Andy MacDonald has four decades of experience serving in the field of Emergency Services. He began his journey as a volunteer Fire Fighter after graduating from McMaster University in 1977. After becoming a professional Fire Fighter in 1979, he progressed through the ranks, eventually serving as Fire Chief for the City of Brampton for seven years. Currently, Andy is the General Manager of Emergency Services for the City of Guelph, where he provides oversight for the Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services and the Guelph Fire Department.
In his 20+ years of service as a frontline first responder, Andy has witnessed first-hand the potential psychological impacts of responding to traumatic incidents. As an Emergency Services Chief Officer, he is acutely aware of the associated stresses experienced by the Fire Fighters and Paramedics under his charge and is committed to mitigating the effects of psychological trauma in any way that he can.
Andy is a member of the Canadian Critical Incident Stress Foundation’s Conference Board and frequently speaks to audiences about the role that leaders can play in effectively managing critical incident stress. He is also a founding member of the Camp F.A.C.E.S. (Family and Children of Emergency Services) Advisory Board, which aims to support the surviving family members of fallen emergency services workers.
Despite his busy schedule, Andy makes time to support causes related to first responder wellness and education. He was the driving force behind the construction of the world’s first Fire/Line Safety Education Centre (located in Brampton, Ontario), and in 1985 he earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records by rappelling off of the CN Tower to raise funds for a burn unit in Toronto.
We are so pleased that that Andy has joined HRI as Honorary Chair for this very important event. His dedication to helping those suffering from the effects of trauma is admirable. He is a true leader, who inspires those around him to work toward finding real solutions to trauma and trauma-related illnesses.