Mike Owens has been hired by the City of Port Alberni as fire chief. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Mike Owens has been hired by the City of Port Alberni as fire chief. SUBMITTED PHOTO

City of Port Alberni hires new fire chief

Mike Owens brings 19 years of experience in fire protection and rescue services

The City of Port Alberni has announced the hiring of Mike Owens as the Port Alberni Fire Department’s new fire chief.

Owens replaces former fire chief Kelly Gilday, who was hired as manager of protective services for the ACRD in June.

READ: Port Alberni fire chief hired as manager of protective services

As the former chief with the New Afton Fire & Mine Rescue Department, Owens brings with him 19 years of experience in the provision of fire and rescue services. Starting his fire service career as a paid-on-call firefighter with the City of Campbell River, Owens has worked in leadership roles in industrial safety as well as in the provision of industrial fire protection and rescue services. At his most recent posting, Owns developed a fire and rescue department from the ground up, resulting in a highly effective department of eight officers and 43 firefighters.

Owens brings experience and education that will be immediately valuable to the City of Port Alberni, including strong administrative skills and advanced wildfire training. In 2018, Owens led his department in responding to the province-wide effort to control wildfires.

“I am a believer in lifelong learning, not only for myself but also for those that report to me,” said Owens. “I have been effective in empowering individuals, enabling them to take ownership and become active participants in the success of their organization.”

In his 19 years of experience, Owens has worked as chief with New Afton and Diavik Emergency Response Teams, adviser of health and safety with Diavik and was involved with health and safety in the forest industry and municipal fire service.

“We are pleased to have chief Owens join the City’s leadership team in the role of fire chief,” said Tim Pley, City CAO. “Chief Owens demonstrates the skillset and experience necessary to lead the Port Alberni Fire Department. Under chief Owens’ guidance, I am confident that the City’s fire department will continue to provide the professional and timely fire and rescue services that the community values.”

Owens will assume his position as fire chief starting February 4, 2019.