Committee: Conference

Contact: Don Johnson, Chair - [email protected]

2021 Mission: The mission of the Conference Committee is to provide leadership and direction to the Executive Director, who is responsible for managing the annual conference in October of each year. This committee exists to make sure the needs of the membership, as it pertains to the conference, are met. This committee interfaces with the Education Committee, the Marketing Committee and vendor representatives to ensure that a quality conference is offered at an affordable cost. Every effort is made to ensure exceptional educational offerings for all attendees.

2021 Report: Welcome back to Duluth. On behalf of the entire MSFCA Conference Committee, we are glad to see a return to this important event. The conference committee met several times over 2021 to plan the logistical details of your experience. We were excited to see the hotel rooms fill up early despite the slow, steady increase of conference registrations. As we moved through summer, it was back to a “business as usual” atmosphere until our meeting in August when the Delta Variant started to make a massive return nationally.

In close concert with the Education Committee and the Vendor Liaison, the planning continued with contingencies for the stubborn pandemic. Precautions and protocols will be set at the time of the conference. Most importantly, please stay/go home if you feel ill or exhibit symptoms to protect everyone else. As we experienced in the first round of the pandemic, several areas fluctuated on requirements. Our team feels we can easily comply with any protocols set by the DECC, St. Louis County or the City of Duluth and still have an in-person conference.

We have added a new section to the conference committee with Chief Mike Dobesh (Education/Health & Safety Committee) and Chief Bruce Hemstad coordinating our COVID-19 protocols and response. Both will stay up-tospeed on the most recent information and protocols and ensure the conference committee and the conference stays compliant to national, state and local guidelines.

Initial meetings brought a review of the 2019 conference. This year, we will be adding personalized schedules to your  registration packets. We will also be improving signage to the location of the classes and events within the conference itself. We received some significant feedback on the banquet meal and have addressed that with the DECC. We will be using an outside caterer this year, as the DECC is hiring a new chef, and the committee will be finalizing the meal at the final meeting in December. The Awards program planning is well underway, and thanks to Chief Rodger Coppa, we can expect a formal, time-efficient program for the evening.

Chief Andrew Heger is planning the Memorial Service, and we have 30 submitted names to honor this year. The State Fire Marshal’s Office will be assisting with the Honor Guard Duties and the Minnesota Fire Service Pipe and Drum Band will provide the respectful pipes for the ceremony. 

The Business Meeting will be held at the lunch on Friday. Your name badge will indicate if you are a voting member of the Association as a quorum is required to conduct Association business. All are encouraged to attend the Friday lunch and support the business functions of the Association.

We hope you enjoy your experience. Education and Conference Committee members will be in attendance for the three-day event, and we openly accept feedback of any kind. There will  be opportunities to provide feedback in surveys as well. Your comments will be used to make this a better experience in the future.

Thank you to the conference committee members, the Board of Directors and the ever-important sponsors of the MSFCA that are working hard to provide an excellent learning experience.

2021 Conference Committee Members

  • Chair: Don Johnson, Chanhassen, Fire Chief 
  • Awards Banquet Coordinator: Rodger Coppa, Plymouth, Fire Chief 
  • Memorial Service Coordinator: Andrew Heger, Victoria, Fire Chief 
  • Committee Member - Host City: Shawn Krizaj, Duluth, Fire Chief 
  • Committee Liaison - Education: Dale Specken, Hopkins, Fire Chief
  • Committee Liaison - Marketing: Steve Koering, St. Louis Park, Fire Chief 
  • Committee Member - Health & Safety: Mike Dobesh, Richfield, Fire Chief
  • Committee Liaison - Vendor Liaison: Mike Scott, Eagan, Fire Chief (retired)
  • Committee Member: Shane Gardner, Long Lake, Battalion Chief
  • Committee Member: Sarah Anderson, Chaska, Firefighter

Conference Committee File Library