Matthew L. Traver
Findlay Fire Department
"At Owens I gained the knowledge, experience and work ethic that helped me get a job and the promotions that followed."
Public Service Technology
Profile of Excellence: Matthew L. Traver
Owens Community College Alumnus
Matt Traver has worked his way up the ladder-literally-and continues to do so each day. The 1991 Owens Community College graduate is the Battalion Chief for the Findlay Fire Department.
After graduating from Cardinal Stritch High School in 1989, Matt debated between becoming a teacher like his father or a firefighter. When he heard about the fire science program at Owens Community College, he made his choice. "My dad and I went to Owens to check out the program," recalls Matt. "I signed up the same day."
Throughout his Owens' courses, Matt found his instructors knowledgeable and on the cutting edge of the latest fire protection technology. Citing Owens Instructor Skip Coleman in particular, Matt said, "It was quite an honor to be taught by a nationally-known expert and author like Skip Coleman. I was always eager to learn the new information he brought to the classroom."
Five months prior to graduation, Matt had the opportunity to put that knowledge to the test. He heard from an Owens' instructor that Findlay Fire Department was testing for new firefighters. Matt took the exam, passed and had a job waiting when he graduated in May with an Associate of Applied Science. "At Owens I gained the knowledge, experience and work ethic that helped me get a job and the promotions that followed," says Matt. After successfully completing the intense, five-week program at the Ohio Fire Academy, he took his place as a Rookie on the force. During the two-year probationary period that followed, Matt cut his firefighting teeth on the Findlay force.
Matt worked between the four stations that serve the Findlay area, learned the equipment and paid his dues. After being on the force for five years, he took the Captain's test and passed. Within the year, he was promoted and placed in charge of a station. Then a year later, Matt was promoted to Battalion Chief. Among his many responsibilities, Matt serves as the incident commander at the scene of a fire or other rescue situations making the decisions on how to safely handle it. Building on what begun at Owens, he states the key to doing his job well is to focus on the task at hand and fall back on his training and experience.
Matt is the first to admit he loves his job, but hates the circumstances that surround it. "We risk a lot, to save a lot," says Matt, "while making sure all of our firefighters go home safely after their shift."
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