About Us

Mission Statement

Inspire, teach, mentor, and coach firefighters and fire departments in leadership, team building, tactics, command, promotion and innovative ways of thinking that make the fire service more safe, fun and effective.
 

The Vision

The fire service has a growing leadership void that has reached pandemic proportions.  Due to this “Leadership Pandemic” we need strong, dynamic, selfless servant-leaders who know how to inspire individuals, build teams, plan for the future, and get replaced.

In addition, the era of experienced, salty fireground technicians has transitioned to a new generation of young officers who do not get the same level of experience and training as their forefathers.  They need training more than ever before.

We desire to help individuals and fire departments improve their leadership, tactical and team skills by throwing out cliché management jargon, theories, and boring traditional format.  We focus on telling it like it is, using real world experience and proven techniques that work, and are rarely found in textbooks.  The candor and interactive setting of the workshops compel the students to open up and be involved.  The workshops are as entertaining as they are informative.

Chief Anthony Kastros

Anthony (Andoni) Kastros is a 32-year veteran of the fire service and Battalion Chief with Sacramento Metro Fire District (ret). He brings a wide variety of experiences, a high level of energy and a sincere passion to his instruction.

He is author of the Fire Engineering book and video series, Mastering the Fire Service Assessment Center – 2nd Edition. The curriculum covers an extremely comprehensive scope of the knowledge, skills and abilities that span the dimensions of leadership, management, and emergency operations.  It is used widely throughout the United States for officer development.

Cynthia Kastros

Cynthia Kastros is the Operations Manager for FIRE. She is responsible for strategic planning, new program development, business modeling, and operations. She has an extensive recruitment background in the private sector and owned an executive recruitment firm in southern California. She transitioned to the public sector, where she held a position for the California Office of Education, recruiting teachers. Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Services, focusing on family and child development.

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Joe Castro

Chief Castro is a 38-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department. He retired from active service April 1, 2017.

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Brett Loomis

Brett Loomis has more than 30 years of fire service experience and is a lead instructor here at FIRE, LLC. 

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Chief Emon Usher

served 32 years in the fire service, beginning in 1988. He is a former member of Sacramento County Fire Protection District, Oakland Fire Department and the Richmond (CA) Fire Department.

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Stewart Roth

Stewart Roth has been a student of this great profession for over 35 years, starting his career as a Student Fire Fighter at age 16 with the Carmel Highlands Fire Protection District.

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Mike Kaslin

Mike Kaslin retired on May 1, 2017 from CAL FIRE as the Unit Chief after 30 years in the fire service.

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Kevin Wegener

Kevin Wegener began his fire service career in 1989 as a volunteer firefighter with the City of Colfax Fire Department and Firefighter One with Cal Fire.

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Dave Jeffries

Dave Jeffries is retired from the Novato Police Department and has over 30 years of law enforcement experience.

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John Wagner

John Wagner has been associated with the fire service for more than 35 years, starting his career as a Seasonal Fire Fighter at age 18 with Cal Fire in the Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit.

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Patrick J Ellis

Pat Ellis is a 35-year fire service veteran. He started in 1985 as a resident firefighter with the Citrus Heights Fire District and moved to serve the City of Hollister for two years.

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Tom Ottman

Tom Ottman is a retired Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Officer. He served 36 years with the LAFD.

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Robby Bergerson

Deputy Chief Robby Bergerson (Bergee) is an over 27-year veteran of the fire service and has spent the last 23-years with the City of Waco Fire Department.

