To the Board of Directors and members of the MSFCA, my name is Lori Morgan and I have been with the Sherburne Co Sheriff’s Office since 1993 and was promoted to Dispatch Supervisor in 2012. I have known John Cunningham since he came to work for the City of Elk River in 2009. When John first came to work as the Fire Chief, he was not only new to Elk River but also new to us in dispatch – and as you can imagine, that can be a bit of a challenge on both sides. Once we began to build a relationship, I came to rely on John’s advice and knowledge. Because of the relationship we were able to build, it has only enhanced fire dispatching in Sherburne Co. I attend the bi-monthly fire chief’s meetings and when John is there, I know I have an ally. He was key in deciphering much of the rhetoric in the beginning and I know I can call him after a meeting for a “debriefing,” He has worked with me to set up fire training specifically designed for firefighters and dispatchers to come together to gain a better understanding of each other’s jobs and the unique challenges we both face. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for everything he has accomplished while here and I look forward to facing the challenges of our growing community and meeting those needs together. John would be an excellent President of the MSFCA!

Lori MorganDispatch SupervisorSherburne County Sheriff's OfficeElk River, MN

John Cunningham is an experienced and well respected fire chief and emergency management professional.  He has vast knowledge in both the technical and management aspects of his profession. His dedication, high ethical standards, and expertise make him a strong, confident, and effective leader.

Lori J.

I have worked with Chief Cunningham in many capacities including on active incidents, in an emergency operations center as well as several exercises and trainings. No matter the capacity, Chief Cunningham has always been professional, knowledgeable, committed and dependable. He has demonstrated great qualities of leadership and is always willing to learn and teach. I would highly recommend John Cunningham to lead the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association.

Kyle BreffleDirector of Emergency ServicesSherburne County Sheriff's OfficeElk River, MN

I have been asked to submit a letter of recommendation for John Cunningham to be considered for the next President of the Minnesota Fire Chiefs association. I am both honored to have been asked and extremely pleased to do so.

I have worked for and as A City Manger for close to 50 years. During that time I have worked with fire chiefs in cities from 225,000 to 9,000 residents. The types of departments have ranged from full time professional departments, to mixed professional and paid on call to fully volunteer independent departments.   All forms being unique and serving the individual and residents by protecting them and their properties. I currently serve as the President of the Coon Rapids Minnesota Police and Fire Service Civil Service Commission, allowing me to keep current with the fire service and its needs.

I started working with Chief Cunningham when I became Interim City Administrator in Elk River Minnesota in 2011. John and I worked together for a little over six months and during that time we established a strong professional relationship. John was relatively new to the City as Fire Chief, having been appointed by the City Council based on his extensive fire experience in Greenwich, Connecticut. The major issue that John was facing in Elk River was the transition from a more traditional volunteer based department to a more urban fire department that would serve several cities.

He was extremely skilled at articulating the needed changes and transitions as well as maintaining the necessary balance in recognizing many of the traditions and history of the Elk River volunteer department. He was able to not only present the changes needed in a clear and professional manor but also explain the benefits of the changes to the firefighters as well as the elected officials. As a manager I came to have great respect for the chief’s knowledge as well as the demonstrated leadership skills.

From my perspective, The Minnesota Fire Chief Association would be well served by Having John Cunningham as its President.   John is articulate, and skilled at presenting ideas in a clear professional manner. He is extremely knowledgeable in the delivery of fire protection services. He would be an exceptionally polished face for the organization and would provide skill, attention to detail, strong leadership and energy to the organization. I believe the firefighters across the state would be proud to have John represent them and would enhance the public’s current strong perception of the Minnesota Fire Service.

Robert D. ThistleInterim City Administrator

I had the opportunity to hear Chief Cunningham’s memorial speech on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I still have the blue ribbon he shared with us that day. It serves as a visual reminder of the impact of everyday people.
For those of us with family in law enforcement and the fire service, that reminder and public show of appreciation is priceless. Too often, the sacrifices of emergency personnel, and their families, go unnoticed. I am proud of their passion to serve.
Thank you, Chief Cunningham, for your volunteer efforts at Ground Zero. Thank you also for your many years in public service since then. Your challenge to bring the community (and beyond) together is truly a measure of your character and dedication to this community.

Wendy M.Elk River, MN

ProPhoenix Corporation has had the pleasure of working on innovative projects and ideas with Chief Cunningham since 2010. John is always searching for ways to leverage technology to improve the fire services he offers the citizens of Elk River and surrounding areas.

Our staff finds John to be a smart, dedicated professional who is always willing support our product development and willing offers to test new ideas and features.

With his passion for innovation and technology, I am quite confident Chief Cunningham will lead the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs into the next era of Fire and Public Services.

John is an outstanding candidate for the position of President of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association. We know he will proudly and competently lead this organization into the future.

You will all be proud of his leadership.

Jeffrey ReitExecutive Vice PresidentProPhoenix Public Safety SoftwareBrookfield, WI

Few people have the opportunity to report to a fire officer who is also a coach and mentor—but I did when I worked for T. John. I had the pleasure of working for T. John for six years at the Greenwich Fire Department, and collaborating on several projects in the professional contracting world.

I was particularly impressed by T. John ability to handle even the toughest situations in the calmest of demeanors. That skill often takes years to develop among fire service professionals, but it seemed to come perfectly naturally to him.

As a firefighter or a Fire Chief, T. John earns my highest recommendation.

Dan M.

I had the privilege of going to John’s department in CT to do a swiftwater Operations class a few years ago. John spearheaded things as a student and a leader, ensuring his department knew the evolutions inside and out, and impressed me by being one of the first people to do a skill, every time. Very impressive to see the Chief of a department going first, and being a true leader in the sense of the word.

Steve TreinishOwnerBlackwater Water RescueOhio

John is a very highly motivated and high energy person that I have had the opportunity to work with on several occasions. He has excellent knowledge of emergency management and the fire service. John is always willing to help out when the need arises. This was evidenced on March 8, 2017 when John volunteered his time/resources to help Sherburne County Emergency Services Director K. Breffle with the preliminary damage assessment process during the assessment/recovery phase from the March 6, 2017 EF 1 tornado that struck Sherburne County.

Without a doubt, John Cunningham is fully qualified to lead the Minnesota State Fire Chief’s Association into the future as its President.

Joe SchanenDeputy SheriffSherburne County Sheriff's OfficeElk River, MN

I have worked with John Cunningham over the past year on a variety of work issues.   I have found John to be a dedicated, intelligent and self-motivated professional with high levels of personal and professional integrity.  In addition to John’s leadership and emergency management skills as Fire Chief, he strives to continually improve work performance.  John takes the initiative to tackle challenges to streamlined department operations, increase performance and improve accountability.  In addition to successfully managing his position responsibilities, John has made significant and positive contributions to many other areas of the city.  John is highly respected and a valued leader

Suzanne FischerCommunity Operations and Development DirectorCity of Elk RiverElk River, MN