Meet the Board of Trustees Officers

Chair Michael McKendrick

Assistant Fire Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department

Chairman and Founding Trustee

Mike McKendrick is a native Tucsonan and a 30-year veteran of the fire service. As assistant chief for the Tucson Fire Department’s Operations Division, he was responsible for all the emergency response forces for the City of Tucson. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in public fire administration from Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, California, and served on the board of the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System for 16 years. Mike’s previous community volunteer work also includes seven years of coaching football and wrestling at Sabino High School, where he was named 2002 Southern Arizona Wrestling Coach of the Year.  Chairman of the Board, Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union.

Vice Chair Michael J. Brandt

Fire Chief, Northwest Fire District

Assistant Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department

Mike Brandt has served the Greater Tucson community as a firefighter, paramedic and fire-service administrator for more than 38 years. As the fire chief of Northwest Fire District, he oversees fire, EMS and community safety operations, which provide services to more than 110,000 residents of Marana and northwest Tucson, covering over 120 square miles. Mike, a native Tucsonan, began his career at Tucson Fire Department in 1977, advancing through the ranks to retire in 2005 at the rank of assistant chief, where he directed operations in the fire prevention and community safety divisions. He served as assistant chief in all major departments/divisions during his career at Tucson Fire. Before hiring onto TFD, he served in the U.S. Air Force – as a specialist in aerospace control and warning systems – and completed a tour of duty in Southeast Asia, where he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal. Mike has served as an appointee to the Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Council, is the current chair of the Pima County Fire Chiefs Association, and the current co-chair of the Pima Community College Fire/EMS Advisory Committee. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, Arizona Fire District Association, Arizona Ambulance Association, Marana Chamber of Commerce, Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, and local board of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. He and his wife, Rose, have six children – and he still finds time to volunteer on the YMCA Board of Managers, and with other civic groups.

Treasurer Vern Babilon

CEO Tucson Old Pueblo CU

Vern Babilon moved to Tucson in January 2013 when he became the new CEO of Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union (TOPCU). After earning his bachelor’s degree in banking/finance and accounting at Alvernia College in Reading, Pennsylvania, Vern obtained his master’s degree in business/management from Penn State University. He became a certified credit union executive (CCUE) in 1993, and a certified public accountant in 1994. Vern has held positions as a top credit-union executive for the past 25 years – first as CEO in Reading, Pennsylvania, then as EVP/CFO at a large credit union in downtown Houston, Texas. He has also served as a consultant and auditor for many smaller credit unions. Tucson Old Pueblo Credit union – founded by city firefighters in 1935 – maintains strong ties with the firefighting community, which Vern and his staff actively maintain by volunteering with the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation and other events benefiting firefighters. Vern, who is currently serving as GTFF’s treasurer, is also a trustee of the Tucson Police Foundation. Having been involved in a wide variety of community fundraising events over the years (as a sponsor, participant and/or volunteer) Vern especially enjoys participating in running and bicycling events benefiting charities. He and his wife are also one of the first couples to hit the dance floor at the annual Firefighters Ball

Secretary Gerald M. “Gerry” Bates, Ph.D.

Assistant Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department

Gerry Bates is a veteran firefighter, retiring after 34 years of service with the Tucson Fire Department at the rank of assistant chief. He served as the department’s health and safety officer, and is a nationally published author on occupational, hazardous materials and injury-prevention issues. Gerry is a Michigan native, and holds a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in educational leadership, and a doctorate in public administration. He is an instructor in the fire science program at Pima Community College, and holds the level of an eighth-degree grandmaster in the martial art of tae kwondo. He also volunteers as a paralegal with the Tucson City Prosecutors Office, and is a docent at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Gerry married Char, an ultrasonographer, in 1983.