East Syracuse: Meet Fire Chief Joe McAllister


My wife of 26 years, Mary Lou; daughter Sarah, age 23, and son Joe Jr., age 20.

Sarah lives and works in Albany for the state in the social services division. Joe lives home when he is not in school; he is entering his junior year at LeMoyne College. Also, when school is out, Joe also takes part in the family business, working in the production department.

Where do you live?

I grew up in East Syracuse, and have lived here all my life. I am the 11th child born into a family of 12 brothers and sisters.

Where do you work?

I am the president of McVac Manufacturing Co., which is located here in the town of DeWitt. My company manufactures process control instruments and components for the vacuum and vacuum coating industry. We specialize in precision welding and machining.

McVac is a small company and I wear many different hats there, but my primary functions there are sales and engineering. My business was established in 1989 and I've been in the industry since 1978.

My second "career position" is chief of the East Syracuse Volunteer Fire Department. I've been with the fire department since 1981, and have served as chief for almost four years.

What are the highlights and challenges of your career?

There are many highlights and challenges in running one's own business. I would have to say, though, being in control of my own destiny is very fulfilling for me, not to mention having the pleasure of working with my wife Mary Lou, who is the vice president and runs the office. The biggest challenge for me in the business is that, though I enjoy our humble successes, I have nobody to pass the blame to for the failures and mistakes.

The highlights of being the fire chief are very obvious and plentiful. I have the great pleasure and opportunity to serve our great community in a capacity that is demanding, exciting, rewarding, and highly visible to the public. I am very fortunate to have a very dedicated and capable group of volunteers who selflessly serve their community under my command.

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