Jacob Myrland, Belleville Volunteer Firefighters Inc.
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Jacob Myrland, president, Belleville Volunteer Firefighters Inc.
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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Being a younger member in the fire service, I have always had to focus on proving myself each day and with each new task. I have always given the more experienced members a chance to pass on their knowledge and listen to the stories of the past, hoping one day I will be able to do the same. After more than 18 years in public safety, I now have that opportunity. I enjoy the look on the younger faces when you see the information click and they start to become more comfortable with their responsibilities. The best thing an old firefighter can do is make sure the young firefighters get to become old firefighters.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
My wife, Ami Myrland, a past Professional of the Week and a 2019 40 Under 40 alumni. We have been together for over 15 years and married for 10. She has made a wonderful career for herself, and I have enjoyed watching her achieve such wonderful accolades along the way. From beginning as a teller at a bank to becoming the CFO of Capitol Bank at the age of 34, she is nothing short of an amazing business professional. She is always wanting to do more for our family and strives to do more for the people around her. Ami is a fantastic role model for our boys, who look up to her, as do I. She has achieved so much and continues to grow as a professional, and she has more compassion for helping others than anyone I know.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
In January 2019 I became the president of the Belleville Volunteer Firefighters Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established to give back to our fire department members and the community in which we serve and reside. This year, we have increased our fundraising efforts by engaging our audience with more events and a larger social media presence. We have made it a staple in our organization to be visible and always have an open door to our protection district, from opening cold shelters to assisting in flood mitigation in our community. This year alone we have seen over a 34 percent increase in fundraising for our organization. We are also in the final stages of rolling out a junior firefighter program aimed to engage the youth of our community and offer them an opportunity to train and work right beside us. This program will help our high school students earn their community service hours, as well as offer post-high school technical college assistance in public safety.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Keep on your honest path to finding what makes you happy. Being a servant to the surrounding community will make doors open and give you the chance to make a difference in the lives of the people you come into contact with. Diversifying your experiences and knowledge with others will make you a better person and professional. The good and the bad will continue to arrive, so it’s how you adapt, learn, and move forward that will shape you as an adult.