Partner Organizations

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Chief Anthony Kastros

Anthony (Andoni) Kastros is a 32-year veteran of the fire service and Battalion Chief with Sacramento Metro Fire District (ret). He brings a wide variety of experiences, a high level of energy and a sincere passion to his instruction.
He is author of the Fire Engineering book and video series, Mastering the Fire Service Assessment Center – 2nd EditionThe curriculum covers an extremely comprehensive scope of the knowledge, skills and abilities that span the dimensions of leadership, management, and emergency operations.  It is used widely throughout the United States for officer development.
Also from Fire Engineering, Anthony authors the 3-part DVD series Mastering Fireground Command – Calm the Chaos! This series focuses on fireground strategy, tactics, and ICS using actual incidents, video and simulations. The series covers fires in houses, multi-occupancies, apartments and commercial buildings.
In addition, Kastros authored the video series, Mastering Unified Command – From Hometown to Homeland. The video is focused on bridging the gap between fire and law for a true unified response and command platform to face the “New Normal” that is prevalent in America today.  The video features many experts from around the United States, including former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta. Kastros is donating all proceeds from this video to fallen fire, police and military organizations.
Kastros is an FDIC-International and Firehouse World instructor, and was the Keynote Speaker at FDIC 2013 and is the recipient of the 2019 George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and Fire Engineering. Anthony hosts The Command Showa monthly blog radio show through Fire Engineering. Kastros teaches leadership/team building and strategy/tactics to firefighters throughout the United States. He has taught thousands of firefighters in leadership, officer development, command and tactics throughout America. As a USAR Team Manager with Sacramento Task Force 7, he deployed to Ground Zero on 9/11. Anthony spent 4 years with a Type 1 Incident Management Team, was the program manager for Metro Fire’s Command Training Center and began Metro Fire’s Rescue Company program. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Human Resource Management, an Associate’s of Science  in Fire Technology, and is a certified Fire Officer for California.
Anthony and Cynthia Kastros make their home in Carmel, California with their daughters Sophia and Aubrey. Their Faith in God is the center of their lives and drives their instruction and ministry.
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Cynthia Kastros

Cynthia Kastros is the Operations Manager for FIRE. She is responsible for strategic planning, new program development, business modeling, and operations. She has an extensive recruitment background in the private sector and owned an executive recruitment firm in southern California. She transitioned to the public sector, where she held a position for the California Office of Education, recruiting teachers. Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Services, focusing on family and child development.

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Joe Castro

Chief Castro is a 38-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department. He retired from active service April 1, 2017. Chief Castro’s last assignment was the Commander of Emergency Operations. Chief Castro’s command included 106 stations with over 3,000 personnel, and an annual operating budget of approx. $600 million dollars. This position is second in Command of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Emergency Services also is in Command of the Metropolitan Fire Communication Dispatch Center, Homeland Security Division, Air Operations, Arson-Counter Terrorism Section and the emergency resources that protect Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles.
Chief Castro has received his department’s highest honor, the LAFD Medal of Valor for bravery, and an EMMY award for his participation in a LAFD News television program.

Brett-Loomis

Brett Loomis

Brett Loomis has more than 30 years of fire service experience and is a lead instructor here at FIRE, LLC.  His fire service experience includes the positions of paid-call firefighter with the Pacific Grove (CA) Fire Department and firefighter/driver-operator, captain, battalion chief, and deputy fire chief of operations with the Salinas (CA) Fire Department.  His assignments in the fire service have included suppression, training, communications, public information, emergency management, and administration.

Chief Loomis holds a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University and a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration from Cogswell Polytechnical College.  He is a State of California certified chief officer, fire officer, and Master instructor.  Brett’s instructional experience includes incident command, strategy and tactics, leadership, and management.  He is also experienced in facilitating labor-management discussions and conflict resolution.  One of his favorite teaching assignments is helping fire service professionals prepare for the job with our Mastering the Fire Service Assessment Center class.

Chief Loomis is a qualified strike team leader and division-group supervisor.  He has been assigned to Operations Section Chief, Fire Branch Director, and Liaison Officer during emergency operating center activations.

One of Brett’s favorite quotes is from the author John Maxwell: “Success is when I add value to myself.  Significance is when I add value to others.”  When asked why, Chief Loomis said, “The highlight of my career has been the opportunity to mentor and coach those I work with and help them reach their full potential.  That is why I love working with the team here at FIRE, LLC.

