Contact us

The commission's main phone number is (512) 936-3838. The commission's fax number is (512) 936-3808.

The commission's mailing address is Texas Commission on Fire Protection, PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286.
The commission's physical address is 1701 North Congress, Suite 105, Austin, Texas 78701.

The agency's headquarters facility is open for business 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Contact information for individuals:

Staff members

The commission employs 31 staff members in seven functional areas: the executive director's office, compliance, training approval and testing, certification and professional development, public information, financial services and information technology.

Click the envelope icon Send e-mail to send an e-mail message to a staff member, or click the paper icon Alma's bio to view his or her biography.

Executive Director's Office

Timothy Rutland, Executive Director (512) 936-3812   Send e-mail  Tim's bio

I have been privileged to serve with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for over seven years. My initial responsibilities at the agency involved training course approval and conducting state certification exams. Within the first year I moved over to the certification side of the agency and supervised the work being done in certification issuance and renewal, both of personnel and training facilities throughout the state. Following that I served as manager over the certification and professional development section, with responsibilities over curriculum and test development, injury reporting, and the commission's library in addition to the certification program. In April 2013, I was appointed as interim executive director of the agency, and appointed to the position on a permanent status in February 2014.

Prior to coming to work for the commission, I served for 25 years with the Corpus Christi Fire Department. During my tenure with the department my responsibilities included fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, emergency management, and training. I retired as a Captain assigned to the Training Division in June of 2007 and began working at the commission the following month.

One of the real pleasures of my job is the opportunity to interact each day with those on the front line of our great profession, whether it's providing information or guidance, or just spending a few minutes visiting and catching up on the latest. I am reminded over and over of the great quality and diversity of people involved in the Texas fire service, and I am honored to be able to play a small role in their mission. A second great pleasure of my job is working every day with the people chosen to serve beside me at the agency. Given the chance, I couldn't have picked a better bunch. The fire service community can be assured that all of us at the agency understand our mission, and stand ready to assist in any way we can. Our goal is always to partner with the Texas fire service in ways that will keep our state's fire protection personnel on the cutting edge of effectiveness, professionalism, and safety.

Deborah Cowan, Executive Assistant (512) 936-3812   Send e-mail  Deb's bio

I am a 37-year veteran of state employment and an original "Austinite." I have over 35 years of extensive experience in the administrative career field with the last 15 years at the executive management level. I have worked for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for over 20 years. I began my employment in January 1992 as an administrative assistant reporting to the chief engineer of the engineering division. After the 1997 legislative session, I became the executive assistant to the director. Over the past 15 years I have been an executive team member assisting the director in the day-to-day operations of the agency. I have enjoyed my tenure in my position and with the agency with each and every day proposing new challenges. I also serve as the agency's liaison to the legislature as well as the Texas Register. I am responsible for filing all commission and advisory committee open meeting agendas as well as preparing and submitting all agency proposed and final adoption of rules as they are passed by the governing board. As the agency liaison to the legislature, I review and track all legislation affecting the agency as well as those that affect the fire service as a whole.

On my days off you will probably find me playing and taking care of my precious 10-month-old grandson and my almost 8-year-old "bonus" granddaughter. I think most people are surprised when they learn that I am an avid sports enthusiast. I love most sports and am a true Texas Longhorn and Dallas Cowboy fan. I also love all kinds of motorsports from NASCAR, NHRA, Indy and Formula One, just to name a few.

Alma Craig, Human Resources Officer (512) 936-3841   Send e-mail  Alma's bio

I serve as Human Resources Manager for the agency. I serve employees of the agency, so that they can better serve the public, and I am responsible for reporting HR metrics to partnering state and federal agencies.

I studied Human Resource Management at The University of Texas and began my career there. Prior to my first professional HR position, I worked managing the affairs of the Dean of the Indian Business School in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Then, I worked as HR Coordinator, HR Manager, and Senior HR Coordinator in various colleges and departments of UT, including the Office of the Ombudsman and the Conflict Resolution Center. In 1999, I earned a Mediation certification, also from The University of Texas. I had a brief stint as HR Coordinator and Ombudsman at the State Library prior to returning to TCFP.

In addition to being a certified mediator, I hold a PHR designation from the Human Resource Certification Institute, which sets the world's highest standard in HR; and a SHRM-CP designation from the Society for Human Resources Management, the world's largest HR professional organization.

When I'm not working, I am involved in animal welfare and social justice issues and initiatives. I enjoy family time, good reads, good friends, and bad dogs.


Paul Maldonado, Compliance Manager (512) 936-3830   Send e-mail  Paul's bio

I have over 32 years of combined work experience in fire protection and public safety services. I retired as assistant fire chief, with twenty five years of service, from the City of Austin Fire Department. I served as City of Austin fire marshal for five years, the State of Texas fire marshal for seven years and now I'm the compliance program manager with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. I am proud to be happily married to my best friend Melissa.

