Eventually, we would find ourselves far away from camp, and it was up to us, the children, to successfully navigate our way back to camp. That game taught me to pay attention to my surroundings while still having fun. I still find myself noting landmarks, not just in front of me but also turning around and noting what boulders or snags I should look for on my way back.
We would play a game we called "G.I. Joe" on the hiking trails, based on our favorite Sunday morning cartoon, of course. Each person would pick their character to play, and we could come up with scenarios that required us to find solutions. A lot of the game motivated us to move faster on the trail and probably farther than we wanted to. When we stopped for lunch, we would run around and save the world from evildoers. At the end of it all, when we were tired and ready to collapse, we would end the game with our favorite tag line, "knowing is half the battle." Of course, that wouldn't be the end of it. We still had to hike back to the van.
With all the games my family played, I never knew there was a set of equipment called the 10 Essentials. It wasn't until I was older that I learned about the 10 Essentials, but ironically enough, I always had the ten packed. I remember the day that I felt a responsibility to trail safety. It was the day after a group of my friends, and I hiked a trail in Montecito. The trail went through a steep-walled canyon and ended at a dry waterfall. We used trees along the trail to pull ourselves up the most vertical sections. We laughed and played all the way up and down the trail, teasing each other and playing silly games.
The following day I read about a fatality on the trail; it happened the same day we were up there goofing off. Two high-school-aged kids were on the trail after sunset and got caught in the dark. Their cell phone flashlights were not enough. One was rescued the following day and sent to the hospital, and the other was recovered later that afternoon. My heart broke when I heard the news. I talked about it with one of the professors on campus, and we both decided we had to do what we could to impart some survival skills to the students who never had the opportunity to learn.
That was the day we started the "Adventure Club" at Ventura Community College. Our mission was to give outdoor skills and experience to students that previously lacked the opportunity. We set up weekly meetings for the club and invited everyone we knew. We let the members choose what they wanted to learn. We asked them to take turns researching and presenting survival skills and outdoor ethics to the club. And we organized monthly outings to give them a chance to practice what they learned. Through the Adventure Club, I first learned about the Ten Essentials and the many different ways to wrap an ankle. As with most small campus clubs, the Adventure Club has faded out of existence, but at least we helped a few students be better prepared for life's adventures.
This blog is an introduction to a series of blogs where I will be focusing on safety. In this series, I will be sharing safety kits from my friends and people I meet along the way. I will include the stories behind why they have certain items in their safety kits with the hope that by the end of this series you will be motivated to create your own trail safety kit. Pictures included with this blog are a sampling of safety kits that I came across over the holidays. I met a kind gentleman with an overland rig that was very happy to let me take pictures of the safety kit for his overland rig. My great friend Alicyn Gitlin was gracious enough to share her kit with me, and I’ve included my very small backpack basics kit. May your new year bring many fun adventures and safe returns.
We are proud to announce our newest recipient of the GEM for STEM Undergraduate Scholarship, John Iluno!
John is a senior student at Indiana Institute of Technology with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. His goal is to become a Mechanical Design Engineer and help build technologies that will help mitigate the environmental and health impact of air pollution and global warming. Technologies like electric vehicles, robotics, and electric airplanes are some of my primary interests.
Please provide a brief description highlighting your work/area of focus.
I participated in research at the Oak Ridge Laboratory. In this research, we mathematically and experimentally modeled the nonlinear response rate of dendrite formation in lithium-Ion batteries. Dendrites are one of the primary causes of short circuits in batteries—hence, they cause batteries to explode. Seeing that most all-electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries to store electrical energy and most automotive companies are transitioning from manufacturing internal combustion engine vehicles to all-electric vehicles, I feel opportune and grateful to be part of this research. Currently, my team and I are building a robot named MART for our senior project. MART is short for a Motor-driven Adaptable Rough Terrain robot. It is a wireless controlled rough-terrain robot that is capable of maneuvering through different terrains. It also has an inbuilt quadrupled compression coil spring legs design that can make continuous jumps of over four feet.
If your scholarship funds HAVE NOT BEEN USED yet, how do you anticipate you will achieve success?
