Hi, I’m Billy Schmidt and welcome to FireGroundWorks. I like to think of this site as a place where ideas and creativity meet people who are trying to operate safer and get better. The world is filled with challenge and uncertainty, and the real task is to develop leaders who are adaptable, agile and able to help organizations and communities survive and grow in an unpredictable environment. The “fire ground” is a complex and dangerous place, one that can provide leadership lessons on principles practiced at the point of intensity: where lives can be lost. The leadership insights I have uncovered working in this risk-filled setting are simple but bold; they are principles and practices that inform and can be applied to any organization or everyday life setting. At FGWs, you will see information and posts on leadership, learning, performance and professional development as well as general thoughts on the world around us. It is my desire to continue learning while sharing what I learn along the way.
I hope you enjoy visiting my site and come back often.
I live in South Florida, and when I’m not working as a firefighter, teaching, or writing I’m reading, traveling, and discovering the world with my wife Denise. I have two sons that make my life more exciting every day. Both are servant leaders; one serves in law enforcement and the other serves in the military. I started this site in 2011 because I wanted to talk to people about sensible things that can help us in our lives. I became interested in sensemaking and leadership from my experience in the fire service, where leadership and life are placed on the line so that others may live. My hope is that the site will grow from there.
I am a 29-year member of the fire service where I have worked in a variety of positions and witnessed many life-changing events. Also in my working life, I have practiced the craft of plastering, cared for sick and injured patients on air ambulance flights, instructed students in emergency medical services and firefighting, and managed the air travel operations for a famous singer and author.
Presently, I am a chief fire officer leading and managing some of the best firefighters, paramedics, and officers at Palm Beach County (Florida) Fire Rescue. I’m also writing, creating, and delivering learning programs that focus on leadership, performance, and training that are relevant to all organizations.
I may be reached at
This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of any my employers. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.