Kevin Barry O’Connor
1030 Park Road Crownsville, MD 21032
(C) 202-549-6324 Email:

Employment History:

January 2016- present:

Founded O’Connor CARES Solutions, an advocacy and consulting firm, specializing in creating opportunities and crafting solutions for clients seeking to succeed in the legislative, political, business development, financial and labor relations fields. The practice handles issues before the Executive and Legislative branches of government on the federal, state and local levels and provides consultation and advice on public pension and Taft/Hartley pension fund issues.


August 2000-2016:
December 2021-present
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
Assistant to the General President for Government and Public Affairs

The position entails serving as a senior adviser to the General President and supervising the Political, Legislative, Regulatory, and Public Policy operations of the 335,000-member union.

The Government and Public Affairs Division of the IAFF has a professional and support staff of 12 employees and an annual budget of almost 2 million dollars. Additionally, the Division oversees several Political Actions Committees that raise and disperse over $8 million in political contributions and other expenditures over a two-year election cycle.

From 2000-2004, the Division supervised the Public Relations and Publications Departments. Responsibilities included providing the union’s 3,000-plus affiliates with advice and assistance in developing public relations and outreach campaigns, publishing a bi-monthly-48 page-full-color magazine, designing, updating and maintaining an interactive website for member communications and providing various leadership updates and newsletters on current events and/or educational material. In 2002, the International Labor Communications Association awarded the IAFF the designation as the best website in organization and in 2003 the best membership publication.

In 2003, I spearheaded the IAFF’s development and launch of a wholly owned for profit subsidiary, IAFF Financial Corporation (IAFF-FC). The corporation provides various investment and deferred compensation products as well as life, auto, property insurance, health, dental, optical and long-term care insurance offerings. My role was to guide the project’s transformation from a concept to an actual functioning enterprise including working with attorneys on the various aspects of incorporation, developing a business plan and assisting in interviewing and recommending candidates for managerial positions in the corporation.


January 1994-August 2000:
Maryland State and District of Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association President

Elected and served two terms as president of the 7,500-member umbrella association for the 16 affiliate locals of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Duties included: serving as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, setting strategic directions and organizational priorities, serving as the spokesperson and chief lobbyist in the state capitol of Annapolis, arbitrating disputes between member affiliates, chairing association conventions and meetings, and serving as the organization’s representative to local and state labor federations and coordinating with the International Association of Fire Fighters on issues of mutual interest. Prior to assuming the presidency, I served as the Executive Vice President and Legislative Agent.


September 1991-September 2000:
Baltimore County Fire Fighters Association, Local 1311, International Association of Fire Fighters

Elected and served three terms as president of the 1,200-member local labor union representing fire fighters, paramedics and fire officers in Baltimore County, MD. The principal responsibilities were negotiating and enforcing labor contracts with county government, adjudicating grievances and disciplinary matters between association members, the fire department and county government, representing the legislative interests of the association before the County Council, managing the day to day activities of the organization, supervising a staff of 13 officers and support personnel, and chairing association membership and committee meetings. During my tenure, I participated and/ or chaired seven (7) negotiations committees. Prior to assuming the presidency, I served as the Secretary-Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer from 1988-91 and Trustee from 1986-88.


September 1985-October 2000:
Baltimore County Fire Department (BCoFD)

Fire Fighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Served as a fire fighter/EMT in a 1,300-member Fire Department that provides fire, rescue and EMS services to the citizens and visitors of Baltimore County, MD., a suburban jurisdiction of 700,000 residents. I was alternatively assigned to work on an engine, ladder truck and medic. I worked at the Eastview Fire Station, which at the time had the busiest ladder truck company in the county.

From March 1987 through June 1988, I served as the Administrative and Fire Ground Aide to the Chief of the Fire Department. Duties included preparing and writing the Department’s annual report, assisting in identifying organizational priorities and objectives, assisting in budget preparation (at the time the annual budget was approximately $45 million), handling press inquiries, serving as the Chief’s assistant on emergency operations and performing other duties as assigned.

I served as the Chief’s representative on multi-agency effort to transition the county’s communications infrastructure to a truncated, 28 tower, 800 megahertz system.

During that period, my major focus was working to integrate the Bethlehem Steel Fire Department, a private, industrial fire department providing services to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in the Sparrows Point section of Baltimore County, into the BCoFD. The project required bargaining with the corporation to assume control of fire fighting and EMS operations at the facility and evaluating, training and transferring 48 Bethlehem Fire Fighters into BCoFD. In return for providing these services, Bethlehem Steel transferred a parcel of land to Baltimore County to construct a state-of-the-art Fire- Rescue Training Academy. I resigned this position to avoid a conflict of interest when I announced my candidacy for Secretary-Treasurer of the Baltimore County Fire Fighters Association and returned to basic fire fighting duties.


Public Service, Directorships, Affiliated Association Leadership:  

Member, Baltimore Board of Fire Commissioners

Serving as one of the five Fire Commissioners of the 1,800 member Baltimore City Fire Department.  The Department is a major urban fire, rescue and EMS emergency service that protects the citizens and visitors to Baltimore, MD.   The position provides strategic guidance and planning to the Mayor, City Council and leadership of the Fire Department.   Fire Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.


Member, Board of Directors, Babe Ruth Museum

Serving as a Director of the Baltimore based 501(3) (c), non-profit to memorialize the greatest player in baseball history.  The museum honors the life, exploits and accomplishment of Baltimore’s native son Babe Ruth.


