Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Andi Bourne

Maciag and Calnan Recognized for Fire Season Leadership


January 18, 2018

Photo provided

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Clearwater Unit Senior Engine Boss Beau Maciag received the 2017 Montana Firefighter of the Year and Clearwater Unit Fire Management Officer Cory Calnan was recognized with a leadership award at the Fire & Aviation Bureau's annual season review Dec. 15. Maciag and Calnan both received a plaque and the recognition. Maciag also was given a certificate and Calnan received a jacket

GREENOUGH – Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Clearwater Unit firefighters received two statewide awards for their efforts during 2017's unprecedented fire season. Senior Engine Boss Beau Maciag was named the statewide DNRC Firefighter of the Year and Clearwater Unit Fire Management Officer Cory Calnan received a special Leadership Award.

In early July, Maciag accepted a temporary detail as the Clearwater Unit Fire Management Officer when Calnan detailed to the Central Land Office. The position was two levels above his experience at the time.

"He was soon tasked with historic fire conditions, long duration with fire restrictions in place, additional severity resources to manage, and four large fires on the unit," stated the Clearwater Unit and the Southwestern Land Office in his nomination letter. "He took the increasing complexity in stride, dually reaching out for support while maintaining strong leadership at the unit level."

"2017 was an exceptionally challenging fire season but DNRC has invested time and training in our people and they were able to step up and take care of business," wrote Calnan in an email. "Beau has always been a steady hand and a great firefighter.  I'm very proud of Beau for his efforts this past summer and he is more than deserving of the Firefighter of the Year Award."

Maciag was one of six nominees for the award that has been a Fire and Aviation Management Bureau tradition since 1990. Other Clearwater Unit firefighters that have received the award include Calnan in 2012 and Neil Carlson and Howard Kent in the early 2000s.

"It's a pretty special feeling, especially after the fire season that we experienced across the state," wrote Maciag in an email. "I know that there were several other fire managers that deserved this award too. I'm thankful for my co-workers that nominated me for this award."

Calnan was recognized with a special leadership award for stepping in as Assistant Fire Management Officer -- and later as Fire Program Manager -- at the Central Land Office from June through September. This is the first time a specific leadership honor has been awarded statewide.

CLO Area Manager Hoyt Richards and CLO Fire Program Manager David Hamilton noted in their nomination of Calnan, "2017 proved to be a challenging fire season statewide: resources were limited, requiring close coordination with other land office fire program staff. Cory quietly, confidently and successfully helped navigate these waters for CLO, which never missed a step while he was in charge."

Richards and Hamilton also stated Calnan had robust leadership skills. They admired his resiliency, his communication skills and the importance he placed on relationships with his crew and other agencies.

"It's always the highest honor to be recognized by your peers for being good leader.  However, being a good leader is easy when you have good people working for you," wrote Calnan. "It's great to be recognized but in the end we're just doing what we do every day - performing the mission and taking care of our people."

DNRC Clearwater Unit Manager Kristen Baker-Dickinson said the awards speak to the high caliber of employees at the Clearwater Unit. She feels that because Maciag and Calnan are so humble, the surrounding communities do not recognize what assets they are to the area.

"Cory and Beau's hard work speaks for its self. They are both very talented individuals that could probably work anywhere in the US if not the world and we are fortunate to have them here," said Baker-Dickinson. "It is a great honor for them to receive these awards and it is very well deserved. I'm so proud of both of them."


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