There’s a new fire chief in town — though it’s a familiar face.
Winter Park has begun a new chapter for the Winter Park Fire-Rescue Department, recently confirming Lieutenant Paramedic Dan Hagedorn as the new fire chief at the April 9 City Commission meeting.
Hagedorn has been with the department for 22 years and was born and raised in the Orlando area.
“I’m really excited and honored to be even considered for the position,” Hagedorn said. “It’s a privilege to serve the city and city residents. I’ve been with the city for 22 years, so I’ve seen a lot of the growth and things like that, but what’s really never changed is the demand for a high level of service from their public safety agencies. I’m excited to have been given the opportunity and selected through the process.”
City Manager Randy Knight interviewed four candidates for the position and, with the help of the Human Resources Division, put each candidate through a battery of written and oral exercises.
Knight then put together an interview panel consisting of Mayor Steve Leary, Civil Service Board Chair Gary Brewer, Assistant City Manager Michelle Neuner and Human Resources Manager Kristi Wong to interview them. Two of the candidates removed their names from consideration prior to the panel interview, but the remaining two candidates were interviewed and the panel provided input to Knight.
Based upon the results, Knight selected Hagedorn to be the next fire chief, and the Civil Service Board approved the selection at its April 3 meeting.
Outgoing Fire Chief Jim White, who is retiring May 31 after a 35-year career, said he has full confidence in Hagedorn.
“He’s done a really outstanding job preparing himself through his education and his work in the department,” White said. “I think he’s well prepared for it. I’m excited about the change, and I just think he’s going to do a great job.”
Hagedorn earned associate’s degrees in both fire science technology and emergency medical services technology in 2003 from Valencia College. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in fire and safety engineering from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a master’s degree in fire and emergency management administration from Oklahoma State University.
The new chief said he hopes to build on what White accomplished during his time in Winter Park.
“I’ve got some big shoes to fill with Chief White — he’s done a lot for this department,” Hagedorn said. “He’s set the bar pretty high for me, that’s for sure. I look forward to working with him as we transition over the next couple months.”
Hagedorn is expected to hire a new deputy chief for the department in the wake of Deputy Fire Chief Pat McCabe’s retirement in May, as well.