People often ask me what I do for a living. Rather than try to explain the differences between the various positions I have served in, vis. a vis. frontline combat fire fighter versus fire inspector, public fire safety educator versus fire service instructor, fire investigator versus fire marshal, fire chief versus compliance manager, I usually just tell people I am a "fire fighter." What I mean by this is I'm a public servant who protects lives and property from fire and other emergencies. I begin by protecting the lives of my brother and sister fire fighters because if a fire fighter is seriously hurt, injured or killed while performing his or her duty then he or she will not be able to protect the citizens of the communities we ultimately swear to protect and defend.

The job of a fire fighter is inherently dangerous. Each time a fire fighter responds to an emergency his or her life is at risk because of the uncontrolled, chaotic nature of the emergencies we respond to. If fire fighters are not properly trained and equipped to protect themselves in emergency situations then we may very likely fail in our mission to protect our citizens who are involved in emergencies. Consequently our communities will suffer untold losses of life and property. Because lives are at stake it is vitally important that fire fighters are properly trained and well equipped to handle all variety of emergencies.

As the Texas Commission on Fire Protection compliance manager I am directly responsible for the commission's compliance program to ensure the safety of the state's fire fighters. We do this by inspecting fire departments and other regulated entities to see that they are in compliance with state laws and rules related to fire fighter safety. We also inspect training records to ensure that fire protection personnel are in compliance with the appropriate certification rules and disciplines related to proper training of fire fighters. Our training approval and testing program approves fire training certification courses and administers examinations for fire fighters to ensure well trained and prepared fire fighters.

I am proud to be a fire fighter and I am fortunate to serve the citizens of Texas with a great team of fire fighters at the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.

Field Offices

Map of commission regions / Fire departments by region

Rick Wallace
Region 2, Plains and West Texas
(512) 944-3111   Send e-mail  Rick's bio

I knew at a very early age that being a firefighter was the only thing I wanted to do. My career started with Forest Hill Fire Department where I worked my way up to company officer. With a desire to grow I was hired by Keller Fire Department and then Lewisville Fire Department. After 25 years I retired and had a short stint with TCFP, then became the Fire Academy Coordinator for Weatherford College. During my professional carrier I achived a degree in fire science from Tarrant County College then transferred to Columbia Southern University to study the health and safety field where I am working towards a masters in Occupational Safety and Health. This is the main reason for becoming a compliance officer with TCFP. I truly belive we can strive towards a safer workplace in the Texas fire service both on the fire ground and in the fire house.

My role as a compliance officer is to enforce the codes and regulations of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection by conducting biennial inspections of those fire departments and individuals who are regulated by the commission. Most of the codes enforced by the compliance officer pertain to fire fighter training, certification and safety. The compliance officer may be called upon to conduct a training program audit at a training academy, he may be scheduled to proctor a commission certification exam, conduct a compliance inspection of a regulated entity, or investigate a fire fighter injury/fatality. The compliance officer is also the primary liaison between the commission and the fire service stakeholders in his regional area, answering questions, providing information, and referring interested parties to the appropriate TCFP division so that they can obtain the help they need. By enforcing fire fighter training, certification, and safety, the compliance officer does his part to enhance the capability of the local fire department to fulfill its obligation within the community.

I enjoy spending time with my family camping, traveling and any opportunity to spend time at the beach. I also enjoy photography and hope to start a new hobby in bee keeping as this is something that has interested me for years.

Lamar Ford, Compliance Officer
Region 3, North Central Texas
(512) 944-3113   Send e-mail  Lamar's bio

I was born and raised in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas Texas, graduating from South Oak Cliff High School in 1966; attended college at the University of Texas at Arlington, in the late 60's and then later studied in the Fire Protection program at El Centro College in Dallas. In 1971 I married my childhood sweetheart and just recently we celebrated our 41st anniversary. We have been blessed with three sons, two wonderful daughter-in-laws and four awesome grandsons.

In 1977 I went to work as a fire fighter in the city of Lancaster, over the course of 27 years I promoted up the ranks and retired from the assistant chief's position in 2005. I was active in the North Texas Area Chiefs associations, EMS providers association, and the Fire Instructors Association of North Texas. I was able to attend conferences in and out of the state and have been in the audience of some of the best educators in the Fire Service across the country. One of the highlights of my career was traveling to the National Fire Academy to take part on the Fire Act Grant Disbursement Committee. Throughout my career I was very fortunate to work with a great group of fire fighters and served under the direction of several of the most talented Chiefs in the state, Chief McMullan, now with Corsicana FD, Chief Dick Knopf, now retired, and Chief Miles Skipper also retired.

After leaving Lancaster FD I took a position with the State Of Texas as a compliance officer. The area I have responsibility for is Region 3 which is basically west of IH35 from Wichita Falls south to Lampasas and as far west as Ranger. I really enjoy and appreciate visiting with all the region 3 Fire Chiefs and command staff members and commend every one for their efforts to improve fire fighter safety.

