Since 2011, Tom Louis has been a part of the Emergency Reporting family, and has helped thousands of ER users succeed with their records management and reporting. He was recently featured in a local newsletter from Green Valley, Arizona, where he worked in the fire service for more than 21 years. The full article is below, and we hope you enjoy this read as much as we did!
Written by Susan Stein Kregar
Tom Louis (ret.) dreamed of being an astronaut. In 3rd grade he borrowed an astronomy book from a classmate and brought a mobile of the planets to class. However, rocketing into orbit was not the universe’s plan for Tom.
While attending the University of Arizona, illness forced Tom to change his Air Force focus and aeronautical dreams. Recovering and figuring out his future, a neighbor who was a Rural/Metro Fire Captain, sparked a flame and gave Tom advice on becoming a firefighter. Soon he was off to the 91-1 Rural/Metro Fire Academy. “I loved the entire academy,” said Tom, “just great memories.”
He graduated five months later. As a reserve firefighter, he needed to complete classes to become shift-qualified. He passed and was the first candidate from his academy class to be assigned a full-time fire department position. He was assigned to the Green Valley Fire District. He stayed for 21 years; retiring as a battalion chief in 2013. In that time, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a BAS in Fire Service Management and studied for a Master’s in Public Administration at American Military University.
Tom served at all four GVFD stations during his career. When he was an acting battalion chief, he oversaw those same four stations. He eventually promoted to administrative battalion chief. “It’s like middle management of corporate work,” he said. “I have to say I really enjoyed working as an operations battalion chief.”
GVFD’s focus was taking care of their customer; a patient or anyone else who made a call for help, which he found rewarding. “We received a lot of gratitude for the care we gave those who had no one else to care for them. They had no one else to call. So who do they call? The fire department,” said Tom. “Who else is trusted to get into someone’s home at 3am without a search warrant, pick them up and put them back in bed? It’s a really big responsibility that one should never take lightly.”
Tom was the first car seat installation technician in Green Valley. “I liked knowing that when the child left, they left safer than when they arrived. That was rewarding and I loved interacting with the community on a non-emergent basis.”
One of his fondest memories came near the end of his career. “There was a new firefighter on my crew and we had a busy shift. A call came in for a vehicle fire on I-19. Because of the different metals involved in the fire, amazing colors were created. It was also a joy to see a new firefighter get in there, tackle a fire and have control of the nozzle.”
Engaged in the community, he was involved in the annual Kiwanis pancake breakfast; showing up at 4:30 a.m. with a massive rotating griddle. One of his favorite activities was the Halloween safe house at the “old” station 151 on La Canada “It was a blast,” recalled Tom.
While serving GVFD, Tom received a call from software company, Emergency Reporting, that led to his second career. Emergency Reporting’s (ER) software provides the ability to manage all facets of the fire department from incident reporting to truck checks and fire code building inspections.
With ER since 2011, Tom’s positions include Regional Trainer, Department of Defense/International Trainer, Professional Services Project Manager and his current position, Business Development Analyst, in which he supports the sales team and serves as a subject matter expert within the company.
The result of his and ER’s work has helped city planners develop future fire stations in high growth communities. The data management tools also help leaders improve the overall quality and quantity of resources, including staffing levels, thus improving fire departments’ response times and services delivered to their communities.
Tom has amassed more than 350,000 miles traveling the world for ER to support fire departments and other high-level organizations. His favorite aspect of the job is staying connected to the world-wide fire department community. “It’s the same welcoming feeling whether you are in Korea or Colombia,” he said. “It’s a unique family. It’s just different than any other culture out there.”
When not working, Tom hangs out with his “absolute joy,” Tucker, a four-year-old greyhound. “I feel I have been blessed,” said Tom. “I have had two really great careers. I try very hard to feel grateful every day for that.”
Having visited the Kennedy Space Center twice, Tom still dreams of the moon and stars. He is currently reading a book about the voyage of Apollo 11. Who knows, maybe there will be a third career for Tom in the sky after all.