Roanoke Firefighter Advancing Leadership Skills Through Online Public Administration Degree Program Student Profile
Meet Drew Abel
- Job Title & Employer
- First Lieutenant, City of Roanoke Fire-EMS Department
- Public Administration
- Fire Service Administration
- April 2021
- Glenshaw, Pa.
- High School
- Shaler Area High School
- Now Living In
- Roanoke, Va.
- Dream Job
- Fire Chief/Deputy Fire Chief
- Hobbies & Interests
- Hunting and camping
"First Lieutenant Drew Abel is an accomplished fire officer with Roanoke Fire-EMS and a leader that is making a difference within the organization and the community. He knows the value of education and how to balance that with the essentials of hands-on experience. Drew is a graduate of the Virginia Fire Officers Academy, holds his Fire Officer III certification and shows no signs of slowing down. He is the FACE of the department. I am very honored to have him within our leadership staff."
"As I continue to progress through the public administration program, I am certain I will continue to learn important lessons that I will combine with my tenure in the fire-EMS field to be a more competent and knowledgeable leader. Completion of my degree will allow me to be a strong candidate for future promotional opportunities."
As a first lieutenant at Station 5 in Roanoke, Va., why did you choose our online public administration program?
Point Park is an accredited university with a fully online public administration program through the Rowland School of Business. I have several close friends who graduated from this program and have highly regarded the instruction they received and its application to their careers in public safety. The trifecta of having an accredited university with a fully online program endorsed by graduates with whom I highly respect, as well as having roots to my beloved hometown of Pittsburgh, made enrolling at Point Park one of the easiest decisions I have faced.
How have our public administration classes and faculty helped you with the work you do?
I have worked in the emergency services field for 21 years and felt as though I had a good grasp of what it takes to be a leader in my profession. However, the education I have received thus far through the various business, management and core curriculum classes have proven that I still have much to learn.
I have learned through the successes and failures, ethical and moral dilemmas of the business and political worlds, both past and present, how to be a more effective leader in the fire-EMS service field. As I continue to progress through the public administration program, I am certain I will continue to learn important lessons that I will combine with my tenure in the fire-EMS field to be a more competent and knowledgeable leader. Completion of my degree will allow me to be a strong candidate for future promotional opportunities.
What do you love most about working in the fire service/EMS field?
What I love most about my job is that I get to help people every day. Each day, I have an opportunity to make a difference for the citizens and visitors I serve in the City of Roanoke. I pride myself in my problem-solving abilities and how I approach the challenges presented to me with both innovative solutions and time-proven methodology. In addition to the citizens I serve, I also serve the firefighters I work with on a daily basis. I take immense satisfaction in helping them advance in their careers and mentoring them into the future leaders of our department.
What tips do you have for our online students who are balancing family and full-time work with school?
First, communication! Discuss this with your family and supervisors. You are the one taking the class, but do not underestimate how this may affect others as there is a time commitment. You will need the support of your family and your co-workers to be successful in this program.
Budget your time wisely. Working a 24-hour shift schedule affords me several days off per week. When my youngest child started going to school all day, this was then the right time for me to enroll as I now have ample time to complete my weekly classwork.
Start slow. Enroll in one class so that you understand the online format and how this demand will affect your personal and professional life. As a returning college student after a 20-year hiatus, a lot has changed since I last attended college. However, I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to pick up where I left off and move forward with completing my degree. I attribute most of this to the welcoming and accommodating atmosphere of Point Park online.
Finally, you are not in this alone. Use all the great resources available to you that Point Park offers such as the Center for Student Success, academic advisors and your class professors. All these great resources will aid you in making decisions on everything from what class to take and an appropriate course load to information about financial aid. I have yet to have a question or an issue that they have not been able to resolve in a timely and efficient manner.