Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Kevin Joles

Comments Delivered by EMS & Paramedic Training Captain Kevin Joles, Olathe Fire Department

Kevin Joles, graduate from the Kansas City CPM cohort, with PMC Director Laura Howard, University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi, and CPM Program Manager Terri Callahan.

Kevin Joles, graduate from the Kansas City CPM cohort, with PMC Director Laura Howard, University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi, and CPM Program Manager Terri Callahan.

On December 2, 2016

Luckily for all of you over the last week I have reduced my 1 hour talk to a shorter 45 minute yet meaningful lecture on why Terry, Noel, Laura and Jonathon as well as the entire Public Management Center faculty should be the getting awards for this great program and visiting with President Elect Trump about being his advisors over the next 4 years. They all did a great job for us and we thank you for that.

First off, on behalf of all the CPM graduates I want to thank the department heads, managers, and city officials that allowed and supported time away from the work week to allow for us to participate in these programs, again we thank you for the opportunity.

I also want to recognize the folks from the Law Enforcement Leadership Academy and all of the police officers in the CPM classes; it is great to have them here today. I would also like to acknowledge the fact that not only did the Kansas City Kansas Police Dept. lose a key figure in their organization but so did the LELA group here today with the passing of Captain Melton. I’m positive that the unfortunate loss of Captain Melton in the middle of your program, although difficult on all of you made you a stronger and tighter group because of it. We all know the state of our nation and the impact that it is taking on our law enforcement and not only from me but all of the CPM groups, we thank you for your service and daily dedication to all of us.

With the unwritten yet friendly rivalry of police and fire it is not often that a firefighter praises law enforcement, but today I do it for two reasons, they have our backs on every call that we go on day in and day out protecting us from the unimaginable and secondly because my wife has a lead foot and we have 1 hour and 15 minute drive back home and any professional courtesy I can get on the way home is greatly appreciated!

It is amazing how quickly a brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed through law enforcement or the fire service and become even stronger when you are adding a year-long program with hundreds of contact hours. It turns out that those relationships can be created with and without emergency services personnel. All of us are public servants in some fashion and that personality or attribute is what has brought us together so unexpectedly in a short time. I was personally fortunate to form many new friendships along this journey and it would not be possible if it wasn’t for the open arms of all of the CPM classes across Kansas. I did my Capstone project on hiring processes within fire departments and the fact that we spend approximately only 40 minutes interviewing candidates to essentially work with for a 30 year long commitment called a career. I may have to propose that all of our potential firefighter candidates participate in the CPM program with some of our veterans as part of the hiring process to really ensure we are getting the best, because as we know we have all learned a lot about each other personally and professionally this past year!

My work schedule forced me to be somewhat of a vagabond when it came to which class I attended and where. I was fortunate to get to visit the Hays class several times but never the Topeka. We of course had Topeka attendees at every site and vice versa and always welcome no matter where we needed to land each month. I have always believed in the power of networking and this program fosters that belief without it formally being in the curriculum. Who would fathom the lessons learned from employees of wastewater, city hall small business divisions and parks and rec and how relevant it was in the fire service. Certainly not me! The deep thoughts that come from opening your mind to another profession amazed me month after month and the knowledge I gained from all of you is what I will take forward with me.

We all know that there were days where we wish we could have shifted CPM a day or two forward or back because of our busy work schedules, but staying diligent in our commitment we are here today because of it. The strategies, tools, tactics and resources that were learned over the last year are invaluable and should not be taken for granted.

Over time we are given opportunities to make the next step in our careers. Although there was a year-long commitment to this program and it may have not felt like a “little opportunity” but much more like a giant one these are the things that can help propel a career forward to a place none of us ever thought of going.

If we take the advice of our instructors and classmates by seizing opportunities we can do nothing but succeed. Some of us may have never planned on being in a position to make a positive change in our organization but armed with the CPM program we can do just that. Thank you for listening, travel home safe and remember Officers, silver Ford Explorer….firefighter license plates. Godspeed and Rock Chalk!