Ray Reynolds, 47, of Indianola, has been named the new director of fire and EMS in Nevada.
Reynolds said he is excited to work with Ric Martinez, Nevada’s public safety director, and with the rest of the city administration. "I had such a great day at the assessment. It’s something like when you walk in a room and you say, ‘This is where I want to be,’" Reynolds shared after a day spent in Nevada as the final three candidates were assessed. He said that whatever Nevada is doing, "they’re doing it right. This is a community that really has their act together."
Most recently, Reynolds has been employed as an agent for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, where he was in charge of the Building Code Bureau. Throughout his career, Reynolds has worked in both law enforcement and fire fighting. He had 18 years with the State of Iowa as a fire prevention inspector, a special agent of arson/explosives, a task force officer for the FBI, a special agent in charge of LEIN and a director of the State Fire Marshal Division. But Reynolds said he has missed being involved in firefighting at the community level.
"I’ve moved my family so many times, and we’re at a point where … I love being a firefighter and know plenty of fire chiefs… It’s time I want to do something like that," he said.
Reynolds was impressed by meeting some of the volunteer firefighters in Nevada and hearing them say that the local department is a family affair. "They said, ‘We’re good at what we do,’ and that’s what I want to be a part of. I’ve been on five fire departments in my career and I’m really hoping this is my last and long-term one (to serve on)," he said.
At the age of 18, Reynolds did his first stint as a volunteer firefighter with the small North Liberty volunteer fire department. His first police officer job was in Mt. Vernon, in eastern Iowa. His career followed a path, he said, of always moving on to "bigger and better" positions. "I never dreamed my job would take me to the State Fire Marshal’s Office," he admitted. Throughout his career, Reynolds said he’s learned a lot about friendships, he’s worked 14-hour days, he’s dealt with politics … and all the "moving up" to bigger and better things has taken a toll on his family life. "I’m not afraid of hard work, but … at some point, you consider, where was I most happy?" And Reynolds came to the conclusion that he was most happy serving in smaller communities.
He’s hoping that Nevada is a place where he and his family — wife, Kimberly of 23 years; and children, Kaylin, 20 (a firefighter in Indianola who will likely come to Nevada now); Nicole, 18, a senior at Indianola High School; and son, Nathan, 15 — can settle down.
Reynolds said he had met Martinez in the past at a state conference and the two hit it off. "I’m very passionate about people and caring for people and by all accounts, he is the same way." Reynolds said he is also passionate about his work with getting smoke detectors into all homes to keep kids safe.
Nevada Mayor Lynn Lathrop said he is confident that Reynolds is the right fit for Nevada. "Mr. Reynolds will assist Ric Martinez in expanding the (public safety) program and reaching the city’s goals. Reynolds fits the bill perfectly," Lathrop said.
The Nevada City Council plans to formally approve Reynolds position on March 24. Reynolds is expected to begin his post in Nevada on Monday, April 14.