Chief-Portrait_Web.jpgCareer Chief of the Year, Timothy A. Bantes, is described as follows by Grand Chute Town Administrator James March:

“Grand Chute is a growing community with unique challenges. It takes a unique combination of services to keep the community safe and provide the around-the- clock coverage it demands. Chief Bantes has met that challenge and continue to look at all means of public safety delivery not only for the present, but for the future as well.

In addition to his service to Grand Chute as Fire Chief for the past decade, Chief Bantes previously served as a Company Officer and Firefighter with the Marinette Fire Department, as well as a Firefighter with the Menominee Fire Department in Michigan. He has been a longstanding and active advocate for public safety on the local, regional, and state level as a member of numerous committees and organization, and currently serves as the President of the Outagamie County Fire Chiefs Association, and First Vice President of the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association. Chief Bantes humbly accepted the award, citing the commitment to excellence displayed by the members of the Grand Chute Fire Department, as well as the support from his wife Rhonda, their nine adult children, and nine grandchildren as the deeds most worthy of recognition."



2017 COTY Kevin BierceCareer Chief of the Year, Kevin Bierce, is described as follows by Assistant Fire Chief Mark Hoppe of Pewaukee Fire Department:

"Chief Bierce has set the bar high in regards to involvement with groups and associations that work at large to improve Wisconsin emergency services. Chief Bierce has served on the State Chiefs Board as a Trustee and President, he is currently President of the Waukesha County Chiefs Association, and the MABAS board President, appointed by the Governor and currently serving on the Wisconsin Homeland Security Council and the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code Council. Chief Bierce also finds the time to play an active role on the Waukesha County Technical College Advisory Committee and the not for profit community group, Positively Pewaukee which promotes tourism. Chief Bierce is a responsible, motivated, and professional Fire Chief and a fire service leader in the State of Wisconsin. He is well known and respected by his peers, members of the City and Village of Pewaukee, and our neighboring agencies."


2017 COTY Bruce DePeauVolunteer Chief of the Year, Bruce DePeau, is described as follows by Assistant Fire Chief Duane Opicka of Casco Fire Department:

"Bruce is the backbone of the Casco Fire Department and takes great pride in making sure each individual firemen is trained and qualified. He personally holds individual training sessions on nights and weekends besides monthly training, so that every firemen is knowledgeable and trained. He accomplishes this with a department of 28 volunteers, and many asking and waiting to join, in a village of 600.

He makes sure all of the equipment is up to date and in fine working condition. What is truly amazing is that he accomplishes all of this with an annual budget under $18,000 and does not receive compensation for MABAS/mutual aid calls. His volunteers do not receive compensation for the average of 30 calls a year, and still he keeps them eagerly learning and committed. A true maverick in the volunteer profession."


Career Fire Chief
Edward Janke from Howard Fire Department

Janke_Ed_COTY.jpgCareer Chief of the Year, Ed Janke, is described as follows by Retired Assistant Fire Chief Don Phillips of Howard Fire Department:

"Chief Janke may be the most dedicated public safety professional I have had the pleasure to work with in my 34 years in public safety. He is a life-long learner and a quality person in many ways. He is intelligent, principled, and a person of true integrity. I believe his most significant assets are his communication and leadership abilities. Under his leadership, the Howard Fire Department has become one of the most respected fire agencies in this region. Additionally, Chief Janke has brought previously disparate local agencies together under an automatic aid agreement. He repeatedly demonstrates his ability to bring individuals and groups together for a common cause while his leadership qualities instill the highest level of professionalism in those around him."

Volunteer Fire Chief
Greg Hlinak from Kewaunee Fire Department

Hlinak_Greg_COTY.jpgVolunteer Chief of the Year, Greg Hlinak, is described as follows by Assistant Fire Chief Paul Nimmer of Kewaunee Fire Department:

"I am honored to recommend Greg Hlinak for the prestigious WSFCA Fire Chief of the Year Award. I cannot think of a more qualified candidate to be honored in this way. As Kewaunee Assistant Chief, I believe that I can speak to Greg's skills and qualifications concerning this award.

I know that the award is given to candidates who are trustworthy and who have given back to the community. In so many ways, Greg has proven himself a worthy contender by earning trust amongst the people and firefighters of the community. I have yet to meet someone as selfless and hardworking as Greg and I know that his dedication to the fire service is absolute and unceasing."