Madison Fire Department Chief Debra Amesqua has been awarded the Alverno College Alumni Association award for professional achievement.

Amesqua was noted by Alverno for her work on senior level management training for fire service women, and for breaking down barriers for people of color.

She was the first president of the Women Chief Fire Officers Association in 2004-05, and holds the chief fire officer designation from the Fire Service Commission on Professional Credentialing.

Amesqua has a BA degree with honors in business and management from Alverno College, which is located in Milwaukee.

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She was named Madison's fire chief in January of 1996, becoming the first woman to head the department and one of only seven women to head a fire department at that time out of 32,000 fire departments in the country.