Brett lives in Oregon with his wife of 25 years, Michelle.  They have two adult children, Max and Julia.  He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, playing golf, and reading.
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Chief Emon Usher

Chief Emon Usher (ret.) served 32 years in the fire service, beginning in 1988. He is a former member of Sacramento County Fire Protection District, Oakland Fire Department and the Richmond (CA) Fire Department. Chief Usher held the ranks of deputy fire chief, battalion chief, captain, lieutenant, engineer, firefighter-paramedic, firefighter, fire/EMS dispatcher and volunteer firefighter. He has served in the roles of operations chief, line battalion chief, training instructor, fire dispatch communications liaison officer and personnel/staffing officer. Chief Usher served 8 years as a member of the IAFF Local 55’s Executive Board, Health & Safety Committee, the negotiating team and served as the advisory board chairperson.  He is a certified chief officer by the California State Board of Fire Services.  He has completed executive management coursework from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business and Columbia Southern University. Chief Usher has written and been an assessor on countless assessment centers for company and chief officer ranks. His passion, experience and wisdom combine for a powerful teaching methodology.

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Stewart Roth

Stewart Roth has been a student of this great profession for over 35 years, starting his career as a Student Fire Fighter at age 16 with the Carmel Highlands Fire Protection District.  Since that time he has held positions of Fire Fighter in the Mid-Carmel Valley Fire Protection District and the City of Pacific Grove Fire Department.
He has worked his way up the ranks including Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief and retired as a Division Chief with Monterey Fire Department in charge of the B-Platoon.  While as a Division Chief, he spent 15 years in Training / Safety and Special Operations as both an Operations Chief for Monterey County US&R team and now as a Plans Team Manager and Safety Officer for California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 3.
Stew has been instructor with the Monterey Peninsula College Fire Science Program for over 30 years and coordinated their Fire Fighter 1 Academy for over 30 classes as well as lectures in their Chief Officer Command and Leadership Programs. He has administered and assessed countless promotional exams.  Stew has instructed with the “Nobody Gets Left Behind” Training Group since its inception.
In 2005 Stew was chosen as “Training Officer of the Year”, by the California State Fire Fighters Association for his creative training and influence in California’s Training Programs. Stew has an Associate Degree in Fire Science, a Bachelor Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
Additionally, he holds California Fire Instructor III and Chief Officer Certifications and was recently awarded his Chief Fire Officer Designee (CFOD) from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
Stewart makes his home in Carmel, CA with his wife Jamie and their three children.
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Mike Kaslin

Mike Kaslin retired on May 1, 2017 from CAL FIRE as the Unit Chief after 30 years in the fire service. His years of command experience have assured emergency resources, personnel, and equipment were trained, available, and ready to respond to fires and all-risk incidents. His assignments on CAL FIRE’s Incident Management Teams as Incident Commander and Operations Section Chief has developed positive working relationships with various groups, including political officials and governmental representatives at the federal, state, and local levels, cooperating agencies, media, landowners.

Mike was responsible for the Unit’s budget, personnel functions, staffing, performance, promotions, and safety. He also managed an emergency command center, Conservation Crew Camp and represented fire management at the State level.

Through out the years, Mike served in numerous other capacities. As the Fire Chief for the Cameron Park Fire Department, his assignment included administrative oversight for the Fire Department, budget forecast and preparation, department short and long range planning, and response(s) to emergencies. This detail also included Statewide Strike Team Leader and Operational Division Group Supervisor assignments.

Mike also served as the primary instructor for Structure Fire Training for the State of California. Details included instruction and coordination of academy training in all areas of fire service training. The extremely comprehensive training program at the California Fire Academy involved Rescue, Wildland Firefighting, and Fire Apparatus Operations.

As a paramedic since 1984, Mike represented the Department’s Emergency Medical Services and assisted with coordination of instruction and program compliance with the State EMS Authority. Mike started his fire service career in April of 1988 as a firefighter/paramedic for the City of Salinas Fire Department. Mike also served part-time as a helicopter flight medic for rescues. As a California State Peace Officer, he responded as needed for arson and other law enforcement details. Mike has a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

Mike is happily married to his wife Alison. They have been together for more than 32 years. They currently reside in Cameron Park, California. He has three children. His son Ben is an Engineer Paramedic for CAL FIRE in San Mateo County. His daughters, Jennifer and Sarah are college graduates. Jennifer has her Masters and is a high school teacher for Agriculture in Gridley California. Sarah has her Bachelors and works for Chico State Farms as an Agriculture specialist.
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Kevin Wegener

