A late-night conversation with his roommate while seated on the kitchen countertop provided the “a-ha” moment for Travis Guinta. He always had an urge to serve his country...but in what way; this was the unknown. In the late-night conversation they explored what they were good at, the life-style they wanted to live, and rewarding career options. After several hours of deep conversation, everything pointed to one pursuit. From that day forward, Travis would begin his journey to pursue the rewarding career of becoming a Firefighter!
At this point in time, Travis was teaching music with multiple organizations like, The Arizona Academy Drum & Bugle Corps and Dark Sky Percussion. A former student of his was currently involved with the Fire I and II Academy and he suggested that Travis strongly consider the Fire Science program at PVCC. After considerable research on the various programs available here in the valley, Travis was convinced that PVCC offered the best program to help him be successful.
From the get-go, Travis noticed a huge difference in the Fire Science program compared to other college classes he had taken. From having numerous instructors for one class; to the abundant resources available for hands-on training with the same equipment used in the field; to Phoenix Fire Department allowing PVCC to use their Regional Training facility and apparatuses; to each student (known as a Recruit) getting exposure to multiple live burns. Travis felt that this program was top-notch.
Among the most influential people for Travis was Captain Sunder, Fire Operations Academy Director. Travis found Captain Sunder’s boisterous enthusiasm and passion challenged them to be smarter in their decision-making and thought processes and enabled them to become safe, competent firefighters. Travis shared, “The Fire Science program is especially grueling mentally, physically and emotionally. The Firefighter Mentors play a key role in breaking down and building up the Recruits as they move through the training process.”
A key component of the program that Travis found to be beneficial is the early initiation of hands-on-training and its continuation throughout the duration of the program. “This has a huge influence on the preparedness of the students and their ability to succeed in this profession.”
Travis shared, “The resources that are made available to the students are extremely beneficial. Additionally, PVCC has expanded and developed their Fire I and II program by offering Intern and station immersion opportunities after completing the Fire I and II Academy. Students are able to focus on: expanding their networking skills, learning about station life and culture, advancing fire ground tactics, maintaining physical fitness, and working on interview prep while trying to get hired.”
Travis's educational and professional journey has offered a few twists and turns. His expertise as a soccer player led to his giving of his time and talent as a volunteer coach for several valley high school programs. Without a Bachelor's degree, Travis was not able to assume the title of Head Coach and get paid for the coaching he was doing. As he reflected on his long-term ambitions, Travis was motivated to go back to school to get his B.Sc. to help with promotional opportunities in his Firefighter career. Travis pursued and completed a Bachelor's degree through NAU's 90/30 program in Emergency Service Administration in 2013. Subsequently, Travis enrolled in the PVCC Fire I and II Academy. He was then invited to be a Lab Tech for the program which provided him additional opportunities to hone his skills and insights while helping others do the same.
Travis Guinta exudes enthusiasm for his job, his role as an instructor, and for life in general. Travis is currently employed with Scottsdale Fire Department and is thriving in his career and able to leverage his skills in a meaningful way.