(RILEY COUNTY, KS – August 19, 2021) Riley County is pleased to announce the addition of two Deputy Fire Chiefs, John Martens and Doug Russell. The two new chiefs will fill an open deputy chief position and replace the position vacated in July by Fire Chief Michael Regal.
The effort to restructure Fire District #1 began in 2019 under the leadership of former Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Pat Collins, who received approval in May of 2020 from the Board of Riley County Commission to create a separate fire chief position, in addition to the already existing positions of Emergency Management Director and Deputy Fire Chief.
In May 2021, the BOCC approved changing the fire chief position to Deputy Fire Chief, which made the RCFD #1 leadership team complete with a Director and two Deputy Chief Positions.
“This staffing change not only makes Riley County Fire District #1 more efficient, but it also saves taxpayers more than $25,000 a year,” explained Emergency Management Director Russel Stukey. “I am excited to have John Martens and Doug Russell, both of whom have ties to our area, join our team.”
Russell, the Deputy Fire Chief of Operations, has been a volunteer member of RCFD #1 since 2009. Russell was most recently a Captain at Station 4- Keats. Before joining Riley County, he was a division head at Blueville Nursery, Inc. in Manhattan, KS.
Marten, the Deputy Fire Chief of Administration, was Station Lieutenant at Fire Station 10- University Park. He brings 13 years of experience as a Firefighter serving in various capacities. He previously was a Regional Manager with Akron Brass and Hale Products, where he provided technical training and product support to fire departments and dealers. Martens also founded a consulting company that integrated and marketed Drones / Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems and services for the public safety market.
The two men will oversee the 150 plus volunteer firefighting district.
“As the population grows in Riley County, it is important we ensure our firefighting capabilities keep up with demand. Having two deputy fire chiefs, each with different skill sets and responsibilities will allow us to more effectively serve the people of Riley County,” said Stukey.