Kevin Wegener began his fire service career in 1989 as a volunteer firefighter with the City of Colfax Fire Department and Firefighter One with Cal Fire. In 1994 he was hired by the American River Fire Protection District, one of the two main organizations which merged in 2000 to form the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

At the same time Battalion Chief Wegener was pursuing his professional career he maintained his involvement with his local combination volunteer/paid fire department. He ended his 18 year career with that department in September of 2011, serving for 9 years as an Assistant Chief of Placer Hills Fire Protection District.

He currently works at Metro Fire as a Battalion Chief, Battalion 14 A-Shift.  Battalion Chief Wegener is a member of 2 IMTs, the Sacramento Regional Incident Management Team as an Operation Section Chief and the California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (a Federal Type 1 IMT) as a Division/Group Supervisor. He also serves on Metro’s Wildland and Truck Teams, Sacramento Operational Area California Incident Command Certification System (CICCS) Board, and is a Fire Academy Assistant Drill Instructor. He has an aviation background, serving five years as a Crew Chief and Flight Officer for Metro Fire’s all risk helicopter program.

Battalion Chief Wegener has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Administration from Columbia Southern University and an Associates of Science Degree in Fire Science from Sierra College. He obtained his EMT Paramedic in 1993 from Northern California Training Institute.

He makes his home in Meadow Vista, CA along with his wife of 18 years Shane, and their three daughters, Sidney, Klaire and Georgia.
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Dave Jeffries

Dave Jeffries is retired from the Novato Police Department and has over 30 years of law enforcement experience. Over the years, Dave has served in a variety of roles including as a Police Captain, commanding both the Services and Operations Divisions. Dave also served as his city’s Emergency Services Manager and is an Incident Commander on the North Bay Incident Management Team (Type III).
Dave holds a Master’s Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Dave is a Certified Emergency Manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers and a recipient of the Singer Award for outstanding first year emergency manager from the California Emergency Services Association’s (CESA) Coastal Chapter as well as the Fetz award for service to CESA. Dave is also serving on an advisory group to CalOES on EOC Credentialing. Dave is a recipient of his agency’s Medal of Merit.
Dave is a past President of the California Emergency Services Association. Dave is the owner of Jeffries Public Safety Consulting and his clients include municipal, special district, fire, school and transit agencies working on emergency management plans, training and exercises.
Dave has taught a number of subjects over the years, including Incident Management and is certified as an Advanced Instructor by California POST, is teaching as adjunct faculty with the Santa Rosa Junior College and is also an Outreach Instructor for the California Office of Emergency Services.
Dave has supervised a number of multi-agency investigations and enforcement operations as well as serving in a variety of ICS positions during field events. Dave has also supervised the development and operation of several field and emergency operations center exercises.
Dave has been involved in a number of multi-agency technology projects, including the Marin Emergency Radio Authority’s county-wide digital radio system, where he served on the original technical advisory committee, chair of the training committee and currently serves as the Deputy Executive Officer for the Next Gen System. He has also been involved in mobile computing, computer aided dispatch and automated records systems projects.
Dave has an adult son and makes his home in Sonoma County, California.

John Wagner

John Wagner has been associated with the fire service for more than 35 years, starting his career as a Seasonal Fire Fighter at age 18 with Cal Fire in the Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit.  Since that time he has held positions of Fire Fighter in the Columbia College FD, Rancho Cordova FD, Sacramento County FD and Sacramento Metropolitan FD.

He has worked his way up the ranks including Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief and retired as an Assistant Chief of Operations with Sacramento Metropolitan FD in charge of the C-Platoon.  During this time he was an academy drill instructor, shift Training Officer, detailed to State of California Homeland Security, Division Supervisor & Branch Director for a Type I Incident Management Team (CIIMT3), OPS for a Type III IMT and Training & Safety Chief.

