Fire Chief of the Year honouree – Marshall Turbeville

Chief Turbeville_Volunteer

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), in partnership with Pierce Manufacturing Inc., announced the 2022 IAFC Fire Chief of the Year honorees. Volunteer Fire Chief, Marshall Turbeville, of the Northern Sonoma FPD in Sonoma County, California, and career Fire Chief, Gary Ludwig, of the Champaign Fire Department in Champaign, Illinois, have been named this year’s honorees. 

The IAFC began recognizing one volunteer and one career Fire Chief of the Year in 1996. A selection committee appointed by the IAFC reviewed nominations for active chiefs of departments who have shown exemplary contributions in the areas of leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, public service, and contributions to the fire service. The annual “IAFC Fire Chief of the Year” awards were presented at Fire-Rescue International (FRI) in San Antonio, Texas on August 24. 

“It is always an honour to recognize the brave men and women who have dedicated so much to their communities through the fire service, and as the sponsor of the IAFC Fire Chief of the Year Awards, we always look forward to announcing the honorees.” said Jim Johnson, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Fire & Emergency. “Chief Turbeville and Chief Ludwig have shown exceptional leadership for their departments, particularly through the difficulties of the past several years, and personify the qualities of professionals and mentors for those throughout the fire service. On behalf of the Pierce Manufacturing team, I’d like to extend our gratitude for their dedication, and congratulate them on a well-deserved honor.” 

Volunteer Fire Chief Honoree – Marshall Turbeville, Northern Sonoma FPD (Sonoma County, California) 

Chief Marshall Turbeville joined the Geyserville Volunteer Fire Company as a firefighter in 1995 while enrolled as an undergraduate at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, California. From 1995 to 2000 he managed a full class schedule, a Cal Fire seasonal firefighter position and being an active Geyserville volunteer firefighter. In 1998 he received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering then earned a B.S. degree in forestry in the spring of 2000. He joined Cal Fire in the summer of 2022 Volunteer and Career Fire Chiefs of the Year Announced by IAFC, in partnership with Pierce 2000, quickly being promoted to Engineer, then Captain, and in 2009 was appointed Battalion Chief. During these years he continued to be an active volunteer firefighter, teacher, and leader for the GVFC. In 2013, the GFPD board asked him to assume the duties of Fire Chief. 

Chief Turbeville led his community’s response to the devastating wildfires in California over the last several years, including the Tubbs, Pocket, Kincade, and Wallbridge fires. These events not only caused widespread damage and destruction, but they also triggered significant emotional and psychological trauma within the community and the fire department. After frontline experience fighting these fires, Chief Turbeville determined the status quo response to the firestorms was inadequate and worked with his community to develop new strategies focused on prevention, preparedness, and appropriate mitigation methods to save future life, property, and the environment. 

Some of his most notable accomplishments include: 

  • Implementation of vegetation mitigation measures and community preparedness planning, including the formation of Northern Sonoma COPE (Communities Organized to Prepare for Emergencies) 
  • Leader for community awareness programs including community fire awareness signs, preattack maps, Community Wildfire Protection Plans, Firewise designation, evacuation planning/drills, education (prescribed burning, grazing, generator use, defensible space, home hardening, etc.), community chipper days, and improved resident-fire agency communication 
  • 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Award NASF/IAFC/NFPA/USFS 
  • 2022 Harmon Heald Award Healdsburg Forever Foundation 

Through his unwavering commitment to his community and dedication to his work, Chief Turbeville exemplifies the standards exhibited by a Fire Chief of the Year.

For more news updates, check out our July/August issue here.

Media contact

Editor, International Fire Buyer

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922


Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss new updates on your email