By Tracy Demetropolis
ANTHEM – Brian Tobin, Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical’s (DMFM) incoming Chief, will officially replace outgoing chief Mark Nichols next month.
Tobin brings with him more than 37 years of fire-fighting experience. In June, he retired as Assistant Chief of the Phoenix Fire Department (PFD).
Long-time friend and colleague, Chris Pardi, a PFD Captain, said Tobin has “seen it all” and will make an excellent new chief for DMFM.
“When you have someone like him, you’ve got a chief who knows both sides of the coin – the administrative side and the labor side,” he said. “I was excited to hear that he got this job – excited for him and excited for the firefighters who will work for him and excited for the community.”
Pardi was 23 when 18-year-old Tobin arrived at the fire academy in Phoenix in 1983. Tobin told him that he had wanted to be a firefighter since he was a kid; he would often ride his bike down to Phoenix Fire Station 31 to hang out with the firefighters there.
“I owe the members of the Phoenix Fire Department who took me under their wing at an early age a huge debt of gratitude,” Tobin said. “They didn’t have to welcome me into their fire station, but they did.”
Tobin joined the Phoenix cadet academy at age 14. That experience laid the foundation for his long fire-fighting career.
“The program started my training and education about the fire service and the Phoenix Fire Department,” Tobin said. “I grew up working voluntarily at Phoenix fire stations on Saturdays. I rode the trucks, did the chores and learned how to cook.”
Once he became a Phoenix firefighter, Tobin started working for the union in the fight against Rural Metro. Tobin’s interest in looking out for the members continued to grow, and he served a one-year term as Trustee on the Board of the Phoenix Firefighters Pension Bonus Plan in 1986. This experience would later serve to help him in his work as both a member of the Phoenix Pension Board and as trustee of the Phoenix Firefighters Health Insurance Trust Fund from the 1990s to today.
“To say I am humbled and excited about what lies ahead is one heck of an understatement,” Tobin said. “During my 36 years with the Phoenix Fire Department, I experienced a fair amount of change. New leaders would come in, and their arrival would inevitably raise questions about what would come next. I often found myself wishing that the new person would simply stand up and say, ‘Here’s what I’m about.’”
Tobin said he wants to let DMFM know what he’s all about. He said he has nothing but the upmost respect for DMFM’s reputation as a provider of the “best possible customer service” in handling about 4,000 emergency calls annually.
“The 88 sworn members of the department and the 29 non-sworn administrative staff are among the best in the business,” he said.
Tobin said his first week on the job was busy and productive. Nichols brought him along to several appointments and introduced him to many people in the district. Tobin is actually familiar with the region DMFM serves, since her served at the department’s interim chief from November 2010 to April 2011.
“Observing from a distance, I have been impressed by the department’s ability to consolidate seamlessly with the Black Canyon City area, creating better service and operational efficiencies,” he said. “We must continue to improve operationally and do even better when it comes to expanding revenues and further encouraging fiscal responsibility with our $18 million plus annual budget.”
Tobin said he learned something about leadership when he was promoted to PFD Captain in 1994. This knowledge has stayed with him for 25 years, he said.
“Every leader is only as good as the people he or she helps grow and the relationships that he or she cultivates,” he said. “Having spent years working alongside people like the late Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini and Local 493 President Pat Cantelme, I’ve seen first-hand what it takes to be a leader capable of giving people the tools, skills and support they need to succeed. My goal is to be that person for Daisy Mountain.”