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College Station, Texas News

Passionate Fire Service Leader, Bruce Woods, Receives Prestigious Texas A&M University System Regents Fellow Service Award

Renowned for his unwavering commitment to the fire service, Bruce Woods has been honored with the Texas A&M University System 2023 Regents Fellow Service Award, a recognition bestowed upon 12 exceptional employees for their outstanding contributions to their agencies and the people of Texas.

With over 40 years of dedicated service in fire response, Woods has emerged as a formidable leader, earning more than eight state and national awards for his exemplary leadership in fire response, prevention, preparedness, and mitigation.

Woods attributes his entry into the fire service to his high school summer baseball coach, Woody Sevinson, who was the fire chief of College Station at the time. After a presentation from the Texas Engineering Extension Service, Woods knew that the fire service was his true calling.

Commencing his career as a firefighter and emergency medical technician in Bryan, Texas, in 1980, Woods spent nine years with the city before assuming his first fire chief role at The Woodlands Fire Department, Inc. During his tenure, he advocated for firefighter certification, managed construction projects, and oversaw significant capital improvements exceeding $5 million.

Subsequently, Woods served as the fire chief and emergency management coordinator for the Copperas Cove Fire Department, where he modernized operations, constructed new fire stations, and acquired crucial equipment to enhance emergency response capabilities.

Joining the Texas A&M Forest Service in 2003, Woods has held various leadership roles, including Chief Fire Training Coordinator and, since 2007, the inaugural department head for Wildfire Mitigation and Prevention. In this capacity, Woods orchestrated 12 major fire prevention campaigns, resulting in a 40% reduction in human-caused wildfires. Additionally, he designed the Texas Community Wildfire Protection Plan, impacting over 10 million people across 83 subdivisions statewide.

Al Davis, Director of the Texas A&M Forest Service, lauded Woods in a nomination letter, emphasizing his exemplary leadership and lifelong dedication to serving the people of Texas. Former State Firefighters’ & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas Executive Director, Chris Barron, echoed these sentiments, highlighting Woods' positive influence and mentoring environment.

Reflecting on his career, Woods expressed pride in developing successful employees, providing fire and incident training, and contributing to large-scale incident responses as a member of the Texas A&M Forest Service Lone Star Incident Management Team. Davis underscored Woods' pivotal role in advancing the agency’s mission and building capacity within his team.

Beyond his official duties, Woods currently serves on various state and national committees, including the Southern Group of State Foresters Wildland Urban Interface Council and the Wildland Fire Policy Committee sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Motivated by the constant threat posed by wildfires, Woods remains focused on implementing effective mitigation and prevention programs, enhancing communication and planning strategies, and empowering his team to protect lives and property.

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