“HCC transformed me from an unmotivated high school student into a lifelong learner with a master’s degree, and the Fire Chief of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.”

— Bill Nesmith, Retired Fire Chief, Hillsborough County

When I enrolled at HCC in 1968, some of my fellow firefighters would joke with me saying, “Are you going to put out fires with those books?” But I had loftier goals, and HCC gave me the opportunity to reach them. I was an average high school student and after high school, enrolled in HCC to earn my A.S. in Fire Science Technology. HCC gave me the confidence I needed to become a better student. The professors were instructive, encouraging and accessible. So, while working as a firefighter, I remained at HCC to earn my A.A. in Liberal Arts. After graduating, I transferred to the University of South Florida where I earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Technical Education. I worked for the Tampa Fire Department for 24 years, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue for 17 years, and retired as the Fire Chief of Hillsborough County. HCC started me on a journey that helped me achieve my goals.