Dr. Rob Hruska is a neurosurgeon and member of Texas Health Physicians Group. He is also a certified pyrotechnician, which allows him to shoot display fireworks shows for a crowd.

Hruska spoke with Community Impact about why he became a neurosurgeon and pyrotechnician and what the two have in common. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

When and why did you become a certified pyrotechnician?

I became a pyrotechnician about four years ago. I was excited to be out of residency and able to have the time to enjoy hobbies again. I always enjoyed fireworks and recent innovations with electronic firing systems for fireworks interested me. This gives me the ability to plan my fireworks shows and also enjoy them with the crowd.

What is a certified pyrotechnician?

Becoming a certified pyrotechnician requires a permit through the state fire marshal's office, passing a multiple choice test and performing shows with another pyrotechnician for training purposes. Certified pyrotechnicians have the ability to shoot display firework shows for a crowd and if certified with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ability to use professional grade fireworks. I also have a type 54 license, which is acquired through the federal government.

Do you have any pyrotechnician plans for this July 4?

I am currently in the middle of setting up a 30-minute pyromusical fireworks show for the 4th of July. It includes eight songs and almost 1,000 cues, which are timed events of individual fireworks being ignited to pretimed events within the planned songs. The show will be held for family and friends on private property in La Grange, Texas.

What is your favorite firework? Why?

It is hard to pick a favorite and it changes every year. I like fireworks that have brighter colors and enjoy the quieter effects such as falling leaves and waterfall effects to emphasize decrescendo moments of songs.

What are imperative components of a successful fireworks show?

Safety is first—keeping safe distances between the crowd and the fireworks depending on the different sizes of fireworks. Organization is key. I plan many months before the shows. I consider my show a success if others enjoyed it and if I was able to improve my show from last year. That might mean better timing of the fireworks or better use of different firework effects.

Do you have tips for fireworks safety?

You should never hold fireworks when igniting them. Keeping distance from a firework when it ignites is the most important thing to being safe. If you can electronically ignite a firework from a distance, that provides further distance and safety. Avoid any alcohol intake when handling fireworks.

When and why did you become a neurosurgeon?

I have always gravitated towards skills that require hand-eye coordination and attention to detail. Neurosurgery is an amazing specialty that allows me to help others using the above skill set.

Does being a neurosurgeon and certified pyrotechnician have anything in common? If yes, explain.

Both are interests that are hands on. I think that I am drawn to both because there is always room for improvement and perfecting skills. They both require intense concentration for prolonged periods of time.