In this episode, you’ll hear the recording of a presentation that was delivered at a 2018 Leadership Under Fire National Conference in Evanston, Illinois. The team was humbled by the caliber of leaders who contributed to the event and the types of leaders who rigorously contemplated the moral, mental and physical aspects of mission-oriented leadership and optimal human performance. To include our guest in this episode, retired Chicago Fire Commissioner Bob Hoff.
A third-generation firefighter, Bob Hoff started his career as a Cadet with the Evergreen Park Illinois Fire Department in 1972. In 1976, he was hired as an EMT with the Chicago Fire Department and in 1977 he entered the Chicago Fire Academy as a Firefighter/EMT. Hoff served in some of Chicago’s busiest fire companies throughout his career. He worked in the Bureau of Operations as a Firefighter /EMT, Lieutenant, Captain, and Battalion Chief. He also served as the Director of Training for the Chicago FD and the 1st District Chief in Chicago’s downtown high-rise district. He later served as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Operations, 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner and Fire Commissioner. He retired from the CFD in 2012 after nearly 36 years of service. Chief Hoff then went on to serve as the Deputy Chief and Chief of the Carol Stream Illinois Fire District until his retirement on January 1, 2020. Hoff’s brother, Raymond, was a 32-year veteran of the Chicago FD. His grandfather, Joseph Hoff, retired as a captain in 1936. And his father, Thomas Hoff, was a battalion chief who was killed while fighting a blaze in a South Side apartment building in 1962. His son, Andy Hoff, is an active member of the Downers Grove Illinois Fire Department. Uncles, cousins, nephews and brothers-in-laws are all current and retired members of the Fire Service. Notably, his family’s service and sacrifice inspired the movie, “Backdraft.”
Photo: Young Bob Hoff attends a funeral in 1960, two years before his father was killed in the line of duty.