“I look forward to the opportunities and challenges of this position and am excited to join the South Carolina team,” Ray said. “My passion for fire service training is long standing, and I believe we can work together to continue and advance fire service training in South Carolina.”
The Fire Academy’s mission is to provide statewide training for South Carolina fire service personnel: paid, volunteer, airport crash rescue firefighters, industrial fire brigade and other emergency response personnel. The Fire Academy provides basic and advanced training for firefighters, fire officers, instructors and fire department support functions, which include public fire education, fire prevention, inspections and fire investigations.
Chief Ray began his fire service career in 1984 and worked through the ranks of career and volunteer organizations serving from firefighter to chief. He also served six years as Mayor of the Town of Pleasant View. Ray currently serves as Chief of the Pleasant View Volunteer Fire Department and as Associate Director of Public Fire Protection for the National Fire Sprinkler Association.
“We are excited for Chief Ray to join our team in South Carolina,” S.C. State Fire Marshal Adolf Zubia said. “South Carolina firefighters are anxious to welcome him and look forward to his innovative training ideas that will help South Carolina lead the nation in training.”
Chief Ray is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government fellowship program, the University of Maryland’s Leadership Development Program, and the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He was selected as Fire Chief Magazine’s Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year for 2005, Eastern Kentucky University’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award for 2006, and is the Tennessee Fire Chief of the Year 2011.
Chief Ray currently serves as Chairman of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Legislative Committee, Chairman of the Tennessee Fire Service Coalition, and is International Director for the Volunteer & Combination Officers Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.