Ep.68, 50 years of learning with Dennis Compton

During my career I have had several opportunities to sit in lecture halls and listen to Chief Dennis Compton share some of the wisdom he has gleaned over 50 years in the fire service. He taught us that one should “never sacrifice a relationship for an outcome”, that we need to “become politically competent”, and be aware of what behaviors and procedures that we “institutionalize.” 

In episode 68 Chief Compton and I chatted about his journey into the fire service, how things have changed and how important relationships are to a healthy organization. We talked about these important topics and so much more. Give it a listen and please enjoy.


A little about our guest…

Dennis Compton serves as a respected Executive Advisor for national, state, and local fire service and homeland security organizations. He was the Fire Chief in Mesa, Arizona for six years and Assistant Fire Chief in Phoenix, Arizona, where he served for 28 years. Chief Compton has Chaired the IFSTA Executive Board and also Chaired the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) National Advisory Council (NAC), where he continues to represent IFSTA. Chief Compton Chaired the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Board of Directors for well over a decade and served as the Secretary of the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) Board of Directors as well. He has also served on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Board of Directors.

Dennis is a widely recognized speaker and author. He has written many articles and chapters for publications, including five of his own books – the two latest being: 1) Progressive Leadership Principles, Concepts, and Tools; and 2) Mental Aspects of Performance for Firefighters and Fire Officers.

Chief Compton is a 2011 Inductee into the National Fire Heritage Center’s Hall of Legends, Legacies, and Leaders; a 2018 Inductee into the Firehouse Legends and Icons National Hall of Fame; and is a charter member of the Arizona Fire Service Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (Metro Chiefs) and the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA).

Dennis has received the George D. Post National Fire Service Instructor of the Year Award and was recognized as the American Fire Sprinkler Association Fire Service Person of the Year. He was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the University of Phoenix and received the coveted CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford National Fire Service Leadership Award. Chief Compton has also received the 2014 Dr. John Granito Award for Excellence in Fire Service Leadership and Management Research; the 2016 International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) James O. Page EMS Achievement Award; and was awarded the 2019 IAFC President’s Award.

Since 1978, Chief Compton has served on many IFSTA Validation Committees and Task Groups, including as Past Chair of Chief Officer. Dennis was first elected to the IFSTA Executive Board in 1983 and represents IFSTA with many national fire service organizations addressing critical projects, issues, and planning endeavors.



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If you would like to contact today’s guest...

FB: Dennis Compton

Email: dcompton5@cox.net


Your host can be reached at:

IG: @firegroundfitness

FB: @fireground fitness

Twitter: @firegroundfit

Email: raynegray@firegroundfitness.com

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