Aaron Lipski: Fighting fires with a UWM MPA
My name is Aaron Lipski and I’m graduating
with a Master of Public Administration. I’m a fourth generation Milwaukee firefighter.
My great-grandfather, his brothers, then my grandfather, my father, my brother and I are
currently on the Milwaukee Fire Department and we’ve got over 100 years in the Milwaukee Fire Department. I’m a deputy chief in the firefighting division. What that means is
I’m in command of the entire fire department for one 24 shift every three days. There’s
a whole world behind that iconic Americana of the fire truck driving down the road. Stepping beyond that, not so glorious, not so glamorous is the background paperwork and the making
sure that the men and women out in the field have the resources that they need. It is very
expensive, very expensive to the taxpayers to fund a proper fire department. And that’s
where this degree, Master of Public Administration, and firefighting have intersected for me.
I knew right away I was in the right spot and the very first class I took it was as
if he was handing me the answers to the questions I had the day before. It was like a gift being
able to learn from these tried and true professionals and apply it almost immediately. It’s very
similar to the satisfaction you get when you pull up and you have flames blowing out of
a second floor and there are kids trapped on that second floor and you get them. It’s instant satisfaction and it’s addicting. There’s no two ways about it. My grandpa always said
do what makes you happy and I don’t know what else I could be doing right now that could
even equate to how happy I am.