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Scott Cordes is 2018 Distinguished Alumni

scottcordes
Scott Cordes is one of two Distinguished Alumni for the Lincoln Campus.

Scott Cordes graduated from the Fire Protection Technology program in 1986. Since then he spent many years as a firefighter and continues to build on his education. Because of his accomplishments in the field, he was selected as the 2018 Distinguished Alumni.

Cordes, 57, became a firefighter because his grandfather, uncles, cousins, and brothers all served as volunteer firefighters in his hometown of Scribner. His father also was the fire chief.

“I grew up in a family that was deeply entrenched in the fire service,” Cordes said. “I spent so much time in and around it. It just seemed like a really cool way to make a living.”

Cordes began his career at the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office in Scribner as a fire investigator and inspector. He became the Norfolk Fire Marshal in 1996, and then was promoted to Assistant Chief in charge of the Prevention Bureau, which included supervision of all code enforcement for the city. He was promoted to Norfolk Fire Chief in 2011. He said his career has been extremely rewarding over the years.

“The absolute satisfaction that comes from helping someone in their time of need and making that outcome better whenever possible warms the heart,” he said.

However, he points out it’s not all shiny fire trucks saving the day. There are many difficult days in the lives of a firefighter and a paramedic.

“The mental health aspect has to be the highest of priorities,” he said. “You have to take care of the people that are taking care of the people. There is death and human suffering. Those things tend to stay with you forever when you would prefer to forget.”

Cordes returned to school and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Bellevue University. He is working on his master’s degree in Leadership and Executive Coaching.

“My decision to further my education after SCC was to strengthen my role as the administrator of my department and prepare for future endeavors,” he said. “When I retire as fire chief, I would like to offer some legitimate contribution in a different capacity. My options are still wide open.”

Cordes and his wife Lora have been married  35 years and have four children and five grandchildren.

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For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher
Marketing Specialist
402-323-3395
agallagher@southeast.edu

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