Our Team

John McNicholas

Professional Experience

John retired as the Deputy Fire Commissioner of Operations for the Chicago Fire Department after a 36 year career. As a Chief Officer, John oversaw day-to-day fire department operations at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Subsequently, John was promoted to the rank of District Chief of Airport Operations and was then responsible for management of all fire department operations at O’Hare and Midway International Airports. During the O’Hare Modernization Project, John work closely with airport leadership to coordinate public safety operations.

Later in his career John was appointed to the position of Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner of Fire Suppression Operations and then Deputy Fire Commissioner of Fire Suppression and Rescue and EMS Operations where he was responsible for 4800 uniformed members. During his Commissioner-level tenure, John was responsible for daily operations to include staffing, training, discipline, Bureau operations, review and revision of department policies and procedures, and inter-agency planning for large scale events. John worked closely with city agency, state, and federal response partners to develop Incident Action Plans and Overview Plans for major city events to include the 2012 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit held in Chicago, the National Football League (NFL) Draft, playoff games and championship parades for Chicago sports teams, the Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and Jazzfest.

Throughout his career John has been an active participant in the evaluation and acquisition of firefighting tools, equipment, and apparatus, as well as, planning for the location/relocation of fire stations and fire and EMS company assignments.

John was instrumental in conducting multiple studies on fire and EMS safety garments prior to the Chicago Fire Department’s acquisition of the current station wear and turnout garments.

John has educated countless younger members and future leaders by engaging in promotional and training evolutions and classes.