Robots are popularly employed in different terrains for operations in forestry, agriculture, search and rescue, hazardous site inspections, and space exploration. However, there are not many lightweight all-terrain robots capable of maneuvering through varieties of obstacles (with relatively high altitudes). Hence, there is a need for developments in this field. Students and engineers from MIT, CalTech, Stanford University, and Boston Dynamics are actively working on this area of robotics, and now my school can join the race to develop the first agile all-terrain robot. My team and I will achieve success through diligence and hard work. By applying the knowledge and skills I gained in my academic and career pursuit, I can complete the MART project next semester.
Tell us what this scholarship means to you.
This scholarship means a lot to me because it will help relieve me from the financial stress of college expenses. I am a working student and this scholarship to pay by outstanding college expenses to graduate next semester (Spring 2022)
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JOHN ILUNO CHECK OUT HIS LINK.
Hello Adventurers, Welcome back to another edition of Annette's Adventures!
I am back working in the Cerrillos Hills, one of my favorite locations to work. This time, I am three gates deep into private property and loving every minute of my workday. Getting access to the area that I am working in requires coordinated access permission from multiple people. Once permission was granted and the keys were picked up, I drove out to scout the roads and plan my workdays. I know the road as far as the gates and a little ways past the last gate, but I have never been all the way out the road. My first mission was to see how far out the road I could drive. I drove out farther than I expected, but not as far as I had hoped. Once turned around and parked, I started traversing the hills, but I had forgotten to update the data on my GPS unit, so it was indeed just a scouting day.
I returned to Cerrillos Monday morning, ready and excited for a full day of work. My goal was to reach the top of the central mountain and record monitoring data on my way up. I started in the hills, moving up the mountain's eastern flank with each feature that I monitored. The day was still and peaceful. There was a slight breeze and a little nip in the air, but the sun was warm, and I quickly traded my thermal for my go-to field shirt.
I carefully picked my way through the cactus as I climbed the hillside. Each feature I came across was slightly higher than the last, and each time the slope flattened out, I would take a break from walking to enjoy the view. The higher I climbed, the steeper the terrain got and the closer the cactus grew together. At one point, I had to stop and ask myself if the risk was worth the reward. The slope was steep, the rocks were loose, and cactus carpeted my path. I continued to the top, knowing that there must be features at the top. There are always features at the top. My responsibility is to make sure that I check them for safety, regardless of how difficult they are to access.
I eventually reached the top of the mountain. The slight breeze that gently kept me cool in the lower elevations had turned into a full-blown wind. The temperature had dropped, and the sun was lower on the horizon than I had hoped it would be. But that was all ok because I made it to the top, and there really were mine features up there. I proceeded to the features, recorded their current state, took the required pictures, and then crept to the edge of the north slope to plan my route down.
I knew there were features below me, but I didn't know where. I knew that I didn't want to leave them for a future day, but I didn't know if I could safely reach them. I took a few minutes to prepare for my descent: I pulled my thermal on over my field shirt, studied the GPS unit, and tucked it into the back pocket of my vest. I pulled my gloves on and slowly started to make my way down the north flank of the mountain.
Thankfully my trajectory was spot on. I quickly saw the first of the 3 intended features; it was directly below me. Knowing that it is not safe to walk straight downhill to a feature, I changed my path and moved to the west before proceeding downhill. As with the climb up, I was making my way across loose rock through fields of cactus. I picked my way carefully and grabbed onto juniper branches when available to help ease my mind.
Once at the mine feature, I recorded my observations in the GPS unit and started to plan my route to the next and final feature of the day. The last and final feature of the day was a bit higher on the slope and somewhere east of my current position. I planned it that way to get that feature on my way back to the truck, but I was unaware of the slope conditions when I made my plan. No turning back now, and there is no way I wanted to climb back up at a later date, so I very carefully picked my way to the last mine feature of my day.
