Dr. Manuel Fonseca - National Association of Hispanic Firefighters - NAHFFNAHFF President – Manuel A. Fonseca

Dr. Manuel Fonseca is a nationally recognized, award-winning Fire and Safety Executive, with over 30+ years’ leadership experience. He began his career as a volunteer fire firefighter at the age of 16. In 1985 he joined the Nashville Fire Department and worked his way up the ranks to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. He retired after 30 years of service.

Dr. Fonseca holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership (EdD), and has leveraged his academic success with his firefighting leadership experience to teach and mentor the next generation of leaders.

As a public servant, Dr. Fonseca received The President’s Volunteer Service Award by President George W. Bush during a White House Ceremony, for his commitment to living a life of service and taking positive actions that changed his communities. Dr. Fonseca has also been invited to the White House on several other occasions to participate in the White House Hispanic Heritage Month and Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Recently he attended a White House meeting with Secretary of Labor Perez to discuss and be part of the development of a new Department of Labor’s First Responder Research.

As an active community leader, he has been appointed and elected to leadership positions in well-recognized organizations to include being appointed by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to serve on the Board of Visitors for the National Fire Academy.  Being appointed by Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to serve on a White House initiative called Fire Corps. His other accomplishments have included serving as Legislative Director for the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters, Principal Technical Advisor for the National Fire Protection Association 1021 committee, and IFSTA Company Officer 5th Edition Validation Committee to name a few. Presently he serves as the Chair of the Human Relations Committee for the International Association of Fire Chiefs and is serving as the current President of the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters.

Having contributed throughout his career, he has received the American Red Cross Heroism Award, Nashville Fire Department Commendation Award, Tennessean Newspaper’s Public Service Award, and Nashville’s Fire Department Chief Award.

Dr. Fonseca has also led teams and cultivated and maintained strong relationships with intergovernmental, professional, academic, community leaders, and the public to achieve business goals and ensure the success of various fire and life safety programs. He has appeared numerous times on-camera and held interviews as a subject matter expert, community leader, and change agent on National Television. He is currently developing a new leadership theory which he plans to publish in 2019.

In addition to holding a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, he holds a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision and Bachelor of Science degree. He completed the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. He is a licensed paramedic and in December of 2018, will graduate with a Master of Business Administration.

Leading by example, Dr. Fonseca is a life-long learner making the world a better place by giving back to his community.

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We the NAHFF, with unfaltering faith in the divine power of almighty God and invoking His gracious blessings, do hereby ordain and establish this constitution to guide the destinies of our Association, in accordance with the philosophy, aims and purposes herein set.

Current Elected Officers

Manny Fonseca


Sal Morales

Past President

Ed Davis

Executive Director

Armando Garza

Dallas Chapter President

Richard Salinas

Vice President

Local Association Chapter


Chief's Caucus Membership