John has been an instructor with the Los Rios College Fire Science Program with a credential in vocation education. He is a CA State Certified Chief Officer & Master Instructor, continuing to deliver instruction in Command and Control, Unified Command, Type III Incident Management Teams as well as Training Instructors.

In 2011 John was President of the CA Chiefs Training Officers Association.  He maintains involvement with the group as director at large, planning, assisting and instructing at the annual CA Training Symposium in Fresno.  John has an Associates & Bachelors Degree in Fire Science.

John makes his home in Pine Grove, CA with his wife Leanna.  They have two adult children, one working as a local veterinary technician and the youngest a lineman for a power company outside Austin TX.
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Patrick J Ellis

Pat Ellis is a 35-year fire service veteran. He started in 1985 as a resident firefighter with the Citrus Heights Fire District and moved to serve the City of Hollister for two years working in a small town at that time in a one-station department working collaboratively with the volunteer firefighter staff that supported the three paid staff on duty. In 1987 he returned to Citrus Heights as a firefighter/paramedic. Three mergers ensued, resulting in Sacramento Metro Fire in 2000. Pat was promoted to captain in 1992, serving on the line for an additional 8 years. In 2000, Pat was assigned as the public information officer for the newly formed Metro Fire. In 2005, he was promoted to battalion chief. In 2012, Chief Ellis was asked to serve in the fire prevention division. In 2014, he was appointed to assistant chief and spent the last two years of his career leading the five A shift battalion chiefs with oversight of 43 fire stations. Chief Ellis had program oversight of wildland operations, water rescue, OES liaison and liaison to the cities of Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights. He retired in 2016 to spend more time with his wife Kimberly and daughters Samantha 26, Ryan 7, and Taylor 5.

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Tom Ottman

Tom Ottman is a retired Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Officer. He served 36 years with the LAFD, holding ranks of firefighter, engineer, Captain I, Captain II, Battalion Chief, and ultimately Assistant Chief. Prior to joining the LAFD, Tom was a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation.
 
Chief Ottman has a strong field and administrative background. He was a Captain for 13 years and a Chief Officer for 15 years. He was assigned to many of the most active fire stations in the LAFD, as well as multiple challenging administrative assignments. 
 
Chief Ottman’s career was diverse and enabled him to gain knowledge in many aspects of the fire service, leading to expert proficiency that aided not only his career path, but all of the members who reported to him along the way. He developed and implemented the LAFD Risk Management Section; oversaw the LAFD Training Division; was in charge of the LAFD Communications Division/Emergency Operation Center and was the Department’s Safety Officer.
 
Chief Ottman has expertise in labor-management relations, statistical analysis, strategic planning, Incident Command, budget, liaison to public officials and management of Line of Duth Death Reports, to name just a few. 
 
Chief Ottman says the greatest obstacle facing the fire service today is the inability to accept change and the greatest satisfaction he can experience is helping members to become “change agents” as well as achieving their promotional dreams by making Captain. 
 
Chief Ottman has a Bachelor’s Degree and California State Teaching Credential from California State University, Northridge, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles.
 
Tom has been married to his wife Laurie for 41 years. The couple has three daughters and two granddaughters. They live in Murrieta, CA. 
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Robby Bergerson (Bergee)

Deputy Chief Robby Bergerson (Bergee) is an over 27-year veteran of the fire service and has spent the last 23-years with the City of Waco Fire Department. Chief Bergerson has also been an adjunct instructor at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas since 2009. He has earned a Master of Liberal Studies in Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, and an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Services Administration. He holds the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Executive Fire Officer (EFO) designation from the National Fire Academy and is a graduate of the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy. Chief Bergerson currently holds Master Firefighter, Master Aircraft Rescue Firefighter, Fire Officer IV, Fire Service Instructor III-Master, Incident Safety Officer, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Hazardous Materials Incident Commander certifications from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, as well as EMT certification from the Texas Department of State Health Services. He has served in every rank and has supervised every division, including lengthy assignments supervising both Operations and Training, and is active in interagency coordination at the State level for wildfire and disasters response. Chief Bergerson is also a published contributor to Fire Engineering Magazine. When not working, he can be found bumming around at fire service conferences from coast to coast where he continues to learn this craft.