Leadership & More

Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer


Audrey Fraizer

Maybe it was the company they were keeping that morning.

Maybe it was the casual atmosphere.

Maybe it was the breakfast served buffet style.

Most likely, it’s the recognition that Communication Center Manager (CCM) course graduates are all part of something big.

“I can’t think of a more noble profession than what you are doing,” said Jerry Overton, President, International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAED). “Attending CCM shows the commitment of everyone in this room.”

As graduates claim again and again, CCM is a life-changing program.

“From day one it was amazing,” said Theresa Bryce, Supervisor, Hudson Massachusetts (USA) Police Department. “Everybody should take the course, not just managers. There’s so much personal insight you gain. All of it together leads you in directions you never anticipated.”

Bryce was sitting among peers from around the country at an “exclusive” reception hosted by the IAED in honor of the CCM graduates before the official start of NAVIGATOR. It was an event giving alumni and recent graduates the chance to catch up and discuss the ways CCM has enriched their lives and the centers at which they work.

Bryce signed up for the course because of her management position and based on the “high fives” from co-workers who had attended the course.

“They said it was life-changing, and it truly was,” she said. “And that’s what I say to others from our center who ask about my experience. It was truly welcoming and inspiring.”

CCM, sponsored by the IAED and Fitch & Associates, offers courses in management and leadership through a curriculum that covers human resources, finances, customer service and media relations, operations, administration, legal issues, managing technology, and emerging issues. Students meet twice for weeklong on-site sessions and also off-site through the CCM online portal. Group projects presented at the end of the course tackle problem-solving strategies for issues common to participants.

That’s the strength of CCM, said Deann MacLeod, Manager, Kingman Fire Department, Kingman, Arizona (USA). “You’re not alone. You are surrounded by professionals with the same concerns. Somebody has done it before, and they have the advice you might need.”

Relationships forged through CCM continue well beyond the classroom. Networking is a guaranteed bonus that not only validates what you’re doing but, also, what you can achieve.

Barbara Immel, Communication Director, Baptist Ambulance – Priority Ambulance, Memphis, Tennessee (USA), said the networking is invaluable, especially during the past year since Priority Ambulance and Baptist Memorial Health Care partnered to streamline patient transfer processes throughout the health care’s hospitals and 911 service areas. A dispatch center is located with nurses in the Baptist Patient Placement Center.

“I have a passion for dispatch and all things PDC [Priority Dispatch Corp.],” said Immel, who started in dispatch 15 years ago at Whitfield County E-911, Georgia (USA). “The same applies to the people attending CCM. We love what we do. We want the best for our communities.”

There’s also the confidence to reach goals discovered through CCM.

Angela Burrer, Communications Chief, Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, Houston, Texas (USA), was the first from her agency to attend CCM shortly after operations moved to accommodate anticipated growth. Cy-Fair covers a 165-square-mile area in unincorporated northwest Harris County and receives over 15,000 emergency responses each year.

“The fire chief wanted to put more tools in the communication toolbox,” said Burrer, a 2014 CCM graduate. “CCM touched on all the tools and motivated me to broaden my base.”

In 2018, Burrer completed a master’s degree from Tarleton State University, Texas.

“CCM got me out of my space and into the space of others,” she said. “I now have connections from all over the world.”

Online registration at fitchassoc.com/communication-center-manager-program/ begins July 16. On-site classes held in San Antonio, Texas, are scheduled the weeks of Aug. 19–24 and Oct. 7–12. For more information, contact Sharon Conroy (sconroy@fitchassoc.com) with Fitch & Associates at 816-431-2600.