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What's it like working for SFFR?

Mark Olson by a fire apparatus

Mark Olson

I started at Sioux Falls Fire rescue seven years ago. I achieved my degree in finance with an interest in banking and investments. I spent time as a mortgage lender, financial software consultant, financial counselor, car salesman, and 911 dispatcher/operator. I took a step back to look at my career path, I realized I wanted a job that allowed me to spend more of my time meaningfully serving the people in the community where I live.. I wanted to break out of the typical office environment and be active every day.

A friend of mine approached me about openings on the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue team and I immediately knew that I was going to do everything possible to get the job. After applying I took a job working at Metro Communications and gained valuable experience. Read more about Mark here.

Joe Funke

Joe Funke

I have been a part of the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue team for seven years. Prior to my employment with SFFR I worked for a Rural/Metro ambulance as a paramedic. I was a member of the U.S Army reserve from May 2006 to May 2014 serving as an Army Reserve Military Police.

I felt a call to serve people at a young age while in the Army. Therefore, I set my goal to become a Firefighter. I connected with my cousin who serves on SFFR. I got insight to see if this was the right job for me along with knowing how to better prepare myself for this kind of job. I first got my EMT certification and then went to school to obtain my Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications. Then I went to school for paramedicine, where I became a paramedic and started working for Rural/Metro in Sioux Falls for 3 years. Finally, I received the honor to serve the residents of Sioux Falls with Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue. My job is fulfilling my calling to serve the people of our community in the times when they need help the most. Read more about Joe here.

Alyssa Lyons

Alyssa Lyons

I worked as a registered nurse at Avera McKennan for eight years, spending time in the surgical and trauma unit and the emergency department. I joined the Parker volunteer fire department to serve and be a part of my community. After working as a volunteer, I discovered that I had piqued an interest in the fire service industry and started to consider a career change. After some reflection, making the change felt like a natural progression for my career, with my medical background and my passion for the fire service, it was the right choice.

I grew up in Windom, MN. I went to South Dakota State University to get a Bachelor of Science in nursing. After graduation I moved to Sioux Falls to begin my career at Avera McKennan. In January of 2021, I began the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue cadet academy, then graduated in May becoming a probationary firefighter. Being a firefighter is rewarding with the knowledge that with every call, we are helping someone. Read more about Alyssa here.

Mike Gramlick

Mike Gramlick

For 22 years, I have had the greatest ride. Serving our City has been the greatest unexpected pleasure of my life. I was not a kid who grew up dreaming of a career in the Fire Service, in fact I’m not sure I had even a single firefighting toy growing up in the 80s.  It’s those unique reasons that make my Fire Service story so much fun to share.

As a proud Jackrabbit, I graduated from Brookings and headed off to law school in Georgia. Atlanta is a big place, and this South Dakota kid decided two things - I didn’t want to be an attorney, and Sioux Falls was the place I wanted to build a life in. After moving home, while awaiting the return of my fiancé and our pending wedding, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. Now a famous story in our family, my mom was reading the classified ads and announced that the Fire Department was hiring. My mom likes to remind me of my unfortunate reply often, “why would that matter to me?” Following a brief debate at my parents’ kitchen table, I dutifully trotted off to the 1999 Sioux Falls Fire Department Testing. With the test complete, I dove into a young career in medical sales and didn’t really think of it again. That is, until I received a phone call from the City asking to set up an interview. Read more about Mike here.