NWSA Executive Director Debbie Miley has been an integral part of this organization since its inception. From a small conference room in Reno, Nevada in 1991, the first NWSA members elected Debbie to their Board of Directors. Her depth of fire industry experience – more than 20 years – has allowed Debbie to succeed at growing NWSA to the robust association that it is today.
Debbie is committed to helping NWSA members grow in capacity and professionalism as emergency service providers by offering training and education opportunities for its members. As the head of the association, Debbie works tirelessly to help the public, agencies and legislators better understand and support the wildland fire contracting industry.
For more than a decade, Debbie and her husband Jim owned XL Hotshots, Inc., providing handcrews, engines, tenders and dozers to regional and national agencies. Upon retiring from the contracting industry, Debbie, who was already on the NWSA Board of Directors, was asked to serve as Executive Secretary and then Executive Director. She has been in those roles since 1997.
Melissa grew up in a home that owned a wildland firefighting company during her youth. She and her siblings spent many hours on the road to fires, filling up water canteens, sorting fire clothing and helping with the family business as she got older.
She lives in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range with her husband, Stephan and three children, McKenzie, Emmy and Ashten. She is very involved in her community helping with the sports programs, and school district as a volunteer.
She offers support to the Executive Director on a part time basis at the NWSA office.
President of the Board
In 1971, Rick Dice started in the fire business a partner in PatRick Environmental. It was incorporated in 1974 and Rick has held the position of President since that time. PatRick was the first private sector Corporation to successfully complete prescribed fire contracts with USFS and BLM in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Rick’s burn boss experience began in 1972 with contract burning for landowners, private timber companies and loggers on both private and public lands. For the past 30 years he has completed a large number of burn assignments on USFS administered lands as primary burn boss.
Rick’s fire experience started in 1966. He is a Founding member of NWSA, was Chairman of the Training Committee from 1989-1993. Rick has been President of NWSA for eight of the last 12 years.
Rick served in Vietnam in the Army as an SSG. He attended Portland Community College, Portland State and University of Oregon. His major was education.
The high-caliber NWSA training program is a significant benefit to its membership. The Database Storage System, which tracks instructor and firefighter qualifications, supports this nationally-recognized program. Stan Kunzman coordinates all NWSA training. Stan retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 1994 and is currently a consulting forester. He has coordinated the NWSA training program since 1996.
Stan’s work in the U.S. Forest Service began in 1963. His experience spans the globe, not only across North America, but to Russia.
Stan was active for 15 years on National Incident Management Teams functioning as Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief and Incident Commander. He has also served as Area Commander, Military Liaison, and MAC Coordinator and was on the training cadre at the National Advanced Resource Technology Center for Fire Generalship.