Trustee:  Institute for Pension Fund Integrity

Serving on an advocacy board comprised of pension fund trustees, executive officers, state treasurers and other concerned parties to ensure that the investment decisions of pension plans are predicated on fiduciary principles, risk and return modeling and the “prudent man” rule.  The Institute opposes making investment decisions on political or social criteria.


Member, DNC Transition Team

Author of a bi-monthly column for largest circulation magazine for the fire service industry addressing the impact of legislation, regulatory action and political activity on fire fighters and the profession.


Contributing Editor, FIREHOUSE Magazine

Author of a bi-monthly column for largest circulation magazine for the fire service industry addressing the impact of legislation, regulatory action and political activity on fire fighters and the profession.


Congressional Fire Service Institute Advisory Board Chairman

Elected Chair of the Congressional Fire Service Institute Advisory Board. The Board develops policy and makes recommendations to the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI), a non-profit institute comprised of 47 fire service-related organizations, publications, and companies, that supports the Congressional Fire Caucus, the largest Caucus on Capitol Hill. The Caucus is a bi-cameral, bi-partisan group that works to advance legislation to improve the American fire service and support the nation’s fire fighters. The chairman’s position has a term limit of two one-year terms.

Served as Vice Chair from 2006-2008.


Democratic Platform Drafting Committee Member

Appointed by Democratic Presidential nominee, John F. Kerry, to serve on a 15-member committee to draft the party’s platform for the 2004 General Elections. Over a period of five months, the committee traveled the country holding public hearings on national security and foreign affairs, economic, energy, agriculture, domestic and health care policy issues. Subsequently, the committee developed the platform that was adopted by delegates to the Democratic National Convention.


Maryland State Economic Development Commission Commissioner

Appointed by Governor Parris N. Glendening and confirmed by the Maryland State Senate as one of 12 Commissioners to the State Economic Development Commission. The Commission advises the executive and legislative branches of government on economic development policy and develops a business plan to attract and retain businesses to Maryland, spur industrial development and increase employment throughout the state.


First Mariner Bank Director

Served on the corporate Board of Directors of a Baltimore-based regional bank. During the term of my directorship, the bank held an initial public offering and grew its assets from $600 million to over $1 billion.


Glendening Transition team Co-Chair and Member

Served as a member of the transition team for newly elected Governor of Maryland, Parris N. Glendening. As part of my duties, I Co-Chaired the Public Safety workgroup which evaluated and made recommendations to the new Governor on issues ranging from policy, personnel, legislative action and strategic planning involving law enforcement, corrections, fire and emergency services, and the National Guard.

Note: Also served on the transition teams for Baltimore County Executive C.A “Dutch” Ruppersberger (1994), FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison (2005), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (2009)


Baltimore County Efficiency in Government Commission

Appointed by Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden (R) to serve on a blue ribbon panel to evaluate various aspects of county government and recommend changes to policies, operating procedures, and, if applicable charter revisions.


Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO Vice President

Elected to the governing body of 250,000-member state labor federation. In that capacity, I chaired the AFL-CIO’s Legislative, Public Relations and Economic Policy Committees as well as serving as the Federation’s Parliamentarian from 1995-2000.


Baltimore Port Council Director

Elected as a Director to the executive board of the Baltimore Port Council. The Council is comprised of representatives from labor, government and the private sector dedicated to improving commerce at the Port of Baltimore


Maryland Fire, Rescue, Education and Training Commission (MFRETC) Commissioner

Appointed by Governor William Donald Schaefer and confirmed by the Maryland State Senate as one of 12 Commissioners on the MFRTC. The commission recommends standards for training, certification requirements and minimal standards of delivery for fire, rescue and emergency medical services within the state.


Baltimore County Employees Retirement System Trustee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Elected and served three terms as one of two employee trustees to the Baltimore County Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees. The board determines benefit structure and offerings, develops actuarial accounting standards, charts and implements investment policies and administers the daily functions of a retirement system with over $2 billion dollars in assets and covering over 15,000 active and retired members. From 1994-1997, I served as Chairman of the Board, the first employee ever elected to that post.


Baltimore County Health Care Review Committee Chairman

As a result of collective bargaining agreements in 1987, county government and all bargaining units (IAFF, Fraternal Order of Police, American Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) agreed that all health care negotiations and benefit offerings would be vetted and negotiated through a joint labor/management Health Review Committee. I was selected by both labor and management representatives as the first chair and served without interruption until 2000. The committee dealt with various health insurers and other vendors, negotiated agreements and developed educational materials for county employees pertaining to their health insurance benefits.



Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
Political Economy, 1983

Baltimore County Fire Academy
Towson, MD

Fire Service and Emergency Medical Services, 1985

Harvard University Cambridge, MA T.U.P, 1991


Awards and Recognitions

Congressional Fire Services Caucus/Motorola Mason Langford Lifetime Achievement Award


Maryland State and District of Columbia Professional Fire Fighters President Emeritus and Life Membership


Maryland Democratic Party “Distinguished Leadership Award”


State of Israel Bonds “Outstanding Labor Leader”


Baltimore Peabody Club “Man of the Year”



Recipient of the “Defending Main Street” award by the Republican Main Street Partnership, an organization dedicated to electing moderate Republicans and working in a bi-partisan fashion to solve complicated political, economic and social issues.


Baltimore County Fire Department
Commendation for duties performed during a five-alarm apartment fire in Essex, MD, where the fire was contained, and eight people were rescued as a result of the actions of the crew of Truck 15


Memberships and Affiliations

Ancient Order of Hibernians —member, past president Baltimore Division 5 and past state secretary

Capitol Hill Club (National Republican Club) Harvard-Radcliff Club of Maryland
National Democratic Club