Career comes 'full circle' for new Bartlett fire chief

The Bartlett Fire Protection District board has appointed William Gabrenya as the agency's new fire chief, effective June 28.

Gabrenya, currently the assistant chief and a 27-year veteran of the fire service, will replace the retiring Chief Michael Falese. His formal swearing-in ceremony is set for July 17.

"The board of trustees is very proud and excited to have a person of Bill Gabrenya's caliber as fire chief," board President Jim McCarthy said in an announcement of the hire. "His years of experience, ability to mentor and lead, along with his exemplary education, make him the best person to replace Fire Chief Falese."

Gabrenya began his career in 1992 as a volunteer firefighter in Bartlett. He joined the Palatine Fire Department in 1995 and served there until 2017, when he returned to Bartlett as assistant chief.

"Having called this community home most of my life, I have a strong connection to its history, its culture, and its residents," he said. "To be named fire chief of the department where it all started for me is a blessing; it's come full circle."

Gabrenya's educational background includes obtaining an executive fire officer certification through the National Fire Academy-United States Fire Administration, chief fire officer certification through the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, and chief officer accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He is one of only 1,200 accredited fire chiefs worldwide.

He earned his master of public administration in local government management and leadership from Northern Illinois University, and his bachelor of science in fire science management (cum laude) from Southern Illinois University.

Gabreyna is married to Dr. Kristina Gabrenya, and they have two children. He is a veteran, having served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of sergeant.

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