The new Chief of the Glen Echo Fire Department (GEFD), William (Bill) Dunn has been working in and for fire/rescue services since his teen years in the mid-1990s. Bill grew up behind a local fire station, and, as a junior and senior at Georgetown Prep, he volunteered — earning independent service study credits — with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD), station #33 in Potomac. Subsequently, he transferred to station #3, RVFD’s headquarters (RVFD subsumes 4 stations) because it was busier, housed more apparatus and provided more leadership opportunities. He has risen through the ranks of the county’s volunteer fire and rescue service leadership corps over 25 years.
After earning a B.B.S. degree in 2000 from Loyola/Baltimore in management and marketing, he worked as a construction supervisor. Two years later, while Bill was negotiating repair of equipment for the RVFD, the sales representative inquired as to his interest in working for his employer, a national corporation that sells and repairs equipment and protective clothing for fire departments. Bill has worked for the company, Municipal Emergency Services, Inc., since early 2002 as a sales rep, manager and regional Vice President.
When the Chief’s position at the GEFD became vacant in November 2018, a search committee of the Board of Directors began seeking a replacement. Then a Deputy Chief of the RVFD, Bill saw the GEFD as both a challenge and a promotion opportunity. He offered to be an unpaid consultant first, so as to determine the department’s potential for making needed improvements. He subsequently was offered and accepted the Chief’s position, at the same time stepping down as a Deputy Chief from the RVFD after many years. Upon the county’s recognition of his appointment by the GEFD Board, he officially became the Chief as of October 1, taking over the direction of GEFD’s operations. He has already led significant upgrades to the aging fire station, followed by the second priority, strengthening operational guidance. Upgraded training opportunities and more advancement opportunities are underway. The Board of Directors has voted to support significant expenditures to upgrade the department’s vehicle fleet.
While the Chief’s position was vacant, GEFD was led by Lt. Jane Callen. She ensured that all of the operational components progressed, new members were recruited, voted upon and trained. Chief Dunn extends his gratitude to Lt. Callen for her leadership to the department and for her assistance during his transition period.
Chief Dunn has found everyone associated with the GEFD to be approachable, candid and professional, providing him a warm welcome. Being a single, relatively small station, GEFD has fewer riding positions for volunteers compared to larger, multi-station departments. This results in a more manageable challenge — especially considering that Chief Dunn and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl, a month after taking over the reins of GEFD!