We are excited to bring you another Employee Spotlight! This regular feature acquaints you with both an ARRO team member and a nonprofit that they – and now ARRO – proudly support. This spotlight falls on Ray Swartz, a Resident Project Representative II for ARRO Consulting, who works in our Orwigsburg office.
Do you mind telling us a bit about your background and where you call home?
I was born and raised in a small town in Tamaqua, PA with no plans of ever leaving the area. My community is very important to me. I am a Son of the American Legion of Tamaqua, my family and I belong to Trinity United Church of Christ, and I am a volunteer firefighter. My family at home includes my wife, 8-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter and our two baby kittens.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
After graduating from Tamaqua Area High School in 2010, I had a lot of different ideas about what I wanted to do. I considered roles in education and law enforcement, but ultimately decided to start working full-time right away. I have been working ever since and have achieved different certifications along the way.
What brought you to ARRO?
Given my connections and background volunteering with my local fire company, I was drawn to doing something fire-related but did not know exactly what that looked like. I was not interested in becoming a paid firefighter as being a volunteer has always been more than gratifying.
As it turns out, our department’s Fire Chief is also the Code Enforcement Officer for our town. Curious about his line of work, I approached him with some questions to better understand what his job is like. After learning about his work, I was intrigued by the prospect of becoming an enforcement officer and building inspector myself. Fortuitously, my fire chief and Bill McMullen (ARRO’s Orwigsburg Office Manager) knew each other. Bill offered me an interview after hearing about my interest. The rest is history and here I am enjoying a career I didn’t think was possible!
A nonprofit that you’ve supported over the last 15 years is American Hose Company No. 1 in Tamaqua. Can you tell us more about the fire company?
American Hose Company No. 1 has served Tamaqua Borough since 1878. Our station houses two fire engines and serves the borough through nearly 200 calls annually, including structure fires, accidents, investigations, rescues and more. With around 400 members, we have deep roots in the community. Our members include active firefighters, retired personnel, junior members and social members.
Fun fact: our blue color is unique since our trucks are painted with the color of 1968 Cadillac Blue. This color was used on our ambulance back in 1968 and we have kept it ever since! It’s a meaningful touch and nod t our long history in Tamaqua.
Can you share a few details about what you do for the fire station?
I started volunteer firefighting when I was a teenager and just passed my 15-year milestone. I take my role with the fire department very seriously and aim to miss as few trainings and calls as possible. I am always looking into new classes, trainings and ways to expand my knowledge in order to become a better resource to my team and, in the future, help lead our company. Currently, I hold the positions of Chief Engineer and Secretary. I have a goal of becoming Fire Chief down the road.
What led you to become a volunteer and what is your favorite part about being involved?
The majority of my family belongs to the fire company so it was inevitable that I would follow in their footsteps. I imagine my kids will do the same. My daughter has already shown a love for spending time at the station and learning what it means to be a firefighter. I look forward to when she is able to join and be part of the next generation!
My favorite part of volunteering is being able to serve and protect the community. Being a volunteer firefighter has its challenges but, more than that, has its rewards. Overall, being able to help people has always been a major part of who I am as a human being.
ARRO is happy to provide a donation to the fire station. What are a few ways monetary donations are used?
As a volunteer fire company, we rely entirely on fundraising and monetary donations. These critical funds allow us to maintain and update property and equipment. A large portion goes toward supplies on our trucks including hand tools, hoses, breathing apparatuses, radios, and more. Our equipment undergoes constant wear and tear, so we have to continuously invest in new gear. We put each contribution to efficient use, maximizing our community’s support. Every donation makes a difference!
Learn more about this year’s beneficiary, Tamaqua’s American Hose Company #1, and how you can support them at www.ahco1tamaqua.org.