Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that he has chosen Micheal Despain, Fire Chief for Clovis, California, as Lincoln's new Fire Chief. After approval by the Lincoln City Council, he will take over the post July 18. He replaces John Huff, who retired in June 2015. The Mayor thanked Tim Linke for ably serving as Interim Fire Chief. He will return to his previous position as a Lincoln Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief.
"Chief Despain has been in the fire service for more than 30 years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this important leadership position," Beutler said. "I was impressed with his common-sense, data driven approach to the profession. While his career has been spent until now in California, he demonstrates the same kind of strong work ethic that we value in the Midwest."
"Chief Despain's extensive experience, professional training and graduate education were all impressive," said City Public Safety Director Tom Casady. "I spoke with him extensively during the selection process, and I am looking forward to working with him. I think he will bring a fresh perspective to Lincoln Fire and Rescue, and he's been quite impressed with both the Department and the City."
Despain has been the Clovis Fire Chief for about four years. He also served Clovis as a Battalion Chief and Deputy Chief from 2003 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012, he served as Deputy Fire Chief and Interim Chief for the City of Fresno, California. Despain has a bachelor's degree in Management and Organizational Development from Fresno Pacific College and a master's degree in Human Resource Management from National University in Fresno. He also is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.
Lincoln Fire and Rescue is nationally accredited and has a staff of about 300. The Department provides emergency response to fires, vehicle crashes and medical emergencies and emergency ambulance transportation; delivers fire safety education; promotes fire prevention to local residents and businesses; and is the host agency for Nebraska Task Force One, an Urban Search and Rescue Team serving as a component of FEMA's national disaster response system.