Rick Cramer has been named fire chief at Clemson University, taking over the role from Bill Daniel, who retired at the end of 2020. Cramer comes to Clemson after nearly 25 years of service — most recently as deputy chief of operations — in the Bluffton Township Fire District in Bluffton, South Carolina.
“We are excited to have Rick Cramer join our team as Clemson’s next fire chief,” said Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Greg Mullen. “Rick brings decades of experience in the fire service and has served in various specialized roles that will serve him and the Fire Department well as they move to the next level of excellence. His proven commitment to collaboration, operational excellence, diversity and inclusion, training and staff health and wellness make him a great addition to our public safety team.”
Cramer began his firefighting career as a volunteer in October 1996 and later became a paid firefighter/paramedic with Bluffton Fire District in May 1997, a position he held until 2003 when he was named fire lieutenant. In 2008, he was promoted to battalion chief of training. In this role, he managed the training curriculum for more than 100 firefighters and 16 administrative staff. He also developed and implemented the department’s policies and procedures.
He assumed his most recent position as deputy chief of operations in January 2014. This role included management and oversight of all members of the operations division (127), with direct supervision of six battalion chiefs, training chief and an accreditation manager. In this position, he administered the largest portion of Bluffton’s $16 million budget and was heavily involved with building fire stations, purchasing new apparatuses and overseeing departmental hiring within the operations division. In addition, Cramer served as Bluffton’s medical director, where he was responsible for oversight and management of all EMTs and paramedics.
One of his crowning achievements came last October when the Fire District was accredited by the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
“I am humbled the University has placed its trust in me to serve as fire chief,” Cramer said. “As a firefighter, you never really envision yourself as a fire chief, but as you progress through your career you begin to see it can become a reality. I’m especially excited by the opportunity to work with an organization loaded with talent. I hope to tap into that talent and take the department to the next level. I look forward to serving not only students, faculty and staff, but also citizens of the City of Clemson. I’m excited about the future of Clemson Fire & EMS and can’t wait to get started.”
Cramer has several professional affiliations. He currently chairs the board for the South Carolina Fire Service Insurance Services and is a former chair of the South Carolina Firefighters Association Member Benefits Committee. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Beaufort County Fire Chiefs Association and a 2014 graduate of the South Carolina Firefighters Association Leadership Institute.
Cramer earned an associate’s degree in fire science at Kiser University in Florida in 2009 and added a bachelor’s degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University in Alabama in 2015.