Robert Manley, Compliance Officer
Region 4, Northeast Texas
(512) 825-9640   Send e-mail  Bob's bio

I am currently assigned as a compliance officer to the North Texas Region 4 since February 2003. I am a retired Captain with the Plano Fire Department and also retired from the McKinney Fire Department as a Fire Inspector. I have also worked as a Training Captain with Collin College Fire Academy program. The best thing I like about my job is the continuing interaction I have with firefighters and the responsibility of insuring their safety through our inspection program. I have an Associate of Arts Degree in Fire Science from Collin College in McKinney and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas-Dallas with a minor in public administration. I am very involved in my church, and enjoy Texas Rangers baseball, as well as Dallas Cowboys football.

Fred Green, Compliance Officer
Region 5, East Central Texas
(512) 944-3110   Send e-mail  Fred's bio

As a teenager, I watched my dad's involvement as a volunteer fire fighter with the Denton Fire Department. A few times I would be allowed to respond with him if I stayed close to the car. I guess that excitement and seeing fire fighters help people in need rubbed off on me. After high school I joined the same department as that of my dad. In 1964 I started to get paid for doing a job I truly enjoyed by hiring on as Driver with the Denton Fire Department. Over the next 10 years I watched the department grow in size, but I wanted to grow also. In 1970 I left Denton and went to work for the DFW Regional Airport as a structural/crash rescue/police officer. I remained there until 1974 but wanted to get back to the municipal fire service, so I left and went to work for the Lewisville Fire Department. I remained with Lewisville attaining the rank of Operations Chief. Having graduated from the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy, I felt I was ready to be a fire chief. I left Lewisville in 1990 and went to work for the Nacogdoches Fire Department as their fire chief. I remained with Nacogdoches until 1998 when I realized that having to be a semi-politician to deal with city management, town council and unhappy citizens was not for me. I retired and went to work for TCFP in 1998 and after 14 years I am still here and still like what I do.

Being a compliance officer still offers me the opportunity to associate with the fire service and its members while at the same time knowing that as compliance officers, we are working to ensure the safety and well being of the fire fighter. It does not seem like I have been associated with the fire service for nearly 48 years, but then when you are having fun and enjoying what you are doing, time goes by fast. I owe my achievements in the fire service to the best friend I could ever have…my wife Zoe Linda. Even though she had to spend many nights alone while I was at the station and miss out on some family times during the holidays, she has always been there to encourage me seek out what I felt was something I wanted to do and after 35 years of marriage that support is still there today.

Ernie Null, Compliance Officer
Region 6, Houston and Galveston Area
(512) 775-6561   Send e-mail  Ernie's bio

My tenure here at the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) began on May 1, 2013, after serving almost 39 years with the Houston Fire Department. Twenty-two of those years were in the rank of Fire Inspector, where I served as an administrative officer to the fire marshal. In addition to my fire code enforcement duties, I was responsible for writing and maintaining the fire code standards and standard operating guidelines. I was the last person to retire, of the original group of individuals that started and completed the process that rendered the Houston Fire Department, the largest accredited fire department in the world, according to the Commission of Fire Accreditation International.

As a compliance officer with the TCFP, it is my job to enforce the laws of the State of Texas regarding fire fighter safety, inspections of personal protective equipment, self contained breathing apparatus and the administering of certification examinations. Additionally, I monitor training facilities, their programs and their records along with investigating fire fighter injuries and line of duty deaths. I also am a member of the Ad-hoc Committee, for the Fire Inspector Curriculum, since 2001. As a Compliance Officer, I promise to do my best to treat everyone fair and equitably, with the utmost of respect and dignity, along with the highest standard of ethics and morals.

I currently hold an Associate's Degree in Applied Science, Fire Science and Safety, from the Houston Community College. This enabled me to be certified as a Master Structural Fire Fighter, Master Fire Inspector, Master Fire Investigator and a Master Level III Fire Instructor.

For over 39 years, I have been married to the same person, my high school sweetheart. We have two adult children, a daughter and son. We also have a 4 "AND A HALF" year old granddaughter, who lives in Colorado. Scooby Doo is our 10 year old black and tan Dachshund grandson and my best buddy.

During my off time, I enjoy fishing and being outdoors and playing my button box accordion.

I look forward to a rewarding career with the TCFP and working to keep my brother and sister fire fighters well trained and as safe as possible, while they perform an extremely dangerous job.

Be safe, so everyone goes home!

Tim Gardner, Compliance Officer
Region 7, South Texas and Rio Grande Valley
(512) 944-3109   Send e-mail  Tim G.'s bio

Experience and Education:

  • Retired Mansfield, Texas Fire Department as Assistant Chief/Operations after 26 years.
  • Worked in various positions: Firefighter, Fire Inspector, Company and Station Officer, Battalion Chief of Training, Police Department SWAT Medic, Safety Officer.
  • Texas DSHS Paramedic.
  • Technical Rescue Technician.

