David James, ‘77 and colleague Charles Phillips organized a professional firefighters group known as the Progressive Firefighters Association. As the founding president, James turned to Dewey Knight, the former deputy county manager, and other community leaders for information and support. James then set about organizing community outreach programs and educating the public on health and wellness. The Progressive Firefighters Association was also active in encouraging Miami-Dade County’s efforts to recruit and maintain minorities. After 30 years of working diligently in Miami-Dade County, James retired for a time. He returned to the public sector when he was offered the job of fire chief for the city of Delray. James is the first African-American to hold the post.