Dec 16, 2004 -- County Administrator Kirby M. Bowers announced today that the fire-rescue services chief in Portsmouth, Joe Pozzo, has been selected to become Loudoun County’s new fire chief, effective Jan. 13.
The Loudoun Department of Fire-Rescue Services sent out a message this morning through it’s pager system congratulating Pozzo and welcoming him to Loudoun—a county with a healthy number of volunteers and growing number of career employees.

Pozzo has been Portsmouth’s chief of fire-rescue emergency services since November 2002. Prior to that, he worked more than 19 years for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. Pozzo began his career as a paramedic in Norfolk. He joined the Virginia Beach Fire Department as a firefighter.

When interviewed last month during a public event at the government center that was held by Bowers, Pozzo said he wants to better utilize information from the EMSSTAR report. The EMSSTAR report is a study completed in 2002 that gave a full overview of the system and what it would need to do to meet service demands in the future.

The open interview process was welcomed by fire-rescue employees and volunteers. More than 40 people showed up for the “meet and greet” event and spoke to each of the three final candidates. Pozzo beat out Virginia Beach District Fire Chief Robert Alley and Arlington County Assistant Fire Chief John White.

"Joe has demonstrated the interest and experience necessary to develop a strong relationship between the career and volunteer personnel and the Fire-Rescue Commission, so that our combination system continues to move forward," Bowers said. "I believe he will be able to forge a partnership that will serve Loudoun County well into the future."

Pozzo said his top three actions will be to evaluate service delivery and the EMSSTAR report to see how the county has made changes according to what the study stated; he wants to establish a report with the fire-rescue commission and the volunteers; and make sure his staff is on board with his vision and are ready to embrace the board of supervisor’s vision for the county.

He will oversee the Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management, which is responsible for coordinating and supporting fire and emergency medical services in partnership with the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Commission and 17 volunteer fire/rescue companies located throughout the county. The department also provides administration and training for the volunteer companies, as well as coordinating disaster planning, emergency dispatch, safety education, fire prevention, hazardous materials and related emergency support services.

"I am excited about coming to Loudoun County and establishing a collaborative working relationship with both career and volunteer members of the organization," Pozzo said. "Loudoun County Fire and Rescue has a rich tradition of quality service delivery, and I am proud to become a part of that tradition."