Division Chief of Logistics, Northwest Fire District, Tucson, Arizona
Major: Fire Service Technology
Class Year: 2000
Since earning her associate’s degree in Fire Service Technology from Parkland College in 2000, Northwest Fire District Chief of Logistics Cheryl Horvath has served two decades of an illustrious career, highlighted by a high-profile rescue and dedicated promotion of women leadership in the fire/emergency service profession.
Horvath holds a Bachelor of Science in Program Management from the University of Illinois. She began working as a full-time firefighter in Illinois in 1992, serving with Urbana Fire Rescue Service where she was promoted to Company Officer (a position she served in for nine years). She also trained firefighters as a field instructor for the Illinois Fire Service Institute for 15 years.
In 2006, she moved to Arizona, joining Tuscon’s Northwest Fire District and working her way up the ranks. After serving two years in Training and three years in Operations, Horvath was assigned to head the Logistics Division. Logistics units provide crucial support to fire department operations by acquiring and maintaining fire/EMS vehicles, equipment, and facilities. They also procure and distribute the supplies and materials needed for day-to-day fire service functions.
"The Parkland College Fire Service Technology Program provided me with cognitive knowledge, adding depth to my fire service training and preparing for these promotional opportunities," she said. "The American fire service embraces degree programs as important steps in officer professional development, and Parkland's program compliments that effort."
The Northwest Fire District, an internationally accredited fire service agency, operates 11 fire stations, covers a response area of 140 square miles, and serves a population of 120,000. NWFD was the first responding fire/EMS agency to the January 8, 2011 shootings in Tucson involving then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The district’s firefighters provided lifesaving ALS care to 13 shooting victims, who all survived the tragedy.
A strong proponent of women as firefighters, Chief Horvath is past president of the board of trustees for the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services (www.i-women.org
). She receives “phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages from women all over the world, asking for guidance and advice” on firefighter issues and pursuits. For the past five summers, she has worked with other local women firefighters to coordinate a fire camp in Tucson for high school girls age 13 to 17. The camp, initially funded through a grant from the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, is sponsored by Northwest Fire District, Tucson Fire Department, and the Saguaro Girl Scout Council. Camp Fury is a national program available through local Girl Scout councils.
Chief Horvath is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs-Fire Rescue International, where she serves on the Program Planning Committee. She also serves on the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council Board of Directors; as a board member on the January 8th Memorial Foundation; and on the Imagine Greater Tucson Leadership Council. She was the recipient of the 2010 YWCA Women on the Move Award for her service to the greater Tucson community.
This lifelong learner is currently pursuing in a master’s degree in public administration from Anna Maria College.