Charlottesville appoints Dr. Hezedean Smith as fire chief

Charlottesville has a new fire chief.
Updated: Oct. 12, 2020 at 12:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville has a new fire chief.

Acting City Manager John Blair announced Monday, October 12, that Dr. Hezedean A. Smith will be bringing his decades of experience to the Charlottesville Fire Department.

“I am honored and excited to appoint Dr. Smith to lead the Charlottesville Fire Department. He will be an asset not only to the department, but also to our city,” Blair said in Monday’s news release. “I’d like to express my appreciation to Emily Pelliccia for serving as Interim Chief since June.”

According to the city, Smith was with the Orlando Fire Department since 1996, and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he served as a Medical Service Specialist/EMT.

“I will join an organization that I feel embodies itself as a family with integrity, respect and excellence," Smith said. "To the men and women of the Charlottesville Fire Department, I’m humbled to be invited to be part of your family.”

“On behalf of the City of Charlottesville City Council, I would like to welcome Dr. Smith to our community,” Mayor Nikuyah Walker said in a press release. “He has expressed a commitment to transformational leadership. I appreciate Dr. Smith’s thoughtful inquiry during the interview process and his ability to articulate the core values that define his leadership style. I look forward to serving the Charlottesville community with him.”

Smith said after researching Charlottesville, he discovered it would be a great place for him to call home: “In reading about the culture and the history, the rich history of Charlottesville, I felt the department was a good fit at this time in my career,” he said.

Dr. Smith earned a Doctor of Management degree in Organizational Leadership and a master’s degree in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix. He has associate degrees in Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science from Valencia College. He is also credentialed by the Center for Public Safety Excellence as a Chief Fire Officer and a Chief EMS Officer. He is a Certified Public Manager and previously completed the Executive Fire and Emergency Services Officer program at the University of Florida.

Dr. Smith will report to Acting City Manager John Blair and he will start his service in the City of Charlottesville December 1.

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