To view photos and bios of LAFD's Command Staff, click on a link below or on the menu bar on the left.
Fire Chief Troy Hughes was born and raised on the plains of Nebraska. His family was involved in farming, ranching, and several were associated with the railroad.
Troy’s fire service career started in 1985 as a firefighter/EMT-B with the Grand Island Fire Department. Troy steadily rose through the ranks to achieve captain in 1992, division chief in 1998, and ultimately the fire chief in 2008. Troy strongly believes in and utilized a participatory leadership style to facilitate many positive changes while serving in leadership roles with the Grand Island Fire Department.
Troy was appointed to lead Los Alamos Fire Department in October of 2011. He has long desired to live in an area like Los Alamos. Troy has fond childhood memories of visits to family in Northern New Mexico and in the Colorado mountains. Troy enjoys many outdoor activities like hiking, bike riding, motorcycle riding, and camping.
Troy’s educational achievements include an A.A.S. in Fire Protection Technology, a B.A. in Public Administration, and a M.A. in Management with a Leadership Emphasis. Troy graduated Summa Cum Laude and was named the “Outstanding Graduate in the Public Administration Program” while completing his B.A. from Doane College. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. Troy is one of less than 1000 fire service professionals in the United States that hold a Chief Fire Officer designation from the Commission on Professional Credentialing.
Troy is very involved in his community. He is the past president of the Los Alamos Public Safety Officers Association, is the past president of the Los Alamos Rotary Club, and served as the treasurer for the Los Alamos Committee for Higher Education. He is a perpetual member of the Los Alamos Chapter of the Military Order of World Wars and lifetime alumni member of Leadership New Mexico.
Troy’s wife, Jodi, is a first grade teacher in the Los Alamos elementary school system. Troy and Jodi have two adult children. Their son, Michael, is a railroad engineer in Aurora, Colorado and their daughter Kaylea is a police officer in Aurora, Illinois. Their grandchildren include 8 year old Emma, 5 year old Liam, and Benson who is working his way towards his first birthday.
- Deputy Fire Chief Justin Grider was born in Albuquerque and raised in La Cueva, located in the Jemez Mountains. As a result of his upbringing, he has a deep appreciation of the mountains and the people who live there. He went to school at NM State University where he studied Wildlife Science and Justin has his AAS degree in Fire Protection through Eastern New Mexico University.
Justin started his fire career in La Cueva with Sandoval County where he literally grew up in the Fire Service because his Father was the Chief during his informative years. He volunteered for many years, before joining the Los Alamos Fire Department (LAFD), with La Cueva and Sandoval County Fire Departments. He began his LAFD career in 1997 as a Firefighter II and was promoted to Driver Engineer within two years. In 2003, Justin was promoted to Captain and served as Station Captain and Support Officer until he was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2008. Prior to his promotion to Deputy Chief, he served as the Assistant Fire Chief of EMS and Training for eight months.
Some memorable events during his career were the Cerro Grande Fire and the Las Conchas Fire. During the Cerro Grande, he was a Driver Engineer and was tasked with LANL and community firefighting. During the Las Conchas Fire, he represented LAFD in the Fire Operations area at the Emergency Operations Center as well as patrolling affected areas.
With that being said, Justin is most proud of the relationships he has developed and fostered over the years and the support from so many in the Fire Department. He states that “this is truly the best job and most loving family that anyone can electively join”.
He is married to Cori and has two young children, Madisen and Charlie. Both kids keep him and his wife busy with many projects and school. Justin and family enjoy the outdoors, camping, hunting and travel.
Division Chief (FL&S) / Fire Marshal
Division Chief Jeff Wetteland came to us as a transplant from the Chicago area in 2001. Before joining us he worked as a carpenter, went to college at Southern Illinois University, and enjoyed athletics. Jeff was an avid athlete and sports fan early on and settled on water polo as his competitive sport of choice in high school and college. After college he enjoyed a short career as a carpenter, building and remodeling custom homes in Illinois, and later building log cabins in Colorado.
Jeff promoted to Captain in 2009. His career highlights include being a Technical Rescue Team Oversight Member and Instructor, as well as teaching four LAFD Fire Academies. He obtained his Associates in Fire Science in 2013 and in August of 2014 he was promoted to Division Chief/Fire Marshal. Now he enjoys rooting for his hometown sports teams, snowboarding, surfing, traveling, and finding time to spend with his far away family including four nephews (T.J., Tyler, Nathan, and Ian), and two nieces (Kelly and Ana).
Division Chief (EMS)
Battalion Chief Benjamin Stone was born on Ft. Bliss military base and traveled the US during childhood, eventually graduating High School in Syracuse N.Y. . Following his roots he was always close to public safety, his dad a Military Police officer, and his uncle a Fire Chief for Lakewood fire department. Ben started the fire service in 2000 with the Warners Hose Company and the Tully Hose Company as a volunteer while working for E-One building response vehicles. His career started at LAFD in 2003 and served as a Firefighter, Driver, Captain and now EMS Division Chief. Ben has obtained an Associate’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University in Para-medicine, as well as a second Associates degree from the University of New Mexico in fire science.
During Ben’s time at LAFD he has been very active, being an National Registry Paramedic and Certified Instructor Coordinator for the University of New Mexico, a