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Volunteer fire chief serves as coach and comfort to community

Nate Sievers knows how to foster not just teamwork, but a supportive community.

At ײƵ, Sievers started as an environmental and safety specialist in 2008 and is now senior manager of customer operations. He’s also been a volunteer firefighter since graduating college, and worked his way up to chief of the Lodi Area Fire Department in Lodi, Wisconsin.

Sievers has had a variety of roles along the way. He earned EMT certification in 2012 and served as Lodi Area Fire Department’s assistant fire chief for five years. He also used to coach boys football.

As chief, Sievers takes a coaching approach toward his crew. “I like to know my employees as people and not just as job titles. What are their interests outside work and how can I help them reach their goals?”

He keeps an open-door policy, listening and allowing his firefighters to vent if they need. “A fire department offers a huge supportive network. We don’t abandon you; we’re there for you.”

A volunteer firefighter’s life can be challenging. Calls come in at all hours of the day and night, and the crew witnesses a lot they’d rather not. “This can be very difficult on them,” Sievers said.

Even as chief, Sievers to make every call that he can.

“We are there to make things better, to get people back to life,” he said. “Support of community keeps me going, especially during challenging times. I want to provide comfort and get community members through the hard times.”

When Sievers was named chief in 2023, he found himself with a slate of new responsibilities: Paperwork, leading public meetings, presenting to schools and government officials and connecting with community leaders. He tapered off coaching boys’ football; now he goes to high school games to cheer on kids he coached years ago. “It’s awesome to watch their development through the years as players and leaders,” he said.

The new position helps him more fully connect the department and ײƵ with the community. “Because I’m now the face of the fire department, residents, business owners and officials know who I am and what I can do for them, which is to be there for community members in their darkest hour.”

Being a volunteer firefighter is like having a second job. How does Sievers do it?

He prioritizes work-life balance, and tells new recruits, “Volunteer firefighting is a huge commitment. To be successful, you must have excellent time management skills and be able to compartmentalize. Make sure to prioritize time for things that are important in your life and not have firefighting run your entire life.”

We recognize Nate Sievers with a Values in Practice (VIP) award, an honor that celebrates employees who donate time and energy to the communities we serve.

All 2024 VIPs receive a $500 grant to donate to the nonprofit of their choice. Sievers’s grant funds are going to the Lodi Area Fire Department. We thank Sievers and the other VIPs for how they act for tomorrow, do the right thing, make things better and care for others – values that shape everything we do.

"I want to provide comfort and get community members through the hard times.”
Nate Sievers

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