Mesquite, TX – October 12, 2020 – Russell “Rusty” Wilson will become the new Mesquite Fire Chief on Nov.1 and will oversee 206 firefighters and seven stations for a fire department that responded to nearly 19,000 calls for service in 2019.
Wilson, who has more than 30 years of experience in the fire service profession, is currently the Fire Chief for the City of Katy, TX. He also served the City of Irving, TX Fire Department from 1988 to 2016, starting as a Firefighter and ascending to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. He earned a Master of Science, Fire and Emergency Management from Oklahoma State University and a Bachelor of Science, Emergency Administration and Planning from the University of North Texas. Additionally, he graduated from both the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy and Fire Service Chief Executive Officer Program through the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Wilson has also acquired multiple certifications and credentials in emergency management.
City Manager Cliff Keheley said, “Chief Wilson is an extraordinary professional and person. His dedication to the fire service is matched only by his commitment to the communities he has served. The varied experiences and successes of his career, along with his passion for people, will make him a great fit for the men and women of the Mesquite Fire Department. His character will make him a great fit for our community.”
Wilson was appointed in 2019 by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. In 2017, the Texas Fire Chiefs Association presented him the prestigious Texas Fire Chief of the Year Award.
Wilson has created many programs to improve fire operations and safety. He helped create a technical rescue team, which had some members go on to participate in Texas Task Force 2. He has led the charge to implement aggressive life-saving awareness and prevention programs on cancer, behavioral health and overall wellness for firefighters.
Wilson said, “I am deeply honored to be selected as the next Fire Chief for the City of Mesquite, and I look forward to working with the fine men and women who so professionally represent this City in the service to our citizens.” Despite all his professional achievements, Wilson shared his greatest accomplishment is his marriage to Lisa, his wife of 31 years and their family. They have a son, a daughter and three grandchildren.
Wilson has been active in many community service programs. This includes Special Olympics Texas, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Blue Christmas Toy and Food Drive and church activities. Keheley said, “I was really drawn to Chief Wilson’s eagerness to volunteer and give back to a community he serves professionally. These traits align with the City of Mesquite’s ongoing efforts to support our community in different ways.”