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Young Professional Spotlight: Matthew Vergin, CenCom E9-1-1

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  • Young Professional Spotlight: Matthew Vergin, CenCom E9-1-1

    The APCO Young Professionals Committee is proud to recognize Matthew Vergin as our Young Professionals Spotlight. Matthew serves as the Communications Supervisor at CenCom E9-1-1, a consolidated communications center located in Round Lake Beach, IL. His position is a working supervisor position where he, simultaneously, has the combined responsibilities of a telecommunicator and a supervisor.

    Matthew is 34 years old and has been working in public safety dispatch for seven years, all of which were spent at his current agency. He started in this field as an on-call firefighter/EMT with his hometown fire department and a service officer/evidence technician at a local police department. During his time with the fire department, he had the opportunity to become a fire apparatus engineer and hazardous materials technician. Matthew then spent some time in the private sector working as an assistant director of public safety for private security companies. He made the choice to go back to the public sector where he found his agency was hiring. Matthew worked his way up to communications training officer and then communications supervisor. He is also a member of the Illinois Emergency Response Team (IL-TERT).

    Matthew finds enjoyment in being able to mentor and develop others in their professional careers in public safety telecommunications. “Training is the foundation that our abilities are built on,” he says, “and I do my best to ensure everyone has the knowledge, skill, and attitude to perform their duties to the best of their ability”.

    Matthew believes it’s important to “develop others to move up within the organization and take on more responsibilities” In doing so, he says, “We can continue the cycle of improvement and progress.” He strives to develop young professionals in his agency by determining their interests and finding opportunities for them to pursue those interests. He recognizes that there are numerous different paths that one can take and that any interest can be that “spark” that they may need. Matthew finds passion in being able to drive his team while working alongside them to make a lasting positive impact on the citizens they serve.

    When asked about ways to attract and retain young professionals in this industry, Matthew cites the importance of “allowing people to become part of the process”. He says we can achieve this by “sincerely soliciting their input and allowing them to see the positive changes they helped implement”. In his opinion, successfully accomplishing this gives young professionals a sense of ownership and a feeling of respect that will aid in retention.

    In regards to why he feels there isn’t an abundance of people entering this field, Matthew acknowledges that there is a “lack of knowledge about public safety dispatch [which] prevents people from entering this profession.” He believes that often people are not searching for this career, rather they “fall into this profession, but then fall in love with it.” He believes young professionals are crucial to public safety communications because they often have a “renewed level of energy” and fresh new ideas they can bring to their centers. He feels “this enthusiasm can be harnessed and directed to make great progress to the center, especially as the public safety dispatch field advances.”

    Matthew’s one piece of advice to the industry is to “seek out opportunities to become involved within your center and communicate your interests to management”. He warns of the issues that come from stagnancy or complacency. He urges everyone to strive to ask not only “what if” but also to find those answers. “You are always learning and never stop, whether you are on probation or thirty years in, you are still learning”.

    We agree with those in his center that feel Matthew Vergin is the “epitome of a young professional”. He strives to encourage those within his center and is a role model for all up and coming young professionals.