As a Purdue University graduate and leading authority in water safety, aquatics and CPR, Ken Roland is renowned as one of the preeminent instructors in the nation. Currently, Ken teaches water safety courses at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where as an adjunct instructor he trains and certifies university students in first aid, lifeguarding and water safety instruction. He also teaches certification classes at CPR, Etc., his company that teaches lifesaving skills to the community. In 1992, he received the American Red Cross Instructor of the Year to cement his legacy as one of the best trainers in the nation. In 1993 and 1995, he received the Kiwanis Club Exemplary Service Award. Since knowing of G. Harold Martin’s “Every Child a Swimmer” endeavor, Ken has been a supporter of the program which is taught through Kiwanis Clubs nationwide. In Broward County, it led to the formation of Swim Central which provides swimming lessons to young children in the county at no charge. It has greatly reduced the numbers of drownings in this under-five age group where drownings are the greatest cause of accidental deaths. As the City of Fort Lauderdale Recreation Aquatic Coordinator, his staff has taught half of the children to swim under the Swim Central banner, now totaling 250,000 children.
Since 2003, as Fort Lauderdale’s Aquatic Supervisor, Roland manages all aquatic operations, facilities and personnel. He is responsible to hire, train and certify all personal in water safety, lifeguarding, first aid and CPR and has successfully increased minority applications and positions by over 50%.
From 2000 to 2003, he managed the City of Margate’s 25 yard aquatic facility, boat dock and lake front. From 1996 to 2003, he conducted training in personal survival at sea deploying 12 man rafts for numerous cruise lines. From 1986 to 1999, he was a lifeguard lieutenant for the City of Pompano Beach responsible for hiring and training staff in the art of patron surveillance, rescue board techniques, jet ski and RIB procedures. In Pompano, he implemented the Every Child a Swimmer program from 1993 to 1998 that taught over 42,000 children to swim. While Judge Martin’s son, Jim, serves President of Every Child a Swimmer and Ken currently serves as Vice President.
In Broward County, he became the first African American Instructor Trainer for CPR. He was the first black lifeguard lieutenant on an integrated beach and the only black lieutenant on the entire east coast of the United States. He joined the Drowning Prevention Coalition. A former musician, he wrote six songs about water safety and created a ‘Barney type” character named “Lucky the Dolphin” where he went around to elementary schools singing the gospel of water safety and wearing his “Lucky The Dolphin” costume. He helped write the American Red Cross Guard Start Junior Lifeguard book.
Roland is a founding board member of the SWIMS Foundation, a county advisory and fundraising organization for SWIM Central. He has received the American Red Cross Participation and Support Award (1999), the ARC Cheerleader of the Year (1995), the ARC Instructor for the Year Award (1992), Kiwanis Club Exemplary Service Award (1993, 1995) and the Top Provider Award of the ARC Learn to Swim Program (2009-2010) all of which recognize his service and commitment to water safety. Additionally, Roland has over eight certificates with the American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation.