Despite Long Hours, Director of Public Service Academies Loves His Work

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by Eric Jensen

Kelly Phelps can thank the Navy for putting him on a career path that led to his current position as Director of Public Service Academies at Victoria College, where he oversees the Fire Academy and the Police Academy.

His interest in firefighting was sparked by a stint in the Navy, performing shipboard firefighting duties in 1991. After leaving the service, he returned to Texas and graduated from the Fire Academy at San Antonio College in 1993. Phelps signed on as a firefighter with the Seguin Fire Department and then moved to Victoria where he served in the Fire Marshal Office as an Investigator/Inspector from 2001 to 2009.

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

During that same time, Phelps taught as a Victoria College adjunct instructor. With his “foot in the door” at the College, he soon became a full-time instructor.

“I like teaching,” Phelps said, smiling.

Phelps, 39, is a Master Firefighter, Master Fire Instructor, Intermediate Peace Officer, and a Basic Peace Officer Instructor. As Director of VC’s Public Service Academies, he oversees the Police Academy on a day-to-day basis. He currently instructs about one-third of the Fire Academy classes.

Phelps’ students are given exams each week and must achieve at least a score of 75 to pass the course, “because it’s a rigorous program, and there are lots of technical skills that they need to learn.”

As director of both academies, he arrives to work at 8 a.m. and sometimes doesn’t get home until after 11 p.m. But Phelps says his wife and young children are
supportive of his career.

Despite his long hours and various responsibilities, Phelps lives by the old saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” CF

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