With the last feature completed, I had to make a decision. Do I make my way downhill and then cross the many hills to get back to the truck? Or, do I cross the slope and make my way down the eastern flank as previously planned? I decided to stay high on the hill, but I knew it would take decisive foot placement. I made my way to the east and then carefully downhill. Every step was a careful judgment call. Are there any loose rocks? Are there and cactus? Is the slope stable? Is it safe to stop there? All the while keeping an eye on my trajectory, I was aiming for a specific spot on the hill that would give me a more clear view of my route out. Once there, I again started down that slope, very carefully picking my way through the carpet of cactus. I was walking in the shadow of the mountain and would remain in the shadow for the rest of my hike out. I knew I wanted to get back to the truck with as much daylight left as possible. As the slope graduated from too steep to climb to a pleasant hill, I quickened my pace. I made it back to the truck at 4:54, three minutes before the official sunset, and quickly sent a text to HQ confirming my safe return.
What started as a blissful morning traversing the hills turned into a great accomplishment. Not only did I climb the mountain, but I did it safely and without injury. I started my day thinking thoughts of gratitude, specifically for such a peaceful day and for having a career that allows me moments of happiness in beautiful locations. I finished my day thankful for my skills and abilities and the gear and equipment that kept me safe. Every year on Thanksgiving, I ask everyone at the table to say what they are most thankful for. This year I am grateful for so much, I won't begin to list everything, but most of all, I am thankful for the support of the great folks at GEM Environmental. This has been a fantastic year, and I am looking forward to many more adventures and many more safe returns....
Welcome back to Annette's Adventures! While Annette has been on time and active with her adventures, I (Marlena- the editor) have been backed up and behind and I formally apologize for the delay! Without further ado, here is Annette's October Adventure...
Hello adventurers! Welcome to Annette’s Adventures.
I spent most of this last spring monitoring the Cerrillos Hills; I’ve tried not to bore you with all the details, but it is, by far, my favorite place to work. You can read about my introduction to Cerrillos Hills and AML monitoring in my blog from March.
Today I am going to take you back to Cerrillos Hills with the summer intern crew. GEM Corps arranged for the interns to meet with AML Administrators from State and Federal agencies in the Cerrillos Hills, for a walking-talking tour of mine closures.
Our day started at the State Park Headquarters in the village of Cerrillos. We met with the administrators and listened while they gave the group some background on Abandoned Mine Lands and the mine closure efforts in the Cerrillos Hills. From there, we went to a trailhead and walked to some closures in the state park. We started with one closure: an old mine shaft covered with wire mesh and a bridge that allows you to safely walk over the mine shaft. We talked about the anatomy of the mesh closures and the engineering behind them. Then we talked about what type of degradation to look for when monitoring closures. We walked to a second nearby closure, where we looked at how the mesh is anchored into the ground and looked for signs of degradation.
From those two closures, we walked back to our vehicles and drove to some harder-to-access closures. We visited some “puff closures,” backfills, and the second type of mesh closure. The administrators explained the engineering that goes into the different closures and the typical kinds of degradation at each closure type. They also told us some stories from their learning experiences in implementing the different types of closures.
The AML Administrators finished the tour by taking us to some of the oldest mine features in the area. We visited the Mina Del Tiro and Bethsheba mines on our way to the oldest known turquoise “pit” in the area, Mount Chalchihuitl (CHAL CHEE WEE TE). Mina Del Tiro is known as the oldest recorded metal mine in North America. Bethsheba’s claim to fame is that it is the most studied lead mine in North America. Both mines are remarkable for their age, depth, and history.
Of all the stops in the tour, Chalcihuitl was the only feature that I had not previously monitored. As such was a special surprise for me. My first impression of the diggings at Chalchihuitl was one of awe and reverence. For me, it was a humbling experience, the idea that this space was held in reverence for thousands of years and countless generations. I noticed that voices were a bit hushed, eyes were wide open, everyone stood around taking in the atmosphere. Our trip to the Cerrillos Hills didn’t last long. Still, the experience will last a lifetime. I’ll be working in the area this winter and look forward to exploring Chalchihuitl and the surrounding area more. Til next time, my friends and followers….
In honor of Veteran's Day, we would like to introduce our newest GEM Environmental STEM Scholarship, The 1st Annual Robert Graves Memorial Scholarship for Veterans in STEM. Andrina Shields, the mother of Robert Graves, has partnered with GEM to award a $1,500 scholarship to Veterans in STEM fields and to share Robbie’s story to help spread Veteran Suicide Awareness throughout our community.
