Chief Bowers Leaving Montgomery County for Fairfax Job (Video)

Montgomery County Fire-Rescue Service Chief Richard Bowers is leaving Montgomery County to become the new chief of the Fairfax County Fire Rescue Department.

The announcement was made on Feb. 12 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Bowers succeeds Chief Ronald L. Mastin who plans to retire May 7. Local firefighters were notified of the news after 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Bowers’ appointment is effective April 29, allowing overlap time for the transition of leadership, according to a Fairfax County press release.

A 35-year veteran of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Bowers has served as MCFRS fire chief since 2008, managing the combined (career and volunteer) service of over 2,100 firefighters/rescuers. While serving as chief, he managed an operating budget of $204 million and a six-year capital improvement program budget of $44 million.

Bowers began in Montgomery County as a firefighter/EMT, rising through the ranks in numerous positions. He served in every rank in the department up to and including fire chief. A Pentagon and Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Citation Award recipient, he was Montgomery County’s Firefighter of the Year in 1985 and received the Marvin Gibbons Award for Excellence in Firefighter I – Recruit Class 35-1977.

He attended the University of Maryland, University College 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 also holds an associate degree from Montgomery College (Rockville). In addition, he has successfully completed the Montgomery County Government Leadership and Management Course as well as numerous courses from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Training Academy, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute Training and the National Emergency Training Center. Bowers also is currently enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Emergency Training Center.

Currently chair of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments National Capital Region Fire Chiefs Committee, Bowers is a past chair of the Council of Governments Fire, Health and Safety Subcommittee. He also has served as an adjunct professor for the Montgomery College Rockville Fire Science Program, and was a Pentagon 9/11 operational response task force member and served as a member of the FEMA USAR Oklahoma City bombing disaster response team.

He will receive an annual salary of $187,500.

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