The head of Princeton Borough’s emergency services department is leaving the borough to take a job in the corporate world again.
Mark Freda has accepted a position with Pfizer, Inc. as the director of site operations at the company’s New York headquarters.
Freda, a former borough councilman, was hired in August of 2009 to fill the new borough post as head the emergency services department, a position that was funded by Princeton University. A major part of the job has included overseeing the administrative management of the fire department, which is a joint operation of the borough and township.
“Working for the borough was a great opportunity and I was very appreciative to have it,” Freda said. “We made a lot of progress doing things with the fire department in particular.”
The fire department, a joint agency administered by the borough, is comprised of all volunteers, including Chief Dan Tomalin. Freda has handled the administrative workload of the fire department, such as purchasing vehicles and other equipment and applying for grants. During the last two years, he implemented a new program for volunteer firefighters from Princeton University, oversaw a study about fire department operations, and made the shift from having firefighters respond to calls from three different fire houses to one fire house in an attempt to improve response times.
“Mark has done so much in the short two years he has been with us, from handling administrative issues to starting new programs and ways of doing things,” Borough administrator Bob Bruschi said. “He has been a volunteer with the fire department and the rescue squad for more than 30 years. He’s had the respect of the fire department, even when people didn’t always agree with everything he wanted to accomplish. He will be missed.”
Freda, who served on the borough council from 1986 to 1999, is a lifelong borough resident. A certified facilities manager, he was the facilities manager at Goldman Sachs & Co.’s headquarters in Jersey City until 2008 and worked for the company for 25 years. He has served as a volunteer firefighter with the Princeton Fire Department since 1974 and the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad since 1975.
As fire departments across the state and the country have struggled to recruit and retail volunteers, Freda has focused on ways to attract new volunteers through the new program with Princeton University and has been looking at other potential ways to encourage new members to join.
Even though he is leaving his borough job, he plans to still be active with both the fire department and the rescue squad.
“I love the borough, the rescue squad and the fire department,” he said. “I’m not about to disappear from my involvement with them now.”