Executive Board

  • Southeast Regional Director - Brenda Brooks
  • Southeast Region 1ST Vice Director - Rita Francis
  • Southeast Region 2ND Assistant Director - Freddie Brooks
  • Southeast Region Recording Secretary - Keisha Wilson
  • Southeast Region Corresponding Secretary - Sabrina Potter
  • Southeast Region Treasurer - David Brooks
  • Southeast Region Sergeant-At-Arms - Stefan Gansert


Director

Single mother of two (one deceased) and grandmother of six. Worked for Orange County Fire for 36 years, and now retired.  Has a love for animals and enjoys the weather in Florida.

Director Brooks has been a member of the IABPFF for 34 years working in several positions on  the Local, Regional and International boards. Attended conventions 1985 – to present, only missing one in 23 years, and have only missed four Southeast regional meetings. 1985-1987: Member of the PFACF, wrote and received $95000.00 grant for smoke detector program.

Director Brooks prepared herself for leadership positions in the organization by promoting within Orange County Fire, and with the acceptance of mentorship from Leroy Norwood, Theodore Holmes, and Romeo Spaulding. This has led to her leadership of the Southeast Region Directors position.

 Organizational Positions!

Progressive Firefighters Association of Central Florida

  • President
  • Vice-President

Black Women In Fire Service:

  • Director
  • Financial Secretary

Southeast Region:

  • Southeast Region Director
  • First Vice Director
  • Second Vice-Director
  • News Letter Editor
  • Meeting Planner

International Association of Black Professional Firefighters:

  • Financial Secretary
  • Meeting Planner

 


1ST Vice Director

Rita M. Francis, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, received her education in the Baltimore City public schools system. She attended James Madison University, and earned certificates as an Emergency Medical and Cardiac Rescue Technician from the Community College of Baltimore. Ms. Francis started her career in the emergency services arena with the Rockingham County Volunteer Fire Department, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She secured employment as an Emergency Medical Technician and Dispatcher for a private ambulance service and in 1986 joined the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department, Baltimore County, Maryland.

In 1989, Ms. Francis became a dispatcher with the Howard County Bureau of Communications in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she dispatched fire, rescue, EMS, and police personnel. She is trained in hostage negotiation, domestic violence intervention, and is a national and Maryland State certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher. She was also  a twenty-five year member of the Howard County Critical Incident Stress Management Team.

Ms. Francis has been a member of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) since 1992. On the Executive Board of her local chapter, The Phoenix Sentinels of Howard County, Maryland, she has served as 2nd Vice-President and Secretary. She has also served as the Corresponding Secretary of Black Women in the Fire Service, an affiliate of the IABPFF. Ms. Francis has served as the Corresponding Secretary for the IABPFF from 2008 to 2018. She was the Corresponding Secretary for the South East Region of the IABPFF from 2001 to 2015, and is currently the First Vice-Director for the South East Region of the IABPFF.  In 2006 Ms. Francis was presented with an Outstanding Service Award, and in 2012 she was awarded a MOMS pin from the IABPFF.

Ms. Francis is the proud mother of a son, Darius Staten, and resides with her significant other, Frederick Cotton in Memphis, TN.

 


2ND Assistant Director

An experienced Fire Service Leader whose professional responsibility expands into areas of public education, public speaking, motivational leadership and decision-making.  Competent and knowledgeable in all phases of Fire Service Management as it relates to Fire Suppression, with specific expertise in Fire Prevention & Safety. 

Professionally trained by Dr. Carl Homes, creator of the Executive Development Institute, the National Fire Academy, the University of Memphis and Chattanooga State Technical Community College to conduct Research and Planning that forecast long-range department goals.  As an instructor, I have contributed pertinent information to the Executive Development Institute overall organizational plan, which has impacted thousands of individuals and their corresponding fire departments, as well as, their Fire Safety Management Division goals. 

Provide guidance on Developing Fire & Life Safety Strategies to Fire Chiefs, Fire Marshal, City Officials, Fire Protection Engineers, Fire Plans Examiners, Public Education Officers, Fire Inspectors, and Fire Service personnel, Architects, Code Enforcement Officers and business owners.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 

City of Chattanooga Fire Department – July 3, 1987 – Present

 An experienced Fire Service Leader whose professional responsibility expands into areas of public education, public speaking, motivational leadership and decision-making.

 INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK  PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS

  Joined the Brothers United, Chattanooga, TN. In 1987

·Served as President for (4) years        

DEGREE STUDIES/CONTINUING EDUCATION

Chattanooga State Community College

Fire Science Technology  A.A.S.

University of Memphis

– Bachelors of Professional Studies

Fire Administration/Fire Prevention Technology B.P.S.

National Fire Academy

 – Fire Prevention & Life Safety Education

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS: 

  • National Fire Protection Association
  • National Fire Academy Alumna Association
  • National Fire and Life Safety Educator
  • Home Safety Council

 COMMUNITY RELATIONS ACTIVITIES:  

  • Board of Directors for Generation (H.O.P.E.) Male Mentoring Program Inc.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee (Wish Granter)
  • 2nd Vice-Director Southeast Region 
  • Founding member of The 100 Black Men of Chattanooga
  • Community Relation Coordination (I.A.B.P.F.F.)

General Colin Powell’s America’s Promise

East 5th Street Child Care Center Board of Directors

Event Coordinator for Blood Assurance (Bone Marrow Drive)

Director for Black Achievers Henry Branch Y.M.C.A.

Center for Missing and Exploited Children (Take 25) 

  • Mentoring at Howard School for Males

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  

  • Developed a National community outreach program to address fire and life safety across the country
  • Listed as a faculty of the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy

 


Treasurer

Chattanooga native, David Brooks is a Captain for the Chattanooga Fire Department.  Captain Brooks has been with the Chattanooga Fire Department since 1996, rising through the ranks while holding a number of vital positions at the department.

Captain Brooks is currently assigned to Station #4 in the heart of East Chattanooga.  His previous assignments included Assistant Chief-Fire Marshal and an Assistant Fire Marshal in the Fire Prevention Bureau, and Fire Safety Educator.  He is a national and state certified fire inspector and is also a member of the National Fire Protection Association.  He serves as an executive board member in several organizations and committees. Captain Brooks serves as the treasurer for the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters(IABPFF) South East Region and is an executive board member of the local chapter of the IABPFF, Brothers United-Chattanooga Chapter.  He is a board member of the MLK Weed and Seed, the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America, and the Department of Justice Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program. He volunteers much of his time mentoring at several inner city schools and provides career building and life training skills to troubled teenagers.   Captain Brooks spends many evenings lecturing to area neighborhood associations, promoting fire safety and awareness.  He has earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee. 

Captain Brooks has played an intricate role in and served as a facilitator for the City of Chattanooga Public Safety Education programs.  Captain Brooks enjoys mentoring and assisting the elderly and underprivileged in his community.  He received the United Way 2007 Volunteer of the Year Award for his invaluable involvement with the local United Way.  He also received the 2004 and 2008 Firefighter of the Year Award for his extensive community involvement.

 


Recording Secretary

Single mother of five. Has been working for Miami Dade Fire  Rescue for 24 ½ years.  Has a love for instructing and swimming.

Keisha Wilson has been a member of the IABPFF for 24 ½ years working in several positions on  the Local, Regional and International boards. In addition to her employment with Miami Dade Fire Rescue, she holds certifications as:

  • Instructor
  • Driver’s Training Instructor
  • Recruiter
  • CPAT Proctor (IAFF Candidate Physical Abilities Test)
  • Engineer Operator for:
    • Pumper
    • Squirt (Combination Pumper and Aerial Apparatus)
    • Aerial
    • QRV (Quick Reaction Vehicle That is an All Terrain Pumper)
    • Swimming Instructor
    • Scuba Diver (Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Certified)
    • Lifeguard
    • Hazardous Materials Certified
    • Air Truck Certified

Keisha Wilson has also volunteered with Local 1403 with their “Toys For Kids” Drive for over 20 years.

Organizational Positions!

Progressive Firefighters Association Charities Inc.

  • Recording Secretary
  • Executive Board Member
  • 40TH Anniversary Committee
  • Recruiting Committee

Black Women In Fire Service:

  • Member

Southeast Region:

  • Recording Secretary (2 Consecutive Terms)

International Association of Black Professional Firefighters:

  • Recording Secretary

 


Corresponding Secretary

Sabrina M. Potter, considers her most outstanding achievement to be that she is the mother of 4, ages 43, 40, 37, 33, adoptive mother of 4 ages 38, 37, 34, 34, and Nana of 15. Mrs. Potter retired from Ormond Beach Fire Department November 22, 2006 due to Ventricular Ectopy and the complications thereof. Sabrina, appealed an order from the Judge of Compensation Claims, denying her claim for impairment benefits for her work related Ventricular Ectopy, her appealed case was won.

