Gary Patnode worked for 20 years in his family's home improvement business, then built upon his longtime involvement in volunteer firefighting to launch a new career in emergency management.
After earning his Associates in Building Construction from Alfred in 1997, he joined both the family business - later named Gary's Home Improvement - and the Alabama Fire Department. The business made custom countertops, and made and installed custom cabinets in homes and offices.
But it was in the fire department where he perhaps more-quickly made his mark. He was awarded Firefighter of the Year in 2008 and 2016, and EMS Provider of the Year in 2005 and 2017, is active in several local and statewide fire organizations, and has been the Alabama Fire Chief since 2010.
A series of paid part-time county and state fire roles that began in 2010, led to his being hired by Genesee County in 2019, to work with local departments in determining training needs for their firefighters, scheduling and facilitating the classes, and being responsible for equipment upkeep and training, to maintain a constant state of readiness.
Gary is a Boy Scout leader and volunteer, and lives with his wife Michelle Vukman (OACS '95) and their two sons.