James (Jim) Davis, an assistant chief in Columbus, Ohio, has been named the new Fort Worth fire chief.
“I am confident that we have found the right person for the job,” said Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke. “Jim has the right mix of experience and enthusiasm to help our Fire Department continue to excel. His strong background in training and emergency response will be invaluable assets to our department and our city.”
Earlier this year, Davis was named assistant fire chief in Columbus, a city with a population only slightly larger than Fort Worth. Since 2013, Davis had been deputy chief for special operations and emergency medical services in Columbus.
Davis was responsible for all areas of training and education for the 1,550 firefighters and paramedics in the Columbus Division of Fire. He is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of emergency department, intensive care and mobile intensive care unit experience, including 20 years as a flight RN/EMT with Medflight of Ohio.
Davis holds a master’s degree in operational excellence and process improvement from Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business and a doctorate in adult learning theory from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Chief Learning Officer program.
“As the fire chief in Fort Worth, I want to make a strong effort to build off the foundation that exists within the Fort Worth Fire Department,” Davis said. “I want to be an ambassador and cheerleader to the great work these firefighters do every day in this community. I hope to create a future within the fire department that respects the past, yet embraces the future. That future involves becoming a learning organization that develops their staff through education and training, executes at the highest level to serve the residents and guests of Fort Worth and conducts itself with professionalism and positive labor-management relationships.”
Davis said the FWFD will approach every encounter with two main principles: Affording every member of the organization the best opportunity to go home safe at the end of their shift, and seeking additional opportunities to engage and be involved with the community by always asking, “why not?”
Davis is expected to begin work in Fort Worth on Sept. 17.
“In my short experiences, Fort Worth has a small town feel within a large, rapidly growing community,” Davis said. “The growth offers challenges that can turn into great opportunities for a fire chief to lead the organization into the future by developing strong community partnerships and seeking new opportunities to serve the community.”
Davis’ appointment follows an extensive search that included several opportunities for public engagement. Former Interim Fire Chief Patrick Vasquez and Assistant City Manager Valerie R. Washington traveled to Columbus to visit onsite with Davis and to see his leadership style in action. IAFF Local 440 President Michael Glynn also made the trip.
Davis replaces Rudy Jackson, who retired earlier this year after more than 10 years in the position. Longtime FWFD employees Patrick Vasquez and Kenneth Stevens served as interim chiefs during the transition period.