This Case set a precedence for all Firefighters. To read more go to: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/data2/floridastatecases/app/app1_10_2005/04-4636.pdf

Sabrina, is a many faceted entrepreneur, who strongly supports studies in Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity in the Fire Service. She is the First and currently the last, Black Female to hold the rank of Firefighter/Paramedic for the City of Ormond Beach, Florida Fire Department. Sabrina, obtained her Degree in Emergency Medical Services in 1998, and went on to become a State of Florida Fire Inspector and State of Florida Certified Pump Operator. 

Sabrina began her career as a Part-Time temporary Firefighter/EMT for the City of Jacksonville’s Port Authority at Craig Airfield. Sabrina served as a volunteered Firefighter with the City of Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department while continuing her training and raising her family. In 2005 Sabrina, became a representative for Essence of Fire, Inc. the first and currently the only Female Firefighter Calendar that features Women of Color in the Fire Service. In 2006 Mrs. Potter became the Vice President of Essence of Fire, Inc. which afforded the opportunity to combine her endeavors of bring Fire Service Females together while aiding in providing resources to at Risk Children in inner cities. Sabrina is a lifetime active member of the IABPFF who volunteers her talents in organizational service, recruitment of new members and Chapter Start-ups for the IABPFF and BWFS. Sabrina has been with the Organization since 1994

Organizational Positions!

Black Women In Fire Service:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Recording Secretary
  • Corresponding Secretary

Southeast Region:

  • Corresponding Secretary
  • SER Election Chair
  • Registration Chair

International Association of Black Professional Firefighters:

  • Election Chair

 


Sergeant-At-Arms

Stefan Gansert Sr. started his fire service career in 1985 as a volunteer  firefighter at the Chapel Oaks Fire Department in Prince Georges County Maryland. The only all black volunteers Fire Department in the USA and still today is All black. In 1994, he transitioned to the career fire service in the Fairfax  County Fire Department. Stefan spent more than 3 decades as a firefighter for Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department serving as a firefighter, Master Boat Captain . He served as the second only Black Master Boat Captain for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department from 2007 till 2014 before being promoted to Fire Lieutenant and transferred to the Fire and Rescue Academy, where he became lieutenant in charge of Drivers Training Coordinator.

Stefan has an Associate’s Degree in Business and a certificate in Total Quality Management from the University of Maryland University College. He has attended many courses at the National Fire Academy and University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.

Stefan is a well respected among firefighters in Fairfax City and County and also Prince George’s County for his professionalism and his ability to build strong relations between career firefighters and volunteers. During his time as the Drivers Training Coordinator in Fairfax County, Stefan was recognized for reducing Department accidents, developing Driver Improvement Program for career firefighters and civilians personnel. In previous leadership roles in the County, his service included assignments in Fire Operations, SAR Specialists Technician, Basic Training and Drivers Training.

In June 1992 Stefan join the IABPFF and became a member of Progressive Firefighters Association of Fairfax County VA. Stefan became a strong advocate of Firefighter Safety and works with to improve health/ firefighter safety.  In 1999 became an Executive Board member For Progressive Firefighters Association of Fairfax County VA. His  chapter is one of  the strongest chapters in International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.  In April 2012, Stefan became the first volunteer firefighter to become Firefighter Of The Year for Prince George’s County Fire and Rescue Department. 

Organizational Positions!

Volunteer Chapel Oaks:

  • Volunteer Safety Division Chief for Prince Georges County
  • Deputy chief 
  • Captain
  • Lieutenant

Fairfax Count Fire and Rescue

  • Lieutenant
  • TROT (Tactical Rescue Operations Team)
  • Fire Boat Captain
  • Truck Driver
  • Rescue Driver
  • Engine Driver
  • Firefighter

Progressive Firefighters Association of Fairfax County

  • Recording Secretary
  • Sergeant-At-Arms
  • Drivers Committee
  • Safe Kids Day Committee
  • Coat Drive Committee
  • Toy Drive Committee
  • Lieutenants Study Committee

Southeast Region

  • Sergeant-At-Arms

International Association of Black Professional Firefighters

  • Volunteer Liaison Committee Chair