Robert (Robbie) Graves was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the oldest child of Andrina Shields and Robert Graves, he has a younger sister Taylore, and four half siblings. Robbie was always the life of the party and could make anyone laugh. He really loved teasing his little sister. In Grade School he was the lead in many plays, especially when there was singing parts. In Junior High, he was on the wrestling team and started a garage band with the neighborhood kids, in which of course he was the lead singer. During High School he enjoyed the independence of working and having his own money. He saved enough money to buy his first car, which was a 1990 Jeep Wrangler. Robbie attended Greenway Highschool and graduated at a charter school in the area. After high school, Robbie joined the United States Air Force, and began his journey into adulthood.
At the age of 12, Robbie watched with his mother as the second plane hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. This is when he proclaimed that he would join the Military. He chose the United States Air Force to follow in his Father’s footsteps and chose the field of logistics. Robbie was stationed in Japan right out of basic training, this is where he met his future wife, she was also in the Air Force. He was deployed to Iraq in 2011, where he spent his 21st birthday. After this deployment, Robbie and his wife were stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota where he finished out his four years of service and decided not to re-enlist. During this time, Robbie became a father to his beautiful son, Michael, and worked very hard to become a Train Conductor for BNSF Railroad. Life seemed to be going great for the young family.
Soon after he started working for the railroad, Robbie and his wife divorced. He was having a very hard time transitioning to a life outside the Military and the couple could not make their relationship work any longer. After the divorce, Robbie seemed to be doing well. He had a wonderful relationship with his son, a great job, and he even purchased his first home. It was not until April 2017, when he was five years out of the Air Force, that Robbie started showing signs of PTSD. Robbie’s family was still in Arizona and the signs of self-medication, self-isolation, insomnia, and anger outbursts were not known until it was almost too late. After his family became aware of this, they were able to get him to Arizona with hopes of finding a treatment program.
This is when it was discovered that Robbie wasn’t on drugs or alcohol, he had nothing in his system. Robbie was diagnosed and suffering from Manic, Chronic, PTSD. With little knowledge of this condition, and few available resources, Robbie’s family worked hard to find support for his condition until the very end. On Memorial Day 2017, Robbie lost his battle to PTSD and died by suicide.
“Living a life without Robbie is a daily journey. There is a hole that will never be filled, and a heartbreak that will never heal. The devastation of losing someone to suicide is far greater than one could ever imagine. Families are left with guilt, judgement, and grief beyond comprehension. Suicide has a ripple effect and statistically, every suicide causes at least one other suicide. The stigma is so great and many times families are left very alone simply because others don’t know how to comprehend this type of grief. As a result, families feel isolated and grief stricken without much support. I believe the only way to move forward is to help others. By helping others and yourself, the grief somehow, with time, has meaning by honoring your loved one.”
- Andrina Shields, Mother of Robbie
Robbie’s careers in logistics, and the railroad, were both heavily impacted by STEM. Because of this, and to help Veterans who are transitioning out of the Military, Andrina felt this scholarship would be a wonderful way to honor Robbie’s life. To learn more, or to apply for this scholarship, click here. All applications will go through a review process and the award recipient will be chosen directly by Andrina Shields.
TO APPLY FOR THIS SCHOLARSHIP CLICK HERE.
TO DONATE DIRECTLY TO THE ROBERT GRAVES MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND CLICK HERE AND DESIGNATE TO THE ROBERT GRAVES FUND.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from PTSD or suicidal thoughts please reach out for help! Here is a list of many organizations that can offer assistance:
Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors T.A.P.S
Operation Restored Warrior
Combat Vet Vision
The Pipe Hitter Foundation – helping find justice for our brave men and women
PTSD Foundation of America – Weekly warrior groups for Combat Vets and Camp Hope
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hi, friends. Welcome to another edition of Annette’s Adventures. I’ve written a lot about my adventures in the field, exploring the rocks and mountains of New Mexico, but today I decided that I wanted to share an urban adventure with all of you.
