Bob Kudlak took the oath of office today as interim fire chief in the City of Allentown during a ceremony in City Council Chambers.
Kudlak joined the department in 1986. In 2005, he was promoted to the position of Fire Marshal, and in 2007 he was elevated to the position of Captain of Public Affairs. In 2008, he was promoted to the position of Captain of Fire Marshals and was then promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations.
Deputy Chief of Operations is second in command in the department. Among other things, the Deputy Chief of Operations supervises and evaluates assistant chiefs, battalion chiefs, captains, lieutenants, fire marshals and firefighters assigned to the division as well as being responsible for all personnel and apparatus assigned to the department.
“I have always been impressed by the passion and commitment Chief Kudlak has shown in the daily fulfillment of his duties,” said Pawlowski. “He is the recipient of many awards and citations. They are ample evidence of the time and energy he pours into his job.”
“This is a great department and I am proud to be its leader,” Kudlak said. “I am grateful to Mayor Pawlowski for giving the opportunity to direct the department and serve the citizens of the city is this capacity.”
Kudlak has received various Departmental Awards and numerous Unit Citations. He has been recognized by the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate for his accomplishments.
The 27-year veteran of the department has worked with the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Prevention Foundation and is certified in the Juvenile Fire Setter Prevention Education program for the city. He has educated thousands of children in Fire Safety and Fire Education.
Kudlak is certified as a Fire Investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators and is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators. He is a certified expert witness in the field of arson and fire investigation, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a Fire Inspector and Codes Administrator. Kudlak has attained additional certifications in Hazardous Materials awareness, water rescue and is an Electronic Search Specialist through Project Lifesaver out of Chesapeake, Va.
Kudlak holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Muhlenberg College.
He is a second generation firefighter for the City of Allentown. His father, Robert Sr., retired in 1996 after serving the city for 27 years.
Pawlowski also announced that Assistant Chief Lee T. Laubach Jr. is being promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations. Laubach, who was named the department’s 2010 Firefighter of the Year, was also sworn-in during this morning’s ceremony.
Laubach is a 20-year veteran of the department. He was promoted to Fire Specialist in August of 2002, later promoted to Lieutenant in April 2006 and was promoted to Fire Marshal in June of 2008. He was promoted to Captain of Public Affairs in October 2009 and was promoted to Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention in September 2010.
Pawlowski also announced that Deputy Chief Laubach will serve as the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator and will lead the city’s new emergency management team. He will be joined on the team by Allentown Police Captain William Reinik, Allentown Health Bureau Director Vicky Kistler, Communications Superintendent Mike Hilbert, Interim Public Works Director Craig Messinger and EMS Operations Manager Bryan Fritz.
“Each of these bureaus is critical to responding to emergency situations in the city,” said Pawlowski. “We felt that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy we could make improvements in our delivery of services. These are some of the people who are on the front lines and with the official creation of the team it is our hope to be able to better coordinate our attack.”