This year at FDIC, I was a lone wolf. I guess that made me more mobile and I didn’t have to worry about the schedules of others. I only had ME to worry about and my nights there were shortened considerably.
I buy two shirts when I get to the Indiana Convention Center.
I always go to the Indianapolis FD Emerald Society booth and purchase their shirt, because the money is going to a great cause. It is an awesome group that provides a valuable, time-honored service that is such a part of the rich fire service heritage.
And I buy the “official” FDIC shirt from the “official” FDIC merchandise booth. There were other booths selling shirts to commemorate FDIC 2011, but they weren’t “official”. I accept no substitutes.
I couldn’t help but notice that excessive cleavage was missing this year. Oh; it dawns on me that the Fire Girls of Fire Girls calendar fame weren’t there.
However; the very tasteful America’s Female Firefighters calendar was there this year and some of the girls who posed were signing their calendars. Money from this calendar goes to sending juvenile burn survivors to burn camps, so I want to thank Andrea, Donna, Shawn, Emilie, Heidi, Jennifer, Cathy and Pam for signing my calendar and for taking the time to talk to me. They are beautiful women on many levels. Visit them at www.americasfemalefirefighters.com.
An up-tempo moment for me this year was seeing my buddy, Mike Kilburg of Country Club Hills Fire Department. Mike and I go back a ways on the discussion boards and became fast friends. He is an intelligent and committed public servant; one who is very passionate about his causes and I have the utmost respect for him and yes; sometimes we disagree, but it is respectful; which is why I love the guy!
It is those chance meetings that make FDIC such an outstanding conference. If you don’t see someone that you know at this conference, then you have lived under a rock.
Fire Engineering.com was giving away promotional shirts to kick off their new Training Blogs and National Fireman’s Journal Blogs. They were very spiffy long-sleeved T-shirts in a navy blue with white lettering. They were also giving away khaki colored ball caps with the National Fireman’s Journal logo on it. I got one of each, as I am blogging for the National Fireman’s Journal side, as I no longer have training skills. So, for the thousands of you who got the free shirt or hat from the Fire Engineering booth; you know now that it was a promotion to get you interested in the great blogs that are coming to www.fireengineering.com!
On Friday, I was staking out the FE booth where Bobby Halton and Erich Roden were to do their FDIC Wrap-Up for Fire Engineering Talk Radio. Erich was already there, but no Bobby. However; Ray McCormack stepped in and did a great job of interviewing such guests as Kevin Shea, Mike Gagliano, Jason Hoevelmann and John O’Donnell. As I listened to the show on my laptop, Chris Naum came over and we had a nice chat.
Every year, I get invited to vendor hospitality rooms, but I had so much going on this year that I was simply returning to my room and doing work. In addition, I bought Christopher Brennan’s (www.fireservicewarrior.com) new book from Pennwell entitled “The Combat Position”. I started reading it while I was waiting for the shuttle to the motel and when I got to my room, I continued to read it until I fell asleep.
The expansion and renovations that have been made to the Convention Center are amazing.
Now you don’t have to walk outside to get to Lucas Oil Stadium. You can get there from the Convention Center through an underground walkway. When you think about it; your hotel is connected to the Convention Center, parking is connected, restaurants are connected and now; Lucas is connected. You would never have to leave the complex. It’s all under one, huge roof!
Indianapolis could become the convention capital of the world with the facilities that they have built and expanded. Clearly, they “get it” where it comes to hosting guests in their city.
I have one complaint, though; construction. See; earlier I was lauding it, but it’s also a pain; especially right there on Capitol Ave at the Convention Center. But, have you been down Interstate 465 that goes towards the airport? I swear that they have been working on that road for over 10 years. It is my hope to see it finished in my lifetime!
I lied. I have one more complaint…
This dude back at the motel had his ringtone set as an activated PASS device. You know; that sound that you DON’T want to hear on the fire ground? He was having a lot of fun with it. Oh; but it didn’t end there. He also had an air horn and a siren for, I would guess, voicemail and text notification. I have a suggestion for his “missed call” notification, but kids might be reading this.
OK; cranky ChiefReason has left the building.
Just like the secret to soylent green in the movie “Soylent Green” starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson (in his last starring role); so it is with FDIC.
The secret is PEOPLE!
I love going there to see and to be in the throngs of people: instructors, speakers, authors, fire service legends and heroes, friends, strangers and of course; other bloggers and podcasters.
Check out this list of bloggers that I had an opportunity to chat with: Professor Mike Ward, Paul Combs, Chris Brennan, Chris Naum, Jason Hoevelmann, Chris Kaiser, April Saling, Rhett Fleitz and Willie Wines Jr. As an added plus, Paul Combs signed my copy of his book “Drawn by Fire” and Chris Brennan did likewise of my copy of his book “The Combat Position”. Thanks, guys.
I also got to talk with Rob Schnepp, Kevin Shea, Mike Gagliano, John O’Donnell, Dr. Mike McEvoy, Erich Roden, Bobby Halton; not to mention Shawn Longerich and Beth Kershner at the www.firesmoke.org booth. I also got to talk to Paul Conway (www.paulconwayshields.com), Chris Brown (www.thebravest.com) about his and Tim’s new venture “Emergency Stream” and Clint Bowring (www.thebowring.com), who has come out with an amazing firefighter tool.
I got to meet a couple of new friends in Mike Leuchtenberg and Gabe Angemi, but I also got to talk to some old friends like Jeff Morris (www.alexisfire.com), Mike Shull, Dean Peterson, Kevin Devlin, Steve Campbell and Gary Saline.
Peter Prichilo and Scott Nelson of www.fireengineering.com were available to talk about the new blogging platform that is coming to the website. They have been a great help to me as I continue to develop my blog at FE.com.
To wrap up the show, I spent some time with Erik Estrada, who played motorcycle police officer Frank (Ponch) Poncherello on the TV series “CHiPs”. It can still be found in cable land.
As I approached him, I asked Erik if he was still riding motorcycles and he said, “You bet!”
I asked him, “What kind?” He replied, “Everything”. And it reminded me that: the spirit of the wind and the freedom of the open road is all that matters.
Then, Erik told me that he was a member of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club (www.blueknights.org) and took out his wallet and proudly showed me his membership card. He still rides in support of his charities, particularly Safe Surfin’; a charity aimed towards keeping children safe on the internet. He is very committed to stopping internet crimes involving children.
As I was leaving him, he invited me to a motorcycle ride in Cleveland, OH on Saturday, May 7th. I asked him if he wears a helmet when he rides and he said, “Absolutely!”
So, if any of you firefighter bikers aren’t busy that day…
I have one more FDIC blog to do before I wrap things up. I found a most amazing tool that I believe is an absolute game changer. Be looking for it, but in the meantime, you can go to www.thebowring.com and check it out. I didn’t get one, but Chris Brennan did. I am anxious to hear from him.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, Art Goodrich, who also writes under the name ChiefReason. They do not reflect the views and opinions of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. Articles written by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form.