Former fire chief heads up new college program
Former Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Chief Iby George joined the Athens Technical College faculty July 1 as chair of the new Fire Science Technology program that will begin this fall at the Walton County Campus of the college.
The Fire Science Technology program will provide area fire fighters a mechanism to help them earn promotions. The program will offer an associate degree, but for firefighters who don’t necessarily want a degree, the program also will provide specific training through diplomas and embedded technical certificates of credit (TCCs).
Chief George, who also has experience in teaching at community colleges, will serve as an instructor in the new program. He said he is excited about his new position.
“I’m looking forward to it, and I think the program will be beneficial to the service area of the college,” Chief George said. “I’m fortunate enough to have worked in community colleges in Virginia and North Carolina where I taught courses in their fire science programs.”
The fire service veteran has been involved in the firefighting field for more than 40 years; he began his career in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1972 as that community began developing its first career firefighting force.
“I was hired as one of the first 37 firefighters that Virginia Beach hired,” he recalled.
Chief George worked in Virginia Beach for more than 29 years. He worked in various positions, including fire inspector, investigator, captain, and battalion chief. He retired from the Virginia Beach Fire Department in 2002 as division chief.
For the next two and a half years, he served as a deputy fire chief in Carrboro, North Carolina before accepting the job of fire and emergency service chief in Athens in 2004.
Chief George said that nearly two years ago he began considering retiring from his job as chief. When Glenn Henry, the dean of Life Sciences at Athens Technical College and the administrator who oversees the Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic Technology programs at the college, began developing plans for the Fire Science Technology program, he contacted Chief George for the chief’s input on the curriculum for the proposed program. Once the program was developed and approved, Chief George decided to apply for the full-time position as program chair. After being selected to lead the program, Chief George retired and joined the ATC faculty.
Starting out, Chief George said he will concentrate on getting his bearings and recruiting students.
“Learning who’s who and what’s what are two things you need to know to be successful,” he said. “Also, my first job is recruiting students. We have two courses ready and instructors ready to start.”
Chief George said area volunteer fire departments would be ideal places to look for prospective students, because volunteers still have to serve as administrators.
Fire Science Technology classes will be held on the Walton County Campus in the evenings this fall and are expected to last 2 ½- to 3-hours each. Area firefighting professionals, including Chief George, Morgan County Fire Chief Mark Melvin, Walton County Fire Rescue Training Division Battalion Chief Jon Marsh, and Gwinnett County Fire Department firefighter J.W. Thaxton, will serve as instructors. The program will offer at least two courses this fall: FRSC 1100 Introduction to the Fire Service, and FRSC 1110 Fire Administration — Supervision and Leadership.
For more information about the Fire Science Technology program, contact Chief George at firstname.lastname@example.org.