Dr. Carl Holmes, retired assistant fire chief, consultant, Lecturer, and former International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPFF) Executive Development Institute (EDI) in 1991. The concept proposed by Dr. Holmes, then Assistant Fire Chief of the Oklahoma City Fire Department was to prepare future African-American fire and Emergency medical service leaders by having African-American instructors deliver course material in their areas of expertise or assigned areas of management. This was the result of denied equal opportunities encountered by African- American applicants to the National Fire Academy and other cutting-edge leadership and management programs. The focus of the program’s curriculum was to develop future fire department officers through material and presentations that addressed unique conceptual, diagnostic, and human skills overlooked in most fire department management training programs. The final design of the Institute was that courses were to be delivered using a module concept; whereas students convene once a year over a five-year period for a five-day intense educational experience.


Recently, an optional sixth-module was added to the curriculum. This graduate level component analyzes a range of issues in contemporary management that have a significant impact on the future development of the fire service profession. The EDI concept has proven to be a great success; the programs existence, enrollment, and curriculum have continued to flourish while being recognized as a leading fire service education institution.

In May 1991, the pilot EDI program was held at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida with an enrollment of 43 African-American professional firefighters. During that week of training, the students were introduced to a wealth of new ideas and concepts centered on preparing them to lead and succeed as fire and emergency medical service officers and administrators. Students were provided instruction in areas such as the municipal budget process, how to develop community based fire and emergency medical service programs, and community and media relations. In 1996, EDI relocated for greater geographical access to the campus of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. This move also brought an opportunity for increased enrollment and expansion of the program.


In 2000, Articles of Incorporation for the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute were filed. As a result of the devastation inflicted on the city of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the program temporarily relocated to Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. EDI returned to the campus of Dillard University in 2011.


Since the first in 1991, over 2,400 IABPFF and National Association of Hispanic Firefighters from around the nation and abroad have attended ED!. Hundreds of students have successfully completed the programs five year, 300 hour requirement with many having been promoted to fire chiefs and other key fire service administrative and leadership positions. EDI students, alumni, administrators, faculty and staff have enjoyed the fraternal atmosphere created by working toward a common goal and sharing experiences, wisdom, solutions and successes with one another.