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After serving as interim chief for five months, Ryan Ashe was appointed chief of the James City County Fire Department on Tuesday afternoon.
An internal search for the position started at the beginning of the month, said county administrator Bryan Hill. Ashe was ultimately selected after applying for the position, interviewing with Hill and a committee and giving a presentation.
Two individuals were considered for the position, Hill said.
“It’s an honor to work with our men and women here, the folks in James City County, to move our organization forward into the future,” Ashe said.
When former Fire Chief Tal Luton took leave for a medical procedure in January, Ashe filled in as acting chief. Luton announced his retirement in April and Ashe became interim chief in June.
Hill said the time Ashe served as acting chief was an opportunity to see if he could handle the responsibilities of leading the fire department. Hill said Ashe brings stability to the department and the public safety staff supports him.
“That’s the biggest thing. If the troops support the chief, things tend to get done,” Hill said. “They’ve done a great job supporting Ryan, and that’s what I need to ensure the staff has morale.”
Ashe worked part-time for the department while studying fire protection and safety technology at Oklahoma State University. Upon graduation in 2004, he became a career firefighter medic for the department and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief in 2013.
He said the department is in the process of shaping its strategic goals, noting one of his priorities is to “maintain our efficient and effective workforce” to retain “highly motivated and effective men and women.”