The Midwest’s Best 14 Fire Science Instructors

Those seeking an education in fire science should learn from the very best. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top 14 fire science instructors in the Midwest. Each has proven their worth through certification, reputation, rank, and more.

Dan Krakora College of DuPage

Krakora spent 20 years with Darien/Woodridge Fire Protection District before returning to The College of DuPage. He's an Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal Fire Officer I, Instructor II, Illinois Department of Public Health Licensed Paramedic & EMS Lead Instructor, and AHA Instructor. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Benedictine University.

Darrell Mendenhall Indiana University-Bloomington

Mendenhall joined the Indiana faculty following years of duty in the Fire Service. He is an instructor for the IAFF peer fitness program and helped develop the Indianapolis Fire Department incumbent work-capacity test program.

Dean Martin The University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute

Current director of the Fire Cause Determination Training Program, Martin was part of the Missouri Task Force 1, a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team that responded to the destruction of the World Trade Center. He is a licensed paramedic and certified Fire Investigator.

Eric Evans The University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute

Evans was with the Missouri State Emergency Management for 13 years, serving as hazards planner, hazardous materials program coordinator and state training officer. He is an adviser to the FEMA Emergency Management Institute.

Gary Kistner Southern Illinois University

Kistner, Program Coordinator and Director of Graduate Studies of Fire Service Management, joined the SIU faculty in 2005. His classes have included Risk Management in the Fire Service, Governmental Aspects in the Fire Service, Labor Relations in the Fire Service, Professional Development in the Fire Service, and Public Management in Fire Service and Homeland Security.

James Redd Indiana University-Bloomington

Lt. Redd, an Indianapolis Fire Department, 13-year veteran, currently is posted to Rescue Squad at Station 10. He teaches Flashover for IFD and the FDIC-Indy conference.

Julie Brady Waukesha County Technical College

Brady holds certifications as an AHA instructor and provider for BLS, PALS, ACLS, EP, NREMT-P. She earned her BSN at Marquette University.

Lee Smith Southwestern Illinois College

Smith is assistant professor and coordinator of the fire science program at SWIC. He has served at Fire Chief of the Freeburg Fire Protection District since 1979 and formerly was the building inspector for the Hazelwood Fire Department in Missouri.

Nancy Thomas Kansas City Kansas Community College

Dr. Thomas created and served in Kansas Fire Marshall’s Office arson canine program and investigated fires for 17 years. At KCKCC she serves as Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Fire Science.

James D. Austad Fox Valley Technical College

James Austad is a 25 year veteran of the fire service spending the past 20 years with the Oshkosh Fire Department. He is the Battalion Chief in charge of the emergency medical services division for the Oshkosh Fire Department. He also is the Paramedic Program Director/Clinical Coordinator for Fox Valley Technical College.

Richard C. Monto Bowling Green State University, State Fire School

Chief Monto began his career in 1982 as a volunteer firefighter with the Maumee Fire Division. He was a paramedic for nine years and was promoted to Lieutenant of Heavy Rescue in 1992 and Fire Chief in 2003.

Rick Loveland Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Loveland, CTS Fire Coordinator, served 12 years as a firefighter with the City of Moorhead and has been a registered EMT since 1992. He has a Diploma in aircraft firefighting from Lake Superior College in Duluth.

Samuel A. Giordano Harper College

Professor Giordano holds Fire Officer III, Fire Instructor III, Incident Safety Officer, Hazardous Materials Specialist certifications from the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal. He is an Illinois Licensed Paramedic, EMS Lead Instructor and Advanced Cardiac Life Support Specialist.

Terry Heyns Lake Superior State University

Professor Heyns holds a National Certification as a Fire Service Instructor. He has also completed requirements for certifications with the Professional Fire Service Qualifications Board.