The TFS team boasts a combined 50 years of professional firefighting experience. The Turtle Fire System was designed and developed to adapt to the ever-evolving fire service and to support the safety of fellow firefighters and the communities they serve.

Howard “Buddy” Hayes

Founder & CEO

Meet our CEO and Founder, Howard “Buddy” Hayes. Buddy grew up in Jersey City and joined the Jersey City Fire Department in 2003. He has spent the majority of his career at Engine Company 10 and was promoted to Captain in 2018.

Buddy worked alongside several experienced firefighters, including the late Captain Mark Lee, Sr. who was highly respected for being a great firefighter, amazing leader, and a genuine man and Tom “Spud” Facciola who displayed a work ethic that every new firefighter should emulate. These and other mentors inspired Buddy with a love and respect for the job and commitment to serving the community beyond his duties as a firefighter. As a strong advocate of community relations, Buddy regularly volunteers his time with special needs students in Jersey City public schools and with the Captain Mark V. Lee Sr. Memorial Toy Drive.

His pride in the fire service and desire to leave the job better than he found it inspired his creation of the Turtle Fire System in 2022.

Matthew Faden

Chief Revenue Officer & Head of Sales

Meet our CRO and Head of Sales, Matthew Faden. After spending over a decade in the private sector, Matt discovered his true calling when he joined the Jersey City Fire Department in 2017. His fire career has been spent on engines at some of the busiest houses in the city, serving the community where he was born and raised.

Prior to joining the Turtle Fire Systems team, Matt sold fire equipment and apparatus to career and volunteer departments across the state of New Jersey.

His passion for the fire service, experience supporting a wide range of municipalities, and an understanding of their unique challenges and needs makes Matt an excellent addition to the TFS team.


Scott Windrem

Chief Product Officer


Meet our CPO, Scott Windrem. Scott, a United States Marine Veteran, joined the Jersey City Fire Department in 2005, continuing his family’s 75+ year service to the city as members of both the JCFD and JCPD.

In 2015, Scott began training Jersey City’s recruits in pump operations, fire ground hydraulics, high-rise operations, and general apparatus maintenance and operation. He is on the JCFD committee for apparatus design with a focus on pump selection, plumbing, volume optimization, and designing pump panel layouts. Scott has assisted the department with various hydraulics related evaluations, published several pump operations bulletins, and authored an apparatus Standard Operating Procedure.

Scott’s talent and passion for hydraulics make him a valuable asset to the TFS team.

Headshot of Firefighter Michael Ross wearing his turnout gear and helmet

Michael Ross

Chief Intelligence Officer & Head of Government Relations

Headshot of Firefighter Michael Ross wearing his turnout gear and helmet

Meet our CIO & Head of Government Relations, Michael Ross. Michael, a United States Navy Veteran, has completed five deployments since beginning his military career in 2009. He continues to serve as a Senior Chief Petty Officer (E8) in the Navy reserves.

Following his time on active-duty Michael briefly joined the private sector, holding securities and fraud investigation positions at various financial institutions, before fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a career firefighter when he joined the Hoboken Fire Department in 2017. Thus far, Michael’s fire career has been between the city’s two busiest houses, Truck-2 & Rescue-1.

Michael’s ambition, love for the job, and diverse real-world experiences make him an excellent addition to the TFS team.