The service time and experience I received as a municipal fire service employee has made it possible for me to transition easily into the position of TCFP Compliance Officer. My role as a compliance officer is to enforce the codes and regulations of the Texas Commission of Fire Protection by conducting biennial inspections of those fire departments and individuals who are regulated by the commission. Most of the codes enforced by the compliance officer pertain to fire fighter training, certification and safety. The compliance officer may be called upon to conduct a training program audit at a training academy, he may be scheduled to proctor a commission certification exam, conduct a compliance inspection of a regulated entity, or investigate a fire fighter injury/fatality. The compliance officer is also the primary liaison between the commission and the fire service stakeholders in his regional area, answering questions, providing information, and referring interested parties to the appropriate TCFP division so that they can obtain the help they need. By enforcing fire fighter training, certification, and safety, the compliance officer does his part to enhance the capability of the local fire department to fulfill its obligation within the community.

The most enjoyable part of being a compliance officer is in meeting all the fire department representatives as I inspect each department. I also like to see the confident expression on the face of a new cadet when they finish the state exam. In thus a small way, I get to associate with the next generation of Texas fire service leaders. I like to tell them that they have chosen a noble and honorable profession. I tell them that they can and will be able to provide for their families, and I like to wish them a full and rewarding career, as I have experienced.

Training Approval and Testing

Joyce Guinn, Training Approval and Testing Supervisor (512) 936-3816   Send e-mail  Joyce's bio

I grew up in a very small town in southern Mississippi. After graduating high school, I attended classes at the University of Southern Mississippi (claim to fame: Ray Guy and Brett Favre). In 1974 I moved to Houston where I lived until 1981 when I was given the opportunity to move the Austin area.

The majority of my career has been spent in a supporting role for several law enforcement agencies, including the Houston Police Department, Capitol Police and Texas Department of Public Safety. Then in August 2001, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position with the commission that changed the focus and direction of my career to the fire service. During these 11 years, I have witnessed the growth of the agency as a result of the need and desire for more and better training from the fire service. I enjoy my role with the agency and look forward with anticipation to the development and implementation of the online training approval and testing program.

I have a wonderful daughter and two awesome grandchildren that live in the area. I am a huge Texas Longhorn fan. For those of you who don't know me, I love Mexican food, margaritas and Mexican martinis, Texas wines, live music of all types and of course Austin.

Jonathan Weidemann, Training Approval and Testing Auditor (512) 936-3859   Send e-mail  Jonathan's bio

My current role in the agency is that of a Testing and Training Auditor. This involves administering state exams, conducting audits on certification training and testing, and conducting record reviews on fire training and education to insure that it meets State of Texas standards for challenging state certification exams. It is a great job, and the best part of it is being able to meet new people daily.

My background and experience includes 27 years of fire and emergency services, including working for the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, combination fire departments, emergency services districts, municipal and county departments, as well as working for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as a compliance officer for nine years. I hold Master Structure, Master ARFF, Level III Instructor, Hazardous Materials Technician, and having served as a Fire Chief I held Head of Suppression Department certification. I am a graduate of the National Fire Academy Management Science curriculum, and hold a Professional Development Certificate from the Emergency Management Institute. Presently I am working on a bachelor's degree in Emergency and Disaster Management/Homeland Security through American Military University, with a 3.45 grade point average.

On my days off, I like to spend time with my family as they are the most important aspect of my life. I also like to work outside in the yard, exercise, and go fishing as often as time allows.

Sammie Penrod, Training Approval Customer Support Specialist (512) 936-3823   Send e-mail  Sammie's bio

My role here at Texas Commission on Fire Protection is a Customer Service Rep III in the testing/compliance section.

My experience is overall six years in customer service, working for various companies ranging from technical support to district specialist for an automotive company.

I like long walks on the beach and comedy movies. I like to play Texas Hold 'Em. I'm a Jack of all trades and master at none. Self-proclaimed Man of the Year every year since I appointed myself said title in 2006, and also became royalty that same year when I won Prom King at my high school.

Annalise Mendez, Training Approval Customer Support Specialist (512) 936-3818   Send e-mail  Annalise's bio

My role is relaying information to the public regarding agency rules and regulations for fire service training and testing. My administrative experience comes from my a health insurance company based out of Lubbock Texas. I enjoy reading, learning and exercising.

Tim Brown, Testing Customer Support Specialist (512) 936-3815   Send e-mail  Tim's bio

I serve as a Customer Service Representative for the agency. I am originally from Portland, Oregon, where I earned a BA in German Studies at Lewis & Clark College. I worked for a time as a travel agent, which furthered my interest in learning about new places, languages, and cultures. I just recently relocated to Austin from Denver, where I was working in property management. I am a year-round cyclist, be it in snow or sunshine. In my free time, I enjoy watching baseball, playing table top games, and running.

Certification and Professional Development

Sylvia Miller, Certification and Professional Development Supervisor (512) 936-3825   Send e-mail  Sylvia's bio
I began my employment over 20 years ago in the incident reporting (TXFIRS) section of the agency but quickly moved over to the standards division. I administered the fire fighter certification renewal section for many years but I also processed appointments, removals, issued certificates, reviewed background reports, problem solved for data base issues, and changes in discipline appointments to duty. Additionally, I assisted with FIDO log in difficulties and department accounts. I have worked or assisted in almost every section (testing, compliance and certification) of the agency.

I graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Arts and Science on May 11, 2013. I plan to continue my education and obtain a master's degree in preparation for my second career when I can retire from the state in 2017.

I have a son who works for an aerospace engineering company in the DFW area and plays soccer on several teams. I love spending time with him when I can and I enjoy watching him play soccer.

I also enjoy shoe shopping, Austin, Mexican martinis, Mexican food, running and walking the Lady Bird Lake Trail, live music, Alamo Draft House movies, the beach, traveling (hope to do some), and hanging out with my friends.

My life as a single parent has taught me perseverance, independence, and multi-tasking. I enjoy having to use my initiative and problem solving in my job.

I would tell a new hire to our agency to take a lot of notes, learn from your mistakes and be able to adapt to change quickly!

One thing that I wish more people knew about the agency is that we are not a typical state agency. Everyone here is dedicated to their jobs and the Texas fire service.

Jim Humphres, Certification Specialist (512) 936-3826   Send e-mail  Jim's bio

My involvement with the fire service began as a child, because father was a volunteer for 50 years, 13 of those serving as chief of the department. I officially became a department member in 1963. My current fire department is a combination of paid and volunteer. I have served a secretary, vice president, president and currently hold the rank of lieutenant with 15+ years of service.

I began employment with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection in June 1992 as facilities maintenance technician responsible for building systems and agency fleet operations. As the agency relocated to various newer locations the time required maintaining the structure was reduced. I was offered a position to assist the Grant and Loan program manager with processing applications and answering questions about the funding assistance program for fire departments.

Upon departure from the agency of the Fire Department Emergency Program manager I assumed the overall operation of the program for nine years until it was transferred to the Texas Forest Service by the state legislature. Since the program was part of the support services division my duties were redirected to processing incoming agency revenue. With the reduction of funding from the legislature, a reorganization of essential agency functions was necessary. My revenue processing was moved into the firefighter certification and education section. This has afforded the opportunity to participate in the fundamentals and processing of requests for various certifications available to/or required of fire fighters.

Before coming to TCFP I was employed in the manufacturing industry for 20 years with responsibilities of manufacturing production supervision, production scheduling, equipment maintenance, quality assurance and inventory control. My education in the engineering field was most beneficial for this career.

Bobby Clakley, IFSAC and Certification Specialist (512) 936-3828   Send e-mail  Bobby's bio

My current position at the agency is a Program Specialist 1. I review applications for certification and the supporting documentation submitted and then approve the certification request or make contact with the client and request additional information. On average I issue approximately 600 certifications a quarter. I review submitted background reports for compliance with the state and the fire commission rules for certification and appointments to duties. I review and issue approximately 6000 IFSAC seals a year.

I joined the United States Navy in September 1975 and served as the ordnance flight deck work center supervisor on three aircraft carriers, one amphibious assault ship and one amphibious transport dock ship as well as being attached to Fighter Squadron14 and Fighter Squadron 32. I was trained as an aviation ordnance man and certified in the building of numerous types of bombs, rockets, missiles, mines, and electronic countermeasures as well as the squadron expert on the twenty MM cannon.

I earned several weapons certifications in addition to the quality assurance certification that allowed me to supervise junior ordnance men working on the weapons systems of the F-14 Tomcat, S-3 Viking, P-3 Orion and the H2 Tomahawk aircraft. In addition, I supervised the building and distribution of ordnance in support of 10 squadrons while deployed. While serving on the USS Dubuque (LPD-8), as the weapons center supervisor for three years in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I was tasked with building a weapons department on a ship that had never deployed with ordnance. My department built over 50,000 thousand bombs and rockets in support of this war. After serving in that role, I was given my choice of orders and requested to be assigned to NATTC Millington, Tennessee.

While in Tennessee, I earned my Department of Defense instructor certification and began teaching multi-platform weapons systems to new recruits at the aviation ordnance school.

After retirement in 1992, I worked at the Department of Labor's Gary Job Corps program for seven years as a senior advisor, supervising four staff and one hundred students. Our task was to guide their educational and social skills development needs. I earned the Social Skills Train the Trainer certification and was called upon to provide this training to the staff of the department. Upon leaving Gary Job Corps, I went to work for the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department and was certified as a juvenile detention officer working with the Intensive Supervision Probation unit. I acquired a certification as a Handle with Care instructor teaching defensive tactics to juvenile probation officers. After seven years with the department, I moved on to work for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as a program specialist in the certification division where I review fire service training and issues certifications in specific disciplines to firefighters in Texas.

I am currently attending college and hold the Instructor II certification through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and I am certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Concealed Handgun Instructor. In addition, I am certified as a CPR-First Aid-AED instructor through the American Red Cross.

Karen Henges, Processing and Payment Administrative Assistant (512) 936-3832   Send e-mail  Karen's bio

I have spent most of my life in Texas, moving to Austin in 1984. I graduated from Concordia University at Austin with a BA in History. I moved to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as a Processing and Payment Customer Support Specialist from a Federal agency with a total of nine years accrued with the Treasury Department. I have numerous years of experience with processing payments and customer support. I also have several years experience in the private sector as a supervisor, and processing monetary transactions and customer support.

Public Information

Mark Roughton, Public Information Coordinator (512) 936-3850   Send e-mail  Mark's bio

I joined the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as an information specialist in 1993. Prior to my career here, I served four years in the Army and three years as a technical writer in Washington state.

When I'm not at work I'm usually hanging out with my dogs.

I consider it a privilege to work with the Texas fire service.

Amanda Ramos, Education, Research and Outreach Specialist (512) 936-3833   Send e-mail  Amanda's bio

My name is Amanda Ramos, and I am the new Library and Outreach Specialist. I have been with the agency for nearly two years, and I look forward to assisting the Texas fire service with research assistance and providing education resources from the Emerson Library. If you have any needs with which I can help you, please let me know.

Charai Fernandez, Injury Reporting Specialist (512) 936-3831   Send e-mail  Charai's bio

I joined the Public Information Team as the Injury Reporting Specialist in July 2014. Prior to this position, I worked in the agency’s testing department as a Customer Service Rep. I enjoy this job because, with many family members in public service, I have always had a heart for public service personnel, especially those in Texas. Texas is in my blood.

I currently hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas State University with a major in Spanish and a minor in English. I also plan to return to school and obtain my master's degree in the near future.

One of my favorite things to do is read a good book. I'm a total bookworm and I love a good pun. I also enjoy the theatre, especially musical theatre. I think one thing people might be surprised to know about me is that I love to bake things from scratch, I love rock climbing and scuba diving, and I one day want to try sky diving.

Curriculum Development

Grace Wilson, Curriculum Development Specialist (512) 936-3855   Send e-mail  Grace's bio

I grew up in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, but have also lived in Ohio, Okinawa (Japan), Hawaii, California, and now Texas.

I have a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland.

I worked for Deepak Chopra, MD for ten years as a massage therapist and as the Director of Spa Training for The Chopra Center in Southern California.

I am currently serving as the agency's curriculum development program specialist. I am the staff liaison for the curriculum and testing committee. I work with ad hoc committees of subject matter experts from across the state to develop and maintain curricula for all the fire fighter certifications. I create certification exams and maintain test question banks.

Some things people might be surprised to know about me: I'm a certified yoga instructor. I wrote a book titled "Massage In Minutes: Simple Techniques for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere." I'm a really good vegetarian cook, and I can surf.

Financial Services

Lisa Gonzalez, Financial Services Manager (512) 936-3842   Send e-mail  Lisa's bio

I am the Financial Service Manager at the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. I graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. I did most of my undergrad at the University of Texas and some graduate work at St. Edward's University.

I have previously worked for other state agencies as a Grant Accountant. I have been in the Accounting field for over 20 years. My role at the agency covers several areas, to include the preparation of the annual budgets, monitor the operating budget, review quarterly expenditures, and submit data and reports for the AFR.

I am a true Austinite; I was raised here and will continue to raise my kids in this beautiful city. I am married and we have 3 beautiful kids. When I am not busing them around to all of their sporting events; I am sitting in some UT sports arena watching volleyball, basketball or even a football game. Texas Strong!! Go Horns!!

Denise Alvarez, Senior Accountant (512) 936-3854   Send e-mail  Denise's bio

I am the accountant here at TCFP. I will be responsible for travel accounts, deposits, and various other duties. I am still learning the ropes here, so I'm sure there's plenty more to come. Prior to working here, I worked for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in their Banking and Electronic Processing department for 4-1/2 years. I also worked at HEB as a bookkeeper for almost 20 years.

I am a huge New England Patriots fan. During the football season, the Pats occupy almost every Sunday. If they are playing, I am watching the game. Besides the Pats, my heart belongs to my dogs, my four-legged babies. They are my true loves. I routinely share posts on Facebook from Lost Dogs of Texas to help get the word out when a dog goes missing. If my cross-sharing helps one dog make it home, then that is enough.

Nancy Love, Accountant (512) 936-3843   Send e-mail  Nancy's bio

I have happily joined TCFP's Financial Services section. My role with TCFP is processing travel vouchers, doing deposits and I will be back-up for the Purchaser. I am a return to work retiree. I found retirement was just not for me. Coming from a Military family I was very fortunate to get my travels in at an early age, so once all the house projects were done, all that was left was cooking and cleaning. I do love to cook, but the cleaning thing got really old really fast. Thank you for allowing me to join your team, I am so delighted to be here.

Colin Epperson, Purchaser (512) 936-3846   Send e-mail  Colin's bio

My role is Purchaser. I have 10+ years experience in accounting/financial services work. I like being outdoors and spending time with my wife and daughter. I also enjoy listening to music and playing disc-golf.

Information Technology

Mohammed Adams, Senior Programmer/IRM (512) 936-3838   Send e-mail  Mohammed's bio

I am an 8-1/2 year Army veteran. I am married with two girls and two boys. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems with concentration in Software Engineering (summa cum laude), from the greatest university system in the world: Texas A&M University. I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Information Systems at the aforementioned university. I joined the Texas Commission on Fire Protection at the tail end of last year, as a programmer. The commission is a great place to work for many reasons but mainly because it is like working with supportive and well-wishing family members!

Robert Reese, Systems Support Specialist/ISO (512) 936-3838   Send e-mail  Robert's bio

My primary role is to manage and maintain the network, servers, desktops, laptops, tablets and other devices. I have over 12 years experience work in the computer field from doing tech support for Microsoft Networks to providing support to Texas Supreme Court.

I'm orginally from Rio Grande Valley (deep South Texas), so i grew up loving to fish and being a die hard Cowboys fan (no matter how bad they get).

Jeremy Parris, Programmer Analyst (512) 936-3851   Send e-mail  Jeremy's bio

My name is Jeremy Parris. I am a programmer analyst for the agency. I will be assisting the information technology team in developing web applications for the agency. I am a veteran of the US Army. I was an Abrams tank turret mechanic. I served for over 8 years. I also did the same kind of work for General Dynamics Land Systems at Ft Hood, TX for 6 years. While I was working there I started going back to school. While in college I completed my Bachelors of Science in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Software Engineering and Database Design from Texas A&M University - Central Texas in Killeen, TX. Last summer I worked as an programmer intern at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts here in Austin. Some of my hobbies include helping people with their technology problems, video games, spending time with my wife and kids. I have two sons 3 and 5 years old. My oldest plays soccer so I enjoy going to his soccer events. My wife is a 5th grade teacher in Killeen, TX.

Systems Analyst, vacant

Commission members

The policymaking body of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection is a 13-member board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The commissioners adopt policies in accordance with Chapter 419 of the Government Code Link to PDF file. Upon adoption by the commission, these policies become state administrative laws collected under Title 37, Part 13, of the Texas Administrative Code.

The 13 members of the commission represent a broad spectrum of the Texas fire service:


Send e-mail E-mail messages can be forwarded to the commissioners through this web site, or, if you prefer, more direct contact information can be furnished on request. Please contact the commission for more information.

The commission currently has one vacant position.

Commissioner TullSteven C. Tull of Valley Mills is a lieutenant fire fighter in the City of Waco Fire Department. He is also president of the Waco Professional Firefighters Association. His term expires Feb. 1, 2015.

Commissioner CarsonElroy Carson of Ransom Canyon is an insurance agent with State Farm Insurance and an officer in the United States Army Reserve (retired). He is a member of the Greater Lubbock Rotary Club and 100 Black Men of West Texas, Inc. Carson serves as president of the Reserve Officer Association. He received a degree in accounting from then Dallas Baptist College and studied business at Texas Tech University. His term will expire Feb. 1, 2017.

Commissioner EkissPat Ekiss is the City of Taylor Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator and a certified EMT/paramedic. He is a fire service instructor at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Emergency Services Training Institute. Ekiss is past president of the Southern Emergency Response and Preparedness Association, secretary/treasurer of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association, and is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Texas Association of Fire Service Educators, the National Fire Protection Association, the Williamson County Fire Chiefs Association, and the State Fire Marshal's Line of Duty Death Task Force Review Board. He is also a member of the Taylor Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Taylor. Ekiss received two associate's degrees from Weatherford College and is a graduate of the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy's Certified Fire Executive Program. His term will expire Feb. 1, 2017

Commissioner FarranYusuf Elias Farran of El Paso is a professional engineer and is executive director of facilities and transportation for Canutillo Independent School District. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. Farran is a former member of the Texas Association of Builders, the El Paso Association of Builders and the National Society of Builders. He serves as a board member of the El Paso Community College Foundation, a member of the El Paso City and County Board of Health, and is a vice-chairman of the City of El Paso Ethics Review Commission. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master of science in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. His term will expire Feb. 1, 2015.

Commissioner GilesCarl "Gene" Giles of Carthage is senior vice president and director of the First State Bank and Trust Company of Carthage. He is a member of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association, Panola County Cattlemen's Association and Carthage Lions Club. He is also first assistant chief of the Carthage Volunteer Fire Department, treasurer and director of Mission Carthage, and past treasurer of the Panola Chamber of Commerce and Panola Salvation Army. Giles received bachelor's degrees from Panola College and Stephen F. Austin State University. His term expires Feb. 1, 2015.

