Since I was a little kid, I’ve hated formal clothing and to this day look suspiciously for the substance behind the appearance of a formally dressed person. The sneakers with my business attire was a mini-rebellion. A bullying appearance-oriented politician tried to pressure my boss into forcing me to wear leather shoes. I refused because I had insisted on making my choice of attire part of my employment contract. That’s when firefighters nicknamed me Chief Reebok.

About Jim Sparr

 Jim Sparr holds a BA in education and a master’s degree in urban affairs from Wichita State University. As an adjunct instructor, he taught fire science classes at Hutchinson Kansas Community College and Wichita State University. Jim has worked as a fire chief in Wichita, Kansas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has also owned and operated a consulting company specializing in fire, police, EMS, and emergency management. Jim is a past president of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs and a lifetime member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.


“Leadership meant telling people where we wanted to be and why, then staying out of the way while they planned the route.”