AP NEWS

Woodlands names Adams as interim fire chief

May 2, 2019

The Woodlands Fire Department has a new, albeit temporary, leader as officials from The Woodlands Township on Wednesday announced that veteran Deputy Fire Chief Doug Adams had been promoted to the position of interim fire chief for the next four to six months as the search for a new chief begins.

With long-time Fire Chief Alan Benson retiring from The Woodlands Fire Department effective Thursday, officials with the township needed a temporary leader of the department while officials engage in what is normally a long and drawn out process of finding a new chief — a task that includes job advertisements in various publications seeking applicants, background checks, interviews, various testing and vetting by township administrators and approval from the township’s president and general manager, Don Norrell.

Until the new person is hired, Adams, who according to a township press release has been with the department since May 1996 in a variety of administrative roles, will lead the more than 110-person department over the next few months, which includes the annual budget process for the department and the township.

“I am excited and look forward to continuing to grow the department. It is a nice vote of confidence,” Adams said in a telephone interview on May 1. “I will continue to lead this great fire department. No matter what is going on, they get things done. We have a really solid group of deputy chiefs, administrators and all around staff … all the way down the line, we have great staff.”

Township spokesman Nick Wolda said officials with The Woodlands human resources division are working closely with Norrell to craft help wanted ads that will be placed in a variety of fire profession publications and websites, as well as other areas that fire officials look for new jobs. No specific criteria has been set yet, he added, but officials will be seeking a well-rounded candidate to lead the department, which Wolda said is, “one of the top five in the country.”

“It will be a (thorough) search and there are specific criteria that the township leadership is going to be looking for in that role,” Wolda explained. “We want to make sure it is the right person. It is a very important position within our community, with a lot of assets — facilities, equipment — and we are seeking a candidate with high professionalism and knowledge (of fire fighting science).”

Wolda said the first step in replacing Benson, who had been chief since January, 2005, was finding an interim chief — Adams — and once that task had been completed, the process of devising candidate criteria and other aspects would begin.

“The screening (of potential candidates) will be done by human resources officials and the ultimate hiring decision will be up to the township president and general manager (Norrell),” Wolda added.

Adams has a lengthy resume of service in The Woodlands since he joined the department in 1996, including serving as a lieutenant for 14 years, a battalion chief for three years and, according to the press release, in his role as deputy chief of support services, a position Adams has held since February 2017. He has a degree in science of emergency administration from the University of North Texas, is a licensed paramedic and also serves as the chairman of The Woodlands Firefighters’ Retirement System.

“It is an honor to be in this role and I plan to work hard keeping things moving forward,” Adams said.

jeff.forward@chron.com