Commissioner GilletteJohn Kelly Gillette III of Frisco is a registered professional engineer in fire protection and is fire marshal for the City of Frisco. He is a member of the Texas chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators and the Texas Fire Marshal's Association. Gillette is past president of the Fire Prevention Association of North Texas and the North Texas chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. He is also an adjunct instructor at the Texas A&M Fire Training School and at the Collin County Community College in Fire Science. Gillette received a bachelor's degree in engineering technology from Oklahoma State University. His term will expire Feb. 1, 2017.

Commissioner GonzalezJody Gonzalez is chief and director of the Denton County Department of Emergency Services, which includes his responsibilities as fire marshal and homeland security and emergency management coordinator for the county. He is the immediate past president of the Texas Fire Marshals Association (TFMA), first vice president of the Texas Arson Investigation Association and chair of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) Regional Emergency Preparedness Advisory Council. Gonzalez is a certified fire fighter, arson investigator, inspector, fire instructor and master peace officer. He has served as an advisory board member of the State Fire Marshal's Office's (SFMO) Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) and is a current member of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas (SFFMA), International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). Gonzalez received a bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). His term will expire Feb. 1, 2019.

Commissioner GreenJohn W. Green of San Leon is a professional fire fighter and captain with the Village Fire Department. He is president of the Local 3921 Village Fire Fighters and a member of the Texas Association of Fire Instructors and Salt Grass Trail Riders Association. He is also a member of Dacus Baptist Church. Green graduated from the Texas A&M Fire Academy. His term expires Feb. 1, 2017.

Commissioner McMakinJohn McMakin is fire chief of the LaRue-New York Volunteer Fire Department Inc. and vice president of the Henderson County 911 Communication District. He is a member of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association, and a member and past president of the Henderson County Fire Chiefs Association. He is also a past member of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and the National Volunteer Fire Council. McMakin attended the University of Texas. His term expires Feb. 1, 2019.

Commissioner MooreRobert Moore is director of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Emergency Services Training Institute. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, National Fire Protection Association, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, State Firemen's and Fire Marshals Association (SFFMA), and SFFMA Industrial Emergency Services Board. He is also a former assistant fire chief and paramedic for the Channelview Volunteer Fire Department. Moore received an associate degree from Blinn College, completed his Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic certification at Lee College, and is a graduate of the TEEX Leadership Development Program. His term will expire Feb. 1, 2015.

Commissioner PerezLeonardo (Lenny) Perez is the Fire Chief for the City of Brownsville. He is the regional director of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Texas Firemen's and Fire Marshals Association, the National Fire Protection Association, the Rio Grande Valley Firemen's and Fire Marshals Association and the Rio Grande Valley Emergency Training Alliance. He is also a former board member of the Southmost Lions Club. Perez received an associate's degree from Texas Southmost College and has attended numerous courses at the National Fire Academy. Commissioner Perez's term will expire Feb. 1, 2019.

Commissioner PoynterRon Poynter is a Director of Government Relations for a company called Veteran's Health. He served for more than 23 years as a U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officer and is a former fire fighter and paramedic with eight years of service in Missouri, and a former safety officer and rescue team member of the Missouri Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1. Poynter received a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University and a master's degree in management from Webster University. His term expires Feb. 1, 2015.

Commissioner WhitlockTivy Whitlock is director of corporate training and continuing education at Northeast Lakeview College. She is a member of the Learning Resources Network, Texas Administrators of Continuing Education and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training. She is a past member of the Texas Commission on Human Rights, Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services, Governor's Committee on Licensing Standards and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She is also a member of the P16 Plus Strategic Partners Steering Committee in San Antonio and a past member of the City of San Antonio Head Start Commission. Whitlock received a bachelor's degree from Southwestern University and a master's degree in adult and higher education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her term expires Feb. 1, 2019.

Advisory committee members

The fire fighter advisory committee is created by the commission's enabling statute, Chapter 419 of the Government Code Link to PDF file. A second advisory committee, the curriculum and testing committee, was created by the commission to assist in the creation and upkeep of the certification curriculum.

The fire fighter advisory committee consists of six active or retired fire protection personnel and three certified fire protection instructors. At least one member of the committee must be a volunteer fire fighter or fire chief. The committee is responsible for drafting and reviewing the administrative rules that govern the state's fire service. (The Government Code states that the commission cannot adopt a new rule until the fire fighter advisory committee has had an opportunity to review it.)

The curriculum and testing committee was created and appointed by the commission to periodically review and recommend changes to the commission's testing and training programs.

Field offices

Map of commission regions / Fire departments by region

Location Compliance officer Phone
Region 1: Capitol Region - -
Region 2: Plains and West Texas Send e-mail Rick Wallace (512) 944-3111
Region 3: North Central Texas Send e-mail Lamar Ford (512) 944-3113
Region 4: Northeast Texas Send e-mail Robert Manley (512) 825-9640
Region 5: East Central Texas Send e-mail Fred Green (512) 944-3110
Region 6: Houston and Galveston Area Send e-mail Ernie Null (512) 775-6561
Region 7: South Texas and Rio Grande Valley Send e-mail Tim Gardner (512) 944-3109

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Friday, April 17, 2015, 10:18:07 PM