Fire Chief

FIRE & EMS SERVICE CAREER

Robert L. Pursley, Jr., Ph.D. was sworn in as the Barberton Fire Chief in April 2020.  He began his more than 32-year career in a small combination fire department as a part-time firefighter/paramedic and was hired full-time by the Barberton Fire Department in 1992. He rose consistently through the ranks with a promotion to Lieutenant in 1998 and Captain/Shift Commander in 2013.

Chief Pursley has also served the department as the chairperson of the department’s Safety Committee, a Worker’s Compensation representative, grant writer, and Vice President of Barberton Firefighter’s Association, IAFF Local 329.  He was also a member of the Summit County Technical Rescue Operations Team for more than 22 years; and from 2002-2015, a member of Ohio Task Force 1 (OHTF-1). While serving on one of the federal Urban Search and Rescue Teams in the United States, he held several positions including Rescue Specialist, Rescue Squad Officer, and Technical Information Specialist. 

EDUCATION

  • Ph.D. Public Policy and Administration - Walden University
  • Master of Public Administration - Walden University
  • Bachelor of Science, Fire & Safety Engineering Technology - University of Cincinnati
  • Associate of Applied Science, Fire Science - Stark State College of Technology

TRAINING & CERTIFICATIONS 

  • National Fire Academy: Executive Fire Officer
  • State of Ohio: Fire Instructor, Firefighter II, Paramedic
  • Fire Officer I & II, III & IV
  • Barberton Community Leadership Institute, Class 3 Graduate

AWARDS

  • City of Barberton Employee of the Year, 2015
  • City of Barberton Recognition Commendation, 2015
  • Barberton Fire Department Letter of Commendation, 2015
  • Kiwanis Outstanding Service Award, September 2004
  • Rotary Club of Barberton Service Above Self Award, May 2001
  • Akron Children’s Hospital Squad of the Year Award, May 2001
  • State of Ohio Letter of Commendation, August 2001
  • Barberton Fire Department Letter of Commendation, May 2001
  • City of Barberton Formal Recognition of Service Award, 1999

PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

  • BACM Food Pantry Executive Board (Vice President)
  • Magic City Kiwanis
  • New Horizon Federal Credit Union Board of Directors-2011-2020 
  • Ohio Fire Chief’s Association Scholarship Committee- 2017-2019
  • Four Cities Educational Compact Advisory Board- 2013-2016
  • Summit County Special Operations Response Team Executive Board-2013-2016
  • Chapter of the American Red Cross Advisory Board- 2010-2012
  • Lake Anna YMCA Advisory Board- 2008-2010
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