Did you know that New Mexico is possibly home to the oldest apple tree in North America? Let’s start with a bit of history before I get into the adventures.
The Spanish arrived in New Mexico around 1598, but people were farming the middle Rio Grande Valley as early as 1200 – 1300 AD. Spanish Colonists established farms and ranches all along the Rio Grande and planted apples throughout the region. The Pueblo Revolt occurred in 1680 and drove the Spaniards out of the area until they returned in 1706 and established more permanent settlements. La Villa de Albuquerque became the administrative and trading center for the surrounding area. Agricultural settlements sprung up around the Villa; each settlement developed a unique community identity that still stands today.
The Manzano Mountains are a small, north-south trending mountain chain located approximately southwest of Albuquerque. In 1926, the Manzano Forest Reserve identified a tree near the Manzano Mountains that is believed to have been planted before 1676, making that the oldest apple tree in North America.
So, what does this apple history of New Mexico have to do with Annette’s Adventures? Everything!
My New Mexico harvesting adventures started this summer. I kept in trail-ready condition for fieldwork by hiking on the weekends. When it got hot, my friend and I started hiking in the Santa Fe Ski Basin; we could escape the heat and get some high elevation hikes in. One weekend a lady on the trail gave me two mushrooms. I took them to the field and shared them with the crew. They were delicious! After that, I was hooked. I took a basket and mushroom field guide to the mountains every weekend for a month straight. It is important to note that I only picked mushrooms that I could positively identify as bolete and sought out mushroom mentors whenever possible.
A friend recently introduced me to a local group of volunteers called Food Is Free ABQ (FIFABQ). We joined FIFABQ for a harvest at a micro-orchard in Los Ranchos. The orchard is considered original; it was repurposed as a central park for a small townhouse community. There are about 30 trees in this specific micro-orchard, most were apples, but there were also pear and Asian pear trees. In two hours, the group harvested roughly 2,400 pounds of fruit. The fruit gets distributed to local people who can use it. As a harvester, I came home with an unexpected grocery bag of apples. My first harvest was a blast, and I got apples too! No surprise that I would jump in and help with more harvests. The second harvest I joined was only two miles away from my house and was again an old established micro-orchard. FIFABQ is an all-around win when it comes to community service. Harvest season continues through November, and I look forward to volunteering with Food Is Free Albuquerque again
The adventure doesn’t stop there. The apple harvests is a great way to connect with and learn from locals. I made a small comment about how beautiful and tantalizing the prickly pears look, this led to me learning how to process the ruby red fruit. Filled with curiosity and armed with leather gloves, tongs, and paper bags; I harvested my first batch of prickly pears. My cupboards are filling with local harvest, who knows what fruit I will harvest next, but it will likely produce many tasty treats. Until next time my friends….
GEM Environmental is proud to welcome Dave Tharp to the team. Dave is the newest Board Member and a pillar of our community. Welcome aboard, Dave!
Dave has over 25 years of experience in the Firefighting and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Industry in Arizona – holding the ranks of Reserve Firefighter through Battalion Chief and is a certified Paramedic. He is currently the Assistant Chief of Administration for the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority and has overseen the “business part” of fire agencies (Human Resources, Finance and Administration) for the past 8 years. He managed the transition of the Central Yavapai and Chino Valley Fire Districts to create the first Joint Powers Authority in Arizona in 2016. He sits on the Board of Directors for Securis – a worker’s compensation risk pool for fire districts, and Kairos – a health insurance risk pool for town, cities, school districts and fire districts in Arizona. He is finalizing his degree in Fire Administration through Columbia Southern University, has 6 kids, loves to golf, was born in Hawaii and is fluent in Italian.
Dave understands and emphasizes the importance of STEM Curriculum in the fire service and has seen scientific advances make firefighting and emergency services more efficient, effective and safer. He notes, “firefighting used to be considered a “blue collar” profession – however, with all the presenting hazards in emergency medicine, chemical materials, swift water/ technical rescue, structural and wildland firefighting – this has changed and pushed this profession to be a technically trained, highly specialized and science driven profession. There is still a need for physical fitness and abilities in firefighting, but it is now coupled with higher education that focuses on STEM."