Chief Holmes had a higher purpose and greater vision in mind. He began consulting on a full-time basis with a focus on the development of minority firefighters as leaders and managers in the fire service. This work led him to create what would be his most indelible mark on the American fire service, the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI), which began in 1991 at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. The mission of EDI is to develop the management skills and leadership potential of African American firefighters, preparing them for attainment of higher ranks. This was to augment their own personal higher education and structured to be specific to the subjects of fire department budgets, community-based fire and EMS programs, media relations, and fire personnel management. This concept was born out of Chief Holmes’ personal experience and knowledge of what was most needed. EDI has proven to be one of the most successful programs of its kind with hundreds of graduates now serving as Officers, Chief Officers, and Fire Chiefs. Since its inception nearly 28 years ago, the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute has served more than 2,000 participants from across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Chief Holmes’ impact in the fire service is beyond measurable, which is a testament to those who have attended EDI or participated in his training courses and lectures. Chief Holmes made an impact on thousands of people in the fire service industry by teaching real-world applications in the development of future fire service leaders. He was passionate about issues related to equitable hiring practices, promotions, training, operations and the day-to-day needs of the community by their fire department.
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