Palm Coast - Palm Coast Fire Chief Jerry Forte was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Florida Fire Instructor Conference on Thursday, presenting on "Empowering Employees." The conference was hosted by the Florida State Fire College in Ocala.

Chief Forte's conference presentation focused on the importance of empowering employees to make the organization successful. Since becoming Chief, he has implemented a number of changes, challenging employees to be part of the department's leadership by utilizing team concepts. He empowers firefighters to take ownership of department's structure and allows them to create solutions for organizational challenges. Chief Forte believes in creating a climate that allows employees to reach their full potential.

"We need to find subject matter experts, give them the ability to assemble like people for a team, try something new and unconventional, and challenge them to step up without the fear of discipline from failure," Chief Forte said.

The Florida Fire Instructor Conference brings together leaders within the fire service from across the state. Attendees took part in a two-day conference in which they learned about various topics to enrich their departments and training centers.

Florida State Fire College is operated by the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training, which approves Florida's firefighter training curricula, provides training to Florida's emergency services providers and certifies Florida fire service members to ensure they meet industry-based standards.

Forte became Palm Coast's Fire Chief last September after serving as Deputy Chief for nine years. He started as a Palm Coast volunteer firefighter in 1990, becoming a career member as a firefighter/EMT in 1992 and then rising through the ranks.

For more information, contact Patrick Juliano, Fire Public Information Officer, at pjuliano@palmcoastgov.com and 386-986-2488.