2016 Fire Inspector of the Year (Career)

Mark Mlekush, Sun Prairie Volunteer F.D.

Keeping up with inspections in one of the fastest growing areas of the state no doubt is a daunting task. But Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department Inspector Mark Mlekush has aptly risen to the challenge.

Seven years ago, Mark came into his position and was charged with developing an inspection program for a department that had been outsourcing those duties.

Fast forward to 2016 and Mlekush has completed more than 17,741 inspections during his career. And the workload in the service area of 100 square miles and 45,000 residents has increased enough that in addition to Mark’s full-time position, the department has added another inspector to the department’s growing career staff.

In the past few years, the city has added more than 400 new occupancies and more are on the way. Based on proposals submitted to the city government this year, the city is on track to add 40 multi-family units with 1,200 to 1,500 individual apartments. Any single-family proposals would be on top of that.

To keep up on things, Mark has implemented a paperless inspection record system that utilizes Firehouse Inspector software and ipads. The software allows the department to not only track compliance, but store data for preplanning and to pinpoint areas where public education efforts need to be ramped up.

Mark over the past four years has added line firefighting responsibilities, including apparatus engineering duties.

Mark has also taken on the role of fire investigator for the SPVFD and in that role has also become involved with the Madison Area Fire Investigator Team and the Dane County Arson Response Initiative.

Mark also serves as the Area 2 chair for the Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association. In that role, he organizes regional trainings. Gruber said it is typical for Mark to plan these Area 2 functions on his own time.

Mark has also served as a presenter for the WSFIA’s annual Fire Prevention Professionals Conference.