John Rukavina began his fire service career as a firefighter in Roseville, Minnesota in 1972. While serving as a firefighter in Roseville, he earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1976, practiced law briefly, then joined the staff of the University of Minnesota’s Fire Information, Research and Education (FIRE) Center. He joined the staff of St. Paul Fire Chief Steve Conroy in 1980, was appointed Fire Chief in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1984, interim City Manager of St. Joseph in early 1986, and then Fire Chief of Asheville, North Carolina from November, 1986 until May, 2000.
From May, 2000 until the end of June, 2008, he was Director of Public Safety for Wake County (Raleigh), North Carolina, where he was responsible for management of unincorporated-area fire protection, EMS, crime scene investigation, emergency management and criminal justice planning for Wake County and its 800,000+ residents. He’s currently director of a consulting practice, Public Fire Safety Services.
Rukavina has completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, and was selected as a FEMA Fellow for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Program for State and Local Officials in 1991. He has taught in both field and on-campus programs for the National Fire Academy. In August, 2000, he received an IAFC President’s Award for his work in national fire code development with the International Fire Code Institute. In January, 2006, he returned to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a participant in KSG’s second National Preparedness Leadership Initiative program. In November, 2007, he was granted Chief Fire Officer designation by CFAI.