Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Chief Richard R. Bowers Jr. will be leaving his post to take over as fire chief in Fairfax County, VA.
Bowers is a 35-year veteran of MCFRS and has served as Montgomery County's fire chief since 2008.
Bowers takes over for Ronald Mastin, who plans to retire from the Fairfax County Fire Department on May 7.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors made the appointment on Tuesday. The appointment is effective April 29.
“I think the most important thing is that I’m their fire chief,” he said, referring to Fairfax County residents. “We’re going to use every available means to get the word out about safety and prevention.”
In Fairfax County, Bowers will oversee nearly 1,400 uniformed men and women and 180 civilians across the county's 37 fire and rescue stations.
He will receive an annual salary of $187,500.
Bowers said he intends to focus on proper training for the men and women of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
“I think the most important thing is a state of readiness, and the foundation of that is training,” he said. “This department is great. Its technical competence is unbelievable.”
Bowers attended the University of Maryland, where he earned a master degree certification in human resource management, a bachelor of fire science degree and a public fire-protection management and administration education certificate.
He is the current chair of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments National Capital Region Fire Chiefs Committee and was a Pentagon 9/11 operational response task force member. He also served as a member of the FEMA USAR Oklahoma City bombing disaster response team.