A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty


Trent Reeise, Age 37

Fire Chief, City of Pekin

Trent Reeise

Reeise is the administrative and operational leader of the Pekin Fire Department, where he leads a progressive emergency response agency of 56 employees.

“Trent is a community-minded leader within the City of Pekin government. … As a member of Pekin Fire Department, he became involved in the leadership of Pekin Firefighters Local 524, where he served terms as a shift steward and as the local’s political action board president,” said his nominator. “This leadership ability translated into … eventually being appointed chief of the Pekin Fire Department at the age of 35.”

Under Chief Reeise’s tenure, Pekin has negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with firefighters, upgraded its emergency medical service level to Advanced Life Support, negotiated a franchise agreement with Advanced Medical Transport to provide ambulance service, and begun work to replace the city’s 60-year-old plus fire stations.

Outside work, Reeise is a member of Pekin’s Salvation Army Board and the Kiwanis Club. He often can be found helping out with community projects such as the Chamber of Commerce’s 4th of July celebration and the Pekin Marigold Festival.

Reeise is married to Tabitha and they have two children, Tristan and Lainey.

Childhood ambition: “When I was young, my father was a volunteer firefighter in a small community.  I would go with him to the firehouse every chance I could.  One night … I was playing in the engine bay and I opened a door on the ambulance. … The door swung down, striking me square on top of my head. The next thing I remember is my dad jogging home carrying me in his arms. …  I always wanted to be a firefighter.” 

Bucket list priority: “To visit Sicily, Italy … where my mother’s side of the family is from.”

Best advice: “I was a brand-new rookie and the medic in charge of the scene. A senior firefighter stepped into the back of the ambulance and grabbed my shaking hands as I was preparing to start an IV.  He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Hey, we didn’t cause this. We can only make it better. Now get after it.’ It was exactly what a wide-eyed, 22-year-old … paramedic probationary firefighter needed to hear.”   

Motivating social issue: “I know this is not a specific social issue but I cannot stand bullies.”

Book recommendation:Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.”