Meet the six finalists for the Fire Chief position on July 11, 2016

Today the City of Tukwila announced the six candidates who will interview for the permanent Fire Chief position. The Tukwila community is invited to meet the candidates at a public reception on Monday, July 11 from 5:30 to 7:00pm. The reception will be held in the Tukwila City Council Chambers located at 6200 Southcenter Boulevard, Tukwila, Washington.

The Tukwila Fire Chief is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The Tukwila Fire Department is made up of 62 career uniformed personnel and five civilian personnel. It responds to more than 5,500 calls annually, provides mutual aid to other South King County fire agencies and houses the City’s Emergency Management Division. Due to the unique nature of Tukwila, with 19,000 residents at night and a daytime population in excess of 150,000 daily, as well as significant commercial and industrial assets, the Tukwila Fire Department responds to a wide variety of complex calls including mega large structures, hazardous materials, light rail, high-rise, critical infrastructure and other such hazards.

Incorporated in 1908, the City of Tukwila is a very diverse community, with more than half of the 19,000 residents speaking a language other than English at home.  As an employment, retail and entertainment destination, more than 150,000 people come to Tukwila every day to work, shop and play. Top employers in the city include Boeing, Group Health Cooperative, King County Metro and Costco. Tukwila is the home of Westfield Southcenter, the largest shopping mall in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the Seattle Sounders FC.

The six candidates for Tukwila Fire Chief, including brief bios for each, include:

David Bathke has served the Hellsgate Fire District in Arizona since 2012, first as Battalion Chief, and he has been the Fire Chief since 2014. Prior to that, he was the Fire Chief/Fire Marshal for Ripon Area Fire District in Wisconsin from 2011-2012. Mr. Bathke has also worked as the Administrative Captain/Training Officer for the Town of Lisbon Fire Department in Wisconsin from 2003-2011, and as Relief Lieutenant, Firefighter and Paramedic for the Wauwatosa Fire Department in Wisconsin from 1992-2011. He has a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University and a master’s degree in Management from Cardinal Stritch University in Wisconsin.

Al Dyer, Jr. has served the Lincoln Park Fire Department in Michigan since 1994 and is currently the Fire Chief. He progressed up through the ranks beginning as a Firefighter, promoted to Engineer in 1999, Sergeant in 2005, Sergeant Training Officer in 2010, Fire Inspector in 2012, Fire Marshall in 2013, and finally Fire Chief in 2014. Mr. Dyer has a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Studies from Siena Heights University in Michigan, and a Master of Science degree in Technology Studies from Eastern Michigan University.

Michael Jackson has been a Division Chief for Clark County Fire & Rescue in Ridgefield, Washington, since 2013. Prior to that, he was the Fire Chief for the City of Woodland, Washington, from 2010-2013, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the Astoria Fire Department in Oregon from 2004-2010, and he was a Fire Inspector/Investigator for Washington Township/Avon Fire Department in Indiana from 2002-2004. He also served as a Firefighter and EMT for the City of Mason Fire Department in Ohio from 1999-2002. Mr. Jackson has a bachelor’s degree in Fire & Safety Engineering Technology from Eastern Kentucky University and an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Washington.

Mark John is currently the Fire Chief for the Baker City Fire Department in Oregon. Prior to that, he served the City of Anaheim Fire Department in California for a total of 27 years, starting as a Firefighter/Paramedic, then Fire Captain for seven years, and finally Battalion Chief from 2011- 2014. During this time Mr. John also served briefly as a Firefighter for the City of Long Beach, California, Fire Department in 2000. He is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration from Columbia Southern University.

Donald Tomaso has over 40 years of fire service experience and has served the City of Tukwila, Washington, Fire Department since 1989, beginning as a Firefighter and subsequently serving in the positions of Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, and Fire Marshal, his current position. Prior to coming to the City of Tukwila, Mr. Tomaso was a Firefighter for King County Fire District #11 from 1982-1989, and he was a volunteer Firefighter and Lieutenant, as well as an elected Fire Commissioner, for King County Fire District #18.

Jay Wittwer has served the City of North Las Vegas Fire Department in Nevada since 1987, progressing through the ranks from Firefighter from 1987 to 1991, Fire Engineer from 1991-1995, Fire Captain from 1995-2006, Administrative Battalion Chief from 2006-2007, to his current position of Battalion Chief. Mr. Wittwer has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from Columbia Southern University, and he is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.