Instructor Bios

Casey Carpenter


After high school I pursued a 4 year degree in Bachelors of Fire Science. Joined my local volunteer fire department where I rose to the ranks of captain. I was also a member of a search team on a hotel fire assignment where we rescued 4 people and received the Sulivan Brothers Award of Valor from Governor Terry Branstad. I then moved to Creston to be a shift commander for a combination fire department. I finished my time there as a Battalion Chief in charge of training. I am now the fire Chief of a combination department in Cherokee. I still ride a rescue engine in Creston as a part time Lieutenant. I have been instructing for the past 11 years. I travel with Customized Firefighter Training teaching live fire and hose handling amongst many other topics.

Michael Dozier


Michael Dozier is a Career Captain with Horry County Fire Rescue and has been in the Fire Service since 2006. He spent 4 years assigned to the HCFR Training Division serving as Lead Rookie School Instructor and is currently serving as House Captain on Squad 1 in the Socastee Community. His firehouse responds to 7000+ incidents per year. He was awarded the Paul W. Risher Jr Award in 2015 as South Carolina Academy Certified Instructor of the Year. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Columbia Southern University. He writes the Fire Service Blog “The Company Officer” and is passionate about Company Officer Leadership and Firehouse Culture.

LJay Geist


LJay Geist began his fire career as a volunteer in Oklahoma. After a couple of years as a volunteer he knew what he wanted, to become a career firefighter. 

He now holds the position of driver for the Garden City Fire Department stationed at the Downtown Firehouse #1.

February of 2023 marked his 14th year in the fire service. Over time he has gained great knowledge through building relationships outside of his department. He states that, “if not for those valuable relationships I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have so much more to learn and that comes from surrounding myself with the greats.” 

Besides his rank of driver, LJay is also part of the department’s wildland team. He is also a volunteer in the community he lives in. When he’s not at the firehouse or speaking at a conference you can find him in the stands at one of his kid’s sporting events. 

Mark Gregory


Mark Gregory has over 36 years of firefighting experience. He currently serves as the Captain of FDNY’s Ladder 176 (The TinHouse Truck). Previously, he served as a Captain in Queens’ 13th Division, a Lieutenant in Tower Ladder 111 (The Nuthouse Truck) and as a Firefighter in Brooklyn’s Rescue 2 and Ladder 132(The Eye of The Storm). Mark instructs for the FDNY Academy and is a Safety Officer for the Incident Management Team. He serves his community as a volunteer fire chief in his hometown of East Quogue, NY. He is a founding member of PL Vulcan and lectures thru-out the country.

David Mellen


David Mellen is a 23-year student of the fire service and has been a Paramedic for 17 years. David began his fire service experience as an Explorer with Lincoln Fire & Rescue and currently serves as a career Firefighter/Paramedic in a suburb of the Kansas City metro area as well as Captain with the Sherman Township Fire Department in Leavenworth County. He previously served as a lab instructor for the Johnson County Community College Fire Science Program and has sat on several review committees for fire training publications. David is an instructor at FDIC, Firehouse Expo, and several other state and local fire schools as well as the owner of Valor Fire Training.

Nebraska State Fire Marshal


The Fire Marshal’s office was organized on April 3, 1909 by a legislative act known as the Fire Commission Law. A. U. Johnson was appointed as the first State Fire Marshal with a staff of two deputies. Over the years the duties of the SFM office have evolved from safety inspections and fire investigations to include natural gas pipeline safety, aboveground and underground storage tank regulation, emergency responder training, hazardous materials response, fireworks licensing, fire alarm inspector licensing, building plan reviews and enforcement of accessibility guidelines. The current State Fire Marshal, Scott Cordes, oversees 65 full-time employees assigned to one of six divisions – Administrative, Enforcement, Investigations, Fuels, Plans Review and Training.

The Training Division is comprised of a Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal, six Training Specialists, a Staff Assistant and numerous part-time instructors. The Training Division operates a statewide training program for emergency responders, and is the only recognized source within the State of Nebraska for accredited firefighter professional certification, based on accreditation from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and the Fire Service Professional Qualifications System (ProBoard).


Dennis Reilly


Dennis Reilly is a forty-nine-year fire service veteran and is a retired Fire Chief and is the Owner of The First Line Fire Service Training Company LLC. Dennis has severed as the Fire Chief in Pittsburg, Kansas and Sunrise Beach, Missouri, an Assistant in North Carolina & California and retired as a Battalion Chief in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. During his time in New Jersey, Dennis became one of the original members of the New Jersey Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 1. As part of Task Force 1 the Chief made several deployments including to New York City as part of the response to the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11. Chief Reilly holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University and is a CFO.

An accomplished author and lecturer, Chief Reilly is active in numerous professional development activities within the fire service and has spoken at various events to include the Command Officers Boot Camp, the Orlando Fire Conference, the Atlanta Metro Fire Conference , the Louisiana Instructors & Firefighter Training (L.I.F.T.) conference and the Culture & Craft Seminar. Outside of his fire service career, Dennis is a US Army veteran having served in Iraq during the Operation Desert Storm. From 2007 – 2010 the Chief worked as an independent contractor providing protective services to several different government clients in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chief Reilly has been married to his wife Ann for over 35 years. They have two adult children, and three grandchildren

Denell Rhinehart


Denell began her EMS career in 2008 and has been a paramedic since 2012. She has worked for both private and city operated EMS systems in both professional and volunteer capacities. She began flying in 2017 and has served the states of Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota reservations with 3 different flight companies. She currently works for Air Methods and is based in Columbus, NE at LifeNet 1-3. She also currently serves as the assistant captain of her volunteer service Fullerton Rescue. Denell's EMS educator experience began in 2013 with EMT initial training and continuing education. Currently Denell serves as the Paramedicine Program Simulation Coordinator and Faculty at Central Community College in Grand Island, NE. Denell also serves on the NEMSA & NEAAMS boards, the Nebraska CISM Team, and the Nebraska Statewide EMS Conference Committee. Denell is a nationally registered paramedic, an internationally certified FP-C, holds a degree in Paramedicine from Central Community College, and by the end of 2023 will hold an AS degree of Paramedicine.

Jeff Rosencrance


Firefighter Paramedic for the last 17 years. Currently a shift Captian with Harrison Township Fire (Ashville OH) . I have been teaching for the last 5 years and truly giving back to the Fire service.

Chris Soda


Chris Soda is a 15-year member of the Chicago Fire Department where he is currently as relief Lieutenant. Chris also teaches at Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy (NIPSTA) where he is the program coordinator for the Vehicle Machinery Operations and Technician programs. In addition to teaching at NIPSTA, Chris has also been an instructor for the Chicago Fire Department, at the Quinn Fire Academy, teaching candidate firefighter’s vehicle extrication. Chris is the owner of Junk Yard Dog Extrication Training teaching Emergency Response to Electric Vehicles and vehicle extrication to first responders.

Twisted Fire Industries


Twisted Fire Industries is a strong willed like minded group of firefighters that pride themselves in bettering the firefighting community in training and education. These lessons will assist the communities being protected by students. The students will participate in practices to aid in the protection of life and property by thoroughly minimizing the impact of fire, and potential disasters or events that affect the communities in which they serve. Twisted Fire Industries will aggressively educate and spread the mantra associated with putting the people which we serve as the top priority at all times. Twisted Fire Industries will adventitiously work in the teaching of methods of resolving any situation which adversely impacts the quality of life of any and all persons.

Logan Watts


Logan Watts is a lifelong fire service student, first and foremost. He currently serves as a Firefighter/Paramedic out of Fire Station 1 in Grand Island, NE, where he is in his 5th year of service. Logan has served his Volunteer Department in Osceola, NE, for the past 12 years and is the department's training officer. Logan specializes in instructing Firefighter Survival, Rapid Intervention, and Search and Removal on the foreground. Logan is an active member of the Valor Fire Training Cadre and has been for the last 4 years.

Tim Zehnder


Tim has been in the Fire Service for 30 plus years. He was on the Truman Minnesota Fire and Rescue over 20 years and held every position from Firefighter to Chief.  He was an EMT for 22 years, MN State fire instructor for 16 years, and Fire Training program manager at MN college for 7 years.  He currently serves as the Director of Fire Science at Mid-Plains Community College in McCook, Nebraska since 2013.


Tim has served as a Paid on Call member of the McCook NE City Fire Department (Retired), past President of the Nebraska Society of Fire Service Instructors, and a past team member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors as a Live Fire Credential Instructor.

Tim has delivered multiple programs in the US and Alberta, Canada, as well as Co-Author of the Grain Bin Rescue video for Fire Engineering Books and Videos.

He is married with 3 daughters and 1 grandson, and is an avid hunter.

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