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The City of Bedford has narrowed the search for its next Fire Chief to four finalists. The following applicants were selected from of a pool of 34 applicants and 10 states:
• David Rainwater has served 25 years with the North Richland Hills Fire Department, most recently in his current role as the Assistant Fire Chief of the Support Services Division. Rainwater worked his way through the ranks, previously serving as Emergency Medical Services Battalion Chief, Shift Battalion Chief, and Shift Captain, among other roles. Rainwater oversaw the process and evaluation for the City to receive its ISO Class 1 designation and its designation of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association Best Practices. He also has experience as the project manager for the design, production, and completion of a quint fire truck and two ambulances for his department.
Rainwater is earning his master’s degree in emergency management public administration from Texas A&M University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in emergency management public administration from West Texas A&M University.
• Richard Stewart has more than 26 years with the Irving Fire Department and currently serves as the Assistant Chief of Operations. He previously served has Assistant Chief of Administration, Battalion Chief of Communications/Training, Captain of Fire Operations, and other various leadership roles. Stewart was an integral part of developing and implementing a pandemic response plan for the fire department, along with developing a cancer awareness initiative and a comprehensive behavioral wellness program.
He holds a finance degree from California University of Pennsylvania. Stewart moved from Pittsburgh, Penn. to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 1993 to pursue a career in the fire service.
• Michael Thomson has more than 23 years in the fire service and currently serves as the Fire Chief for the City of Highland Village. He started his professional career with the Farmers Branch Fire Department, where he worked his way up to the role of Division Chief of Training and EMS before taking a job with the Addison Fire Department in 2016 as Deputy Fire Chief. Thomson served in Addison until March 2019, when he accepted the position of Fire Chief with the City of Highland Village.
He has a master’s degree in organizational leadership, with a concentration in fire/rescue executive leadership from Waldorf University. Thomson earned his bachelor’s degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University.
• Bill Walker has served as the Fire Chief for Santa Monica, Calif. since 2016. His career began in as a private EMT and paramedic before being hired by Fountain Valley Fire Dept. in Orange County, Calif. There, he rose through the ranks and became Fire Chief. From 2011 to 2016, he served as the Fire Chief for the City of Alhambra, Calif. and was also active in the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association, becoming president of that organization in 2016.
During his time in Santa Monica, Walker had the opportunity to work on several large projects. He partnered with the UCLA Medical Center to establish a Mobile Stroke Unit, oversaw the construction of a new fire station, and coordinated the complete seismic retrofit of an existing fire station. Walker’s two children attend college in the DFW area and he is looking to relocate his family to the DFW area.
The four finalists will be interviewed over the next couple of weeks with the goal of selecting the best fit for the Fire Department and the Bedford community. The City’s next Fire Chief will be announced before the end of May.