Reginald Freeman

Reginald Freeman

Fire Chief

City of Oakland

Oakland, CA USA

It wasn’t about being the best, it was about putting my best foot forward.


By Roadtrip Nation

Reginald Freeman


My road in life has been direct.
I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, but moved every three years because my father was in the Air Force.
I was an all American athlete in high school and college but unfortunately got injured during my freshman year of college.
I was originally interested in becoming a DEA agent but knew that the educational experience required wasn’t a great fit for me.
I decided to join the fire service, which is not only the ultimate team sport, but also has the paramilitary style I knew and appreciated.
A mentor had recommended me to a jurisdiction off the Gulf Coast of Mississippi that was looking to diversify the organization—I was hired as the first African American Firefighter EMT for the city.
I was determined to ultimately become the fire chief, so I put myself through all of the technician courses possible and then went on to earn my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
All of my work propelled me to climb the ranks at an extraordinarily fast rate—I was only in the fire service for about five years before I became a chief officer.
I went to Iraq as a civilian fire chief for the Department of Defense, served as fire chief for Lockheed Martin, then fire chief for Hartford, Connecticut, before landing in Oakland, California.
Keep following my journey


High School
Bellevue University
Executive Fire Service Leadership
Grand Canyon University


Fire Chief

I'm responsible for all 25 fire stations and 532 firefighters in Oakland, California.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Armed Services
Helping People


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"You're only taking the fun classes. Why don't you take something hard? You can't do it."

Challenges I Overcame

Racial Discrimination