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Ron Sauntman

Outstanding Alumni Award 2019

Leah Gosik

Yavapai College Honors County Emergency Manager Ron Sauntman as Verde Valley Alumnus of the Year

Yavapai College honored a second-generation firefighter, an innovative public safety officer, a distinguished fire academy instructor and a longtime public servant when it selected Yavapai County Emergency Manager Ron Sauntman for its Verde Valley Alumnus of the Year Award at YC's Evening of Recognition Tuesday night.

"Ron exemplifies the power of career and technical education and what it means to set and achieve lofty goals," James Perey, executive dean of YC's Verde Valley Campus said.

Born in Camp Verde, Sauntman, 45, joined the Camp Verde Fire District out of high school. He learned the basics of rescue in a rural community that saw a wide range of wildfires and structure fires, as well as flooding and vehicular accident rescues.

He won a Firefighter of the Year Award and rose to the rank of captain at the age of 26, while working at a busy station that fielded up to 2,600 calls per year.

Sauntman was still serving as a firefighter in 2010 when he first came to Yavapai College as an adjunct instructor at YC's Fire Science Academy.

He earned his Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in Firefighting/Fire Sciences from YC in 2012, and spent seven years at the College teaching Fire Science, Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services.

When he retired from firefighting, in 2015, Sauntman began studying the field of emergency management. In 2013, he worked with the county providing logistical support during the Yarnell Hill Fire.

He earned his Bachelor's degree in Emergency Management from Grand Canyon University in 2014, then graduated with his Master's degree in Leadership and Emergency Preparedness from GCU in 2016.

He was cited for his exemplary work as an emergency planner during 2017's Goodwin Fire. In 2018, Sauntman was named Yavapai County Emergency Manager.

"This has a lot of value to me," Sauntman said, of the award. "One of the things that was important to me, as I went through my educational pursuits was, ‘how does it impact those around me?'" His work, he says, has always been inspired by a spirit of "servant leadership" that elevates teammates and never forgets the people he is entrusted to protect.

The Yavapai College Alumnus of the Year Award is bestowed annually on Prescott and Verde Valley graduates whose careers exemplify scholarship, character and public service.