Chief to Chancellor

Nate Trauernicht talks to Gary S. May
UC Davis Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht is the last guest on Face to Face With Chancellor May. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Not only do firefighters save lives, they spread goodwill for UC Davis, this month’s guest on Face to Face With Chancellor May said.

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

“One of the really great things that our fire department gets to do for this institution is be the goodwill ambassador, all across the state and throughout our region — and at a really special time for people, when they're having a bad day (and facing) a problem they don't know how to solve,” said Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht.

Trauernicht joined Chancellor Gary S. May on this month’s episode of Face to Face to discuss the path that led him to firefighting, unique programs at UC Davis Fire, and personal insights like the music he’s listening to now.

Career steps

The chief said he knew he wanted to be a firefighter at a very early age — mementos from his time in preschool show the things he looked forward to the most were new books on firefighting or visits to the local fire house.

“When people ask, ‘What drew you to this?’ I don’t even know, because it’s really all I’ve ever known,” he said.

Trauernicht told the chancellor he initially thought he wouldn’t work for the university very long, but fell in love with it; he has served as chief since 2012.

“It’s my home and this is my family,” he said. “And I can’t imagine being anywhere else now.”

Unique programs

May and Trauernicht discussed the Student Firefighter Program, where UC Davis students live at the fire house while they undergo training and participate in real calls, all while continuing their studies.

“I think probably one of the most amazing things that we can do in higher education … is match people’s academic experience with real-world, hands-on experience,” Trauernicht said.

They went on to discuss Health 34, which Trauernicht said is “rooted in the idea of mobile, integrated health care.” That program, which is currently being rolled out over several quarters, will look to provide 24/7 treatment for mental health concerns and minor health conditions, in addition to connecting patients to existing services like Aggie Compass and mental health services from Student Health and Counseling Services.

Quick hits

What is the best place to relax on campus and off? What’s on the chief’s playlist right now, and why? For the answers to those questions and more, watch the full video above.

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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