Fastlane

February 15, 2011

Paul Rodarmer: He's there to serve…and then some

We’ve all heard the story about the old firedog who goes running every time he hears the firehouse bell ring.  Paul Rodarmer is kind of like that dog. No matter where the regional customer activities manager for General Motors (GM) finds himself, he feels compelled to get involved in his community. And many times it involves the fire department.

Paul has lived in a number of different cities during his 36 years with General Motors and is currently based out of the south central regional office in Dallas, Texas. He is also the chief of the volunteer fire department in the town of Tioga, Texas. He says, “As chief of a small volunteer department — you’ve heard the term chief cook and bottle washer — that’s kind of what it amounts to sometimes. One of my roles is to deal with city council and the mayor and try to fight the ongoing budget fight. (Also,) as the chief I am what’s called the incident commander. So whenever there is a fire or an accident or whatever we respond to, the incident commander is the overall person in charge and directs the operations. And if we’re short on crew I might find myself inside of a house pulling a fire hose.”

Members of Tioga, Texas Volunteer Fire Department with their pumper.

Volunteers of the Tioga, Texas Fire Dept. with their pumper.

Obviously, if Paul sees a job that needs to be done, he isn’t afraid to take it on.  His job at GM involves “helping customers that have issues with their cars that dealers have been unable to resolve or anything that customers need assistance with that dealers can’t help them with.” While that may sound like enough work to keep one man busy, for Paul, it’s just the start of his day. Along with being the fire chief, he’s also the president of the school board and he leads the industrial development corporation in his town. In his “spare time” Paul, his wife and his daughter all participate in Future Farmers of America. They have a farm where they raise animals and some crops.

It almost goes without saying, but Paul says it: “Personally I love my community. I think it’s important — regardless of the size of the community — that people get involved and do things.” He hears people say things like, they should fix the roads or improve the schools. His attitude is, “They is really us.”

At his desk at GM office in Dallas. Over his right shoulder is a framed copy

At his desk at GM office in Dallas. Over his right shoulder is a framed copy of the Firefighter's Prayer.

To keep things going on his farm he has a number of GM trucks and when they need repairs he often does them himself. He isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and it keeps him closer to the clients he serves in his job. “In my job I try to understand when customers have problems and their cars break down what we can do to help them. If I don’t have an understanding of my own — keeping my own fleet going — then I don’t have as good an appreciation for what customers go through. I’m really a big customer myself so I try to relate that to people when they buy our products.”

Once again, the firedog is ready to spring into action and do what needs to be done.

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