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Fire Science Grad Accelerated His Future Thanks to QCC

July, 2019
  • Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser during trench rescue training.
    Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser during trench rescue training.
  • Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser (L) and Sutton Selectman Jess Limanek (R) during ice rescue training.
    Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser (L) and Sutton Selectman Jess Limanek (R) during ice rescue training.
  • Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser during a boat rescue.
    QCC grad and current Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser during a boat rescue
  • QCC Fire Science grad and Sutton firefighter Robin Dresser goes into action during a structure fire.
    QCC Fire Science grad and Sutton firefighter Robin Dresser goes into action during a structure fire.
  • Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser
    Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser

The saying “mother knows best” may just be true in the case of Sutton Fire Department District Fire Chief Robin Dresser. Mr. Dresser is a 2005 graduate of QCC’s Fire Science program and his mother, Edna Dresser, is a 1978 graduate of QCC where she majored in accounting. According to Mr. Dresser, it was his mom who helped him to consider QCC when he had graduated from high school.

“Growing up I had always wanted to get into public service- be it firefighter or police officer. When I hit my early teens I decided I wanted to be a firefighter,” he said.

Knowing he wanted to get into fire science, Mr. Dresser said his choices of colleges were limited because it was not a degree option a lot of colleges offered.

“I didn’t want a mess of student loans and at the time spending a lot money on a degree and then going into an entry-level position didn’t make sense,” he said. It was then that his mother suggested he consider looking at QCC.  “They did offer fire science as a major, so it worked out well,” he said.

While being a firefighter did not require him to get a college degree, Mr. Dresser said most communities require that a firefighter have some form of degree in order to advance in their career and move up the chain of command, adding that some departments do offer incentives or an increase in pay if a firefighter has an advanced degree. Mr. Dresser said he was able to earn his degree without incurring any debt, working while attending classes. 

“The class schedule worked out for me, since I was working full time while attending. I had some day classes, but most of the classes had been evening classes,” he said, adding that the professors he had were all either current or retired from the fire science industry.

“They were not just instructors, they lived being firefighters and experienced it personally,” he said.

Once he graduated from QCC, Mr. Dresser went right into the workforce, having already been a call firefighter with the Sutton Fire Department.

“In 2005 I applied for full-time at the department and was hired. I have continued to move up in rank and this past May was promoted to District Chief,” he said, adding that while it wasn’t necessary for him to have a degree within his department it was “a bonus and helped me out.”

Mr. Dresser said he does plan to one day continue his education and obtain his bachelor’s degree, but will stay in the fire science field.

“I’m happy with what I do. I love my job and love going to work every day,” he added.

*Photos courtesy of the Sutton Fire Department.

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