David Sprague

Align your training and promotional processes with The Work! A study in success.

Course Description:

Do you like the idea of a firefighter responding to your home and performing only 70% of their job correctly? I hope the answer is “Hell no!”. Then why do we accept a passing score for most examinations of 70, or at best 80%?

If this resonates with you, come listen to our story. We are in the process of changing the way we determine what “right” looks like in our department. I want to share what we are learning about setting expectations, how we are developing our members, how we are improving our promotional process, and what we’ve discovered about the human capacity to perform.

You can apply the methods discussed in this class in any department and to any rank or discipline if you have the appropriate amount of determination and persistence. This class is suitable for anyone interested in learning how to train and develop yourself and others more effectively. Or for anyone who has influence over a promotional process and wants to align it with the way the work happens (in the street).


David Sprague, Berkeley Fire Department: My grandfather retired after 22 years of service in 1977. I have been doing my best to fill his shoes since 2001. I spent 15 years heavily involved in our IAFF Local, on the Executive Board, and on many negotiations’ teams. I sought an assignment to the Division of Training and enjoyed that for five years and I am currently supporting our members as the Deputy Chief of Operations. Since 2014 I have volunteered my time with FireNuggets and helped provide training to firefighters around the Country. In a weird and beautiful intersection of both union and management roles, I’ve worked to make training a priority in our organization, embedding support for it in our MOU, Job Classifications, and our formal and informal policies and procedures.