Texas A&M Engineering TEEX Extension Service

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Leadership Insight
2023 Symposium Registration is Now Open!
2023 Leadership Symposium promo video

Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center exterior

Symposium Information

January 9-11, 2023
Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center 
Frisco, Texas

No Admission Fee for Texas Emergency Response Personnel.
$150 for out-of-state attendees.

hotel bedroom

Reserve your Room

A special symposium room rate is available at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center.

Book your room now! The blocks typically fill up fast.


Register for the Symposium
Hotel Reservations

If you have any questions about registration or hotels please contact:

Email: Emily.Peterson@teex.tamu.edu

Phone: 979-500-6814

Who Should Attend?

The TEEX Leadership Development Symposium focuses on leadership skills and knowledge for the emergency response career field. The event has transformed over the years to include anyone and everyone regardless of his or her chosen career.

Leadership is an intangible, immeasurable skills-set that is needed and required in all walks of life regardless of your position or role. An individual’s leadership skill(s) must continue to evolve and grow in order to remain successful, both professionally and personally regardless if they are a Firefighter, Nurse, Law Enforcement Officer, Parent, or Administrative Assistant.

Attend the 2023 TEEX Leadership Development Symposium and build upon your leadership skills and knowledge for your continued success!

Leadership Perspectives
My Thoughts on Leadership - James Purdom headshot

James Purdom, LP, BA
Grand Prairie Fire Department (TX)

Decisions from the Right-Front Seat

Early in my career as a firefighter, we were on a fire alarm call at a warehouse around 3A.M. As we were unsuccessfully trying the keys in the Knoxbox and walking around the exterior of the building, I made the statement to my lieutenant: "We can see it’s not on fire, why don’t we just call it good and go back to bed?" His reply back to me was one I didn’t understand at the time but have never forgotten: "Decisions are easy to make from the backseat. They get a lot harder when you move to the right-front seat."

Fast-forward about five years. After months of intense studying and several months of stress, I promoted to driver/engineer. In typical fashion, my first day as a driver my lieutenant was off and so I found myself in the right-front seat. The morning started off with the typical work and joking, but that changed suddenly when we were dispatched to a rescue and collapse at a construction site. Last shift I was in the backseat, responsible for myself, now I was in the front seat, responsible for everyone in my apparatus and for setting the tone for a possibly complex incident. Suddenly the words of my lieutenant made a lot more sense, decisions become a lot harder when you know that the ultimate responsibility rests on you.

Generally speaking, firefighters are responsible for tasks, company officers are responsible for coordinating those tasks to accomplish the tactics, and command officers are responsible for coordinating the tactics to achieve the overall strategy. As we promote we become responsible for a bigger piece of the picture. A good company officer must remain proficient at the task level while becoming proficient at coordinating the tactical level and gaining a solid understanding of the strategic level.

For the company officer, decisions are tough on the emergency scene and even more difficult in everyday life at the fire station. Making the move from being one of the troops to being the "designated adult" can be difficult. The transition at the station is often harder than making the transition on the emergency scene. We can participate in emergency scene training to fill the decision-making hard drive, but it can be more difficult to prepare to deal with the people that we work with.

Preparation, training, and mentoring are the keys to successfully making the transition to the right-front seat. Prepare for the position you are striving to attain. Train to master the tasks and the tactics. Train to deal with people. And don’t be afraid to look outside your organization to find this training. Finally, find a mentor that has mastered the position you are seeking. What better way to prepare than to learn from someone that has done it and done it well! 

Notable Quote
leadership quote and photo of Colin Powell
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Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)
By placing safety and well-being above all and by focusing on prevention and response, TEEX has become a comprehensive training provider through more than 90 years of extension training. Working with other agencies and encouraging involvement has led to better fire safety and emergency response, cleaner drinking water, better roads and infrastructure, improved homeland security, safer workplaces, heightened public safety and security, and the evolution of cybersecurity. See more at: TEEX.org