A day after naming the three finalists for the position of Atlanta police chief, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the final three candidates to lead the city’s Fire Rescue Department.
The three are Interim Fire Chief Joel Baker, former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran and Brenda Nishiyama Willis, head of the department’s airport operations.
Mayor Reed said he expects to make a final decision in June from the slate of finalists chosen by a three-month national search conducted by an appointed search committee and Boardwalk Consulting.
“These candidates have the experience and leadership skills to help make the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department the best-trained and responsive in the nation,” Reed said in a statement released by the city on May 26. “I am also looking for individuals who will value the communities they serve and work with them to develop sound public safety policies and initiatives to move our city forward.”
Baker has more than 22 years of fire service experience working his way up through the ranks. He is experienced in all phases of fire services. Baker is currently a third-year student in the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources, Development and Policy from Georgia State University and a Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University.
Cochran has 29 years of fire service experience and has served as the U.S. fire administrator under President Barack Obama since 2009. He served as fire chief of the city of Atlanta from 2008-2009. He also has served as fire chief of Shreveport, Louisiana. Cochran has a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Wiley College and a Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University.
Willis has more than 32 years of fire service experience and more than 29 years of experience with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department in positions of increasing responsibility. Currently, she manages airport field commands and airport operations, develops and implements department-wide plans, policies and goals. She has held positions as Deputy Chief of Operations, Battalion Chief-Suppression, and Chief of Training. Willis received her Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in Fire Science Administration from Brenau College School of Professional Studies.