Norwood Park Fire Protection District Board of Trustees Announce Selection of New Fire Chief February 9, 2017

The Board of Trustees of the Norwood Park Fire Protection District are pleased to announce the selection of Terrence Vavra as the new fire chief for the District, effective February 13, 2017. The Board approved a 3-year contract at their special meeting held February 9, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

The Board of Trustees entered into an agreement with the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA) in September of 2016 to provide the search for the new fire chief after the announcement of the retirement of Chief Kevin Stenson, a 31-year member of the department. Chief Stenson had an exemplary career with the fire district having been promoted to Lieutenant in 1996, deputy chief in 2002 and fire chief in 2005.

From a field of sixteen applicants, eight candidates (comprised of candidates from inside and outside of the department) were selected by the Board of Trustees to participate in an Assessment Center evaluation by the IFCA, which was conducted on January 6, 2017. The IFCA presented a post-assessment report to the Trustees and they subsequently chose five finalists to participate in an oral interview with the Board on January 29, 2017. Chief Vavra was selected as the top candidate for the position.

Chief Vavra is very experienced senior officer having entered the fire service as a volunteer firefighter with the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District in 1976. Rising to the rank of Deputy Fire Chief, he managed a staff of 125 sworn and civilian personnel. During his career with Lisle-Woodridge, he was the Bureau Chief of Training and Safety and was instrumental in redesigning their internal training program. In 2008, Chief Vavra retired from the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District to assume the command position of Fire Chief for the Village of Buffalo Grove Fire Department. Buffalo Grove had 65 sworn and civilian personnel providing service to over 42,000 residents. Chief Vavra also served as the Village’s Emergency Management Coordinator during his career with Buffalo Grove. He retired from Buffalo Grove in February of 2015.

Chief Vavra has a Master’s Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Western Illinois University. He holds numerous Certifications from the Office of the State Fire Marshal including, Chief Fire Officer, Fire Department Safety Officer, Training Program Manager, as well as National Fire Academy certification in Command and Control. He is an active member in the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Illinois Fire Chiefs, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs and has served as a Board member of the Lake County Fire Chiefs Association, amongst others.

Chief Vavra has an extensive career that has been focused on training and leadership development, which was a strong attribute in the final selection by the Board of Trustees. He also has the diversity of responsibility having served in a fire district and municipal fire department. The Board is excited to have the opportunity to advance the professional development of the members of the fire district to meet the demands of providing high quality service to the residents of the district. The challenges in front of public safety today are much different than those of the past, and a renewed viewpoint will help the district in meeting the ever changing needs we face.

This is a new day in the history of the fire district and the Board of Trustees encourages everyone to provide a warm welcome to Chief Vavra, as we all work as a team together in our service to others.