Alumni Honorees

Derek A. BergstenDerek A. Bergsten

M.P.A., 2007


Derek Bergsten was sworn in as the tenth Chief of the Rockford Fire Department on November 14, 2008. Chief Bergsten is a 16-year veteran of the Rockford Fire Department. In his command are 280 uniformed firefighters and ancillary services personnel, who provide firefighting, emergency medical service, hazardous materials response, technical rescue, and airport firefighting. The Department responded to over 23,000 calls for service in 2008. In addition, Chief Bergsten is responsible for the Rockford 911 Communications Center.

After joining the department, Chief Bergsten continued to further his education obtaining both an Associate in Science and an Associate in Applied Science (Fire Science) from Rock Valley College, a Bachelor of Business degree from Western Illinois University, and a Master of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University. In addition to many specialized fire certifications, he is also the first member of the Rockford Fire Department to be accepted into the Executive Fire Officer Program of the National Fire Academy.

Besides all of his duties first as a firefighter and now as Fire Chief, Bergsten finds time to serve as a board member of the Rock River Valley Food Pantry and as a volunteer at the YMCA and Rockford Public Schools. And last, but certainly not least, he is happily married and the father of three children.