30 Under 30: Bryden Pelletier fires up Union Local 18

Leveraging his graduate business degree, Pelletier aims to help improve his colleagues' physical and mental health.

Bryden Pelletier, 28

Vice-president, Vancouver Fire Fighters’ Union Local 18

Life Story: Bryden Pelletier always dreamed of being a firefighter. “I just really wanted to help people,” he says. “That was the profession that you were right there in the moment, at the most critical intervention time.”

Knowing that he faced stiff competition for a job with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, the Lantzville native decided to set himself apart. Pelletier played lacrosse while attending college in the U.S., earning a BA in sociology and criminology from Adams State University in Colorado. He then did an MBA at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, where he played NCAA Division 1. Pelletier finished both degrees in just four years.

The MBA helped him snag a spot with the Vancouver fire department in 2016, from among hundreds of applicants. A year later, two colleagues approached Pelletier about getting involved in union work. After being elected one of the youngest VPs of a Canadian firefighters’ union in 2018, he represents some 800 Local 18 members.

Bottom Line: Leveraging his graduate business degree, Pelletier aims to help improve his colleagues’ physical and mental health. “Because of my education, I’ve been put into a lot of unique situations where I’ve been able to get through a door that maybe more-experienced firefighters should,” he says.

Among other projects, Pelletier is working with the union, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services and SportsCardiologyBC to create a free cardiovascular assessment for firefighters, who are at high risk of dying from heart disease. He’s also secretary-treasurer of Vancouver Firefighter Charities, whose efforts include supplying food to more than 2,300 children at 45 schools. Pelletier recently joined the fire department’s COVID-19 taskforce