Mo. city names its first female fire department chief

Kansas City Fire Chief Donna Maize had been appointed as interim chief earlier this year, becoming the first woman leader in the department's 150-year history


Allison Kite
The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s interim fire chief, Donna Maize, will become the first woman to lead the department, the city announced in a press release Wednesday.

Maize, who was serving in City Manager Troy Schulte’s office, took the helm as interim chief in September when Gary Reese stepped down. Schulte on Wednesday appointed her to the permanent position, which she had indicated previously that she didn’t plan on pursuing.

Kansas City Fire Chief Donna Maize became the first female fire chief in the department's 150-year history Wednesday. (Photo/City of Kansas City, Mo. Government Facebook)
Kansas City Fire Chief Donna Maize became the first female fire chief in the department's 150-year history Wednesday. (Photo/City of Kansas City, Mo. Government Facebook)

“I thrive on the positivity I receive daily from the department and see a renewed sense of purpose in our responders,” Maize said in the release.

The Kansas City Fire Department has long played a role in Maize’s life. Maize joined KCFD in 1992, where her father was also a firefighter, and the two fought several blazes together.

She rose to the rank of assistant fire chief in 2014. She then became assistant city manager for public safety, a role in Schulte’s office she continued to hold after accepting the interim chief job.

“Chief Maize is clearly a great leader, and has proven her abilities in every job she’s had,” Schulte said. “As a second-generation KCFD firefighter, she understands the legacy and tradition, while bringing modern management skills to the department.”

When Maize took the interim post, she told The Star she doesn’t shy away from being a role model and an inspiration to girls and young women who may consider a career like hers.

“They will be able to see that from a young age, and realize that just like a police officer or any other nontraditional female role that there are people out there that look like them,” she said.

Maize holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Central Missouri and a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas. According to the release, she graduated from the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program.

Reese had served for less than two years. Before him, Paul Berardi led the department for more than four years.

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©2019 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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