The former Acting Deputy Chief of Operations, Mike Pirie, is now the new Fire Chief for the Airdrie Fire Department (AFD).
At the AFD headquarters (April 21), the AFD held a “Changing of the Chief” event to welcome Pirie to his new role taking over for former Fire Chief Kevin Weinberger.
Pirie spoke to DiscoverAirdrie to discuss some of the early challenges he faces as the new Fire Chief.
“The challenge in the short term is dealing with the immediate pressures of growth. It's been the challenge for as long as I can remember. A small city growing rapidly faster than any of the others around you, you see the constant pressures of growth, staffing facilities, and balancing the needs particularly against other city departments.”
That tends to lead to medium and long-term planning as well, says Pirie.
“It's not just what are you’re doing tomorrow, it's also what are you doing three, five, or 10 years down the road.”
When he first started his career, Pirie didn’t see himself as the Fire Chief.
“I started off as a paramedic firefighter. Fire Chief wasn't something I saw until I started to get into the work and saw how much I enjoyed teaching, training, planning, and getting involved in Project Management.”
When DiscoverAirdrie spoke with Weinberger about his replacement, he said he hopes the person who comes in will have brilliant new ideas on how to maintain and how to grow the department in a positive light. Pirie says he hopes to meet those goals.
“I think we have to look at how we deliver the business, specifically empowering our staff to make decisions right at the point of contact with their customer. So, reducing bureaucracy, making sure that every single staff member is utilized to their full potential so there's no wasted time. That's the key to our future. So when we grow, it's because we needed to grow.”
Pirie says initiative and creativity are important traits in his replacement as Acting Deputy Chief of Operations.
I would want somebody to take the department where I leave it, and keep running with it. Add their next element of creativity and put their mark on it.”
At the “Changing of the Chief”, former Fire Chief Kevin Weinberger says he is more than excited to see what the future holds for Pirie.
“I had the fortune of meeting him as a Platoon Chief. I watched the growth and the respect that he's garnered from the department and all the people in it. I got the privilege of hiring him as Assistant Deputy Chief and I got the privilege of hiring him as a Fire Chief. The department is in fine hands.”
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