Meet Rob Ward, exceptional Emprint/Moran team member who serves as production scheduler or “Scheduling Czar” as he likes to describe himself. He follows each job from beginning to end. Starting the day at around 7 a.m., he begins his rounds through the plant, tracking the progress of jobs on the schedule and making sure that everything meets Emprint quality standards each step of the way.
Meet Rob Ward, Louisiana Search and Rescue K9 (LaSAR) team member and National Network of Canine Detection Services (NNCDS) instructor. He and his Australian Shepherd, Niko, are certified in land-based and water-based human remains detection. The duo travels the country assisting with fieldwork involving wilderness, buildings, vehicles and water recovery.
Rob discovered his interest in forensic work by accident in 2012. While talking to friends who were EMTs, he mentioned he was interested in finding a Belgian Malinois to train for a sport called French Ring. (Schutzhund is similar and more popular in this area.) His friends suggested he investigate Search and Rescue (SAR) teams instead. Initially, he laughed at the idea because of the training needed to excel in SAR work. After several internet searches and a phone call, he met the lead trainer for LaSAR. He was invited to a team training, and as Rob describes it, “The rest was history.”
“I learned a lot about dogs in the couple of months I began hanging around with the LaSAR team,” said Rob. “That knowledge led me to change my interest from a Belgian Malinois to an Australian Shepherd. It had nothing to do with the breed and everything to do with the handler (i.e., me). Both breeds are completely capable of doing the job, but a Malinois isn’t always suitable for a novice handler. My search for the perfect “aussie” led me to a breeder in Terrell, Texas. Niko was born on March 31, 2013, and I met him about four weeks after that. Puppy tests were performed to check his temperament and drive. Needless to say, he exceeded what I had hoped for. I picked him up five weeks later,” he explained.
Niko’s training began at 10 weeks. “He was trained using the U.S. Customs method due to the nature of work that we planned on doing and the possibility of going to court,” said Rob. Niko became certified for Human Remains Detection by the lead trainer for LaSAR, and shortly after, he became nationally certified by NNCDS. This gave the pair the credentials to begin field work on cases involving wilderness, buildings and vehicles. He also became certified for Human Remains Water Recovery 6 months later.
Rob and Niko now serve as a senior HRD team for LaSAR and maintain a “standby/ready” status to assist KlaasKids, based in Pensacola, Florida. They regularly train with the Louisiana State Task Forces (TF1, TF2, TF3) and the Louisiana State Fire Marshall K9 team and respond to call outs from federal and state agencies.
Rob came to NNCDS in 2014 as a participant and piqued their interest with his approach to K9 training. For the next three years, he served as secretary/webmaster for NNCDS and served as an assistant instructor at the annual seminars. He currently serves NNCDS as an instructor and member of their advisory board.
Most recently, Rob began working closely with the local Louisiana Boy Scout camps and developed a classroom/field curriculum to assist the scouts in obtaining their SAR merit badge.
Rob is a technician class HAM radio operator. He has completed First Aid/CPR/AED training, Blood-borne Pathogens training, and Hazardous Materials Awareness Responder Level training. He is also the webmaster for LaSAR.Read More News