Mark Pierce, South Shore Fire Department
By Pete Wicklund
GREEN BAY – Sporting a beard perfect for deer hunting season and making joking references to the movie “Bad Santa,” Mark Pierce is relishing his retirement. But on Oct. 26, Mark took a few moments to reflect on a nearly four-decade career in the fire service, much of it in fire prevention.
Mark, who retired from the South Shore Fire Department in April, received Fire Inspector of the Year honors from the Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association at the organization’s annual conference held Oct. 26 at the Radisson Conference Center near Green Bay.
Mark had a 37-career with the South Shore Fire Department and its predecessor, the Mount Pleasant Fire Department. He held the position of division chief for support services for both departments over the past 14 years.
Mark was one of the original full-time firefighters for the Mount Pleasant Fire Dept., which merged with the Sturtevant Fire Dept. in 2009 to form the South Shore Fire Dept. Over the years, he held the ranks of firefighter, motor pump operator, lieutenant, assistant chief, division chief and interim chief, the only member of the department to accomplish that, said South Shore Division Chief Ed Lockhart, Mark’s successor.
As a fire inspector, Mark was responsible for reviewing plans for hundreds of projects and developments in Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant and conducting fire inspections at Mount Pleasant’s largest manufacturing facilities – SC Johnson’s Waxdale campus and the CNH tractor plant.
Mark also served during his career as a fire investigator, a juvenile fire setter counselor and as a member of the Racine County Dive Team and helped to establish a CAD system for the Racine County Dispatch Center and implement the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System in Racine County and throughout the state.
Outside his professional duties, Mark has served on the Mount Pleasant Parks and Advisory Commission for 16 years.
At the WSFIA conference, Mark thanked the organization and sent words of encouragement to fire professionals who are early in their careers.
“I was once told that I was too fat and not smart enough to be a firefighter. I just concluded a career of 37 years, so that person that said that obviously didn’t know what they were talking about,” Mark said. “There are a lot of people in the room who are well along in their careers, but to the new people, believe in yourselves. Believe in what you’re doing and keep moving forward because it does come together for you and we do good things.”