Emily Pelliccia, Battalion Chief for City Fire Department, City of Charlottesville
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born and raised here in Charlottesville. Growing up, I was lucky enough to spend several summers and a year of high school in Italy where most of my family is but I’m really a townie at heart.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
My parents moved here from Berkeley, California before I was born to be professors at UVa.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in Belmont.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
Two fluffy white “children” (dogs) named Henri and Lilli.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I went to UVa after High School but only completed 3 years before I got hired by the Charlottesville Fire Department. I am actually finally graduating next month with my Bachelors of Science in Emergency Management.
What were you doing before you came to work for the City?
While I was a student at UVa, I joined the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad as a volunteer and enjoyed public safety so much that I “took a year off” to work in the ER at UVa and get more experience as an EMT. While I was there someone encouraged me to apply to CFD and I did.
Your job title is Battalion Chief for CFD – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
My job is primarily as an administrative officer for CFD. Some of the areas under my responsibility include the budget, our wellness/fitness program and various initiatives related to personnel management, such as administering an upcoming promotional process for captains and battalion chiefs for example.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
The best part of my job is the people I interact with within the FD, other city departments and the community. Another great part of my job is a beautiful new station that I get to work in (our new Fontaine fire station and training facility). I feel very fortunate to have an office in a firehouse, not many people get to slide down a fire pole to leave work.
The most difficult part of my job is probably juggling competing priorities and managing my time effectively. One of the other best parts of my job is a lot of flexibility and variety with my time, but it can also be a challenge.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
My job specifically affects our community members more indirectly than directly. What I do primarily has an internal focus and supports the members of CFD so they can do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. One week a month I am on call as a back-up battalion chief and when I run an emergency call it directly impacts the average person through some sort of emergency assistance depending on the emergency.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the City?
In terms of work experience, emergency services is such an interesting field, that it’s hard to isolate one thing. Every day is different and you never know what you will be faced with when you come to work. The one thing that I find really interesting is that when we are called to help someone it might be the worst day of their life. And when we arrive, they completely trust us and rely on us to solve whatever problem we are faced with. It has always felt like a huge privilege to be entrusted with that level of responsibility.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I play the piano.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I like to exercise, play sports, and cook. But my favorite thing to do is travel, I love to experience new cultures. I’ve been to over a dozen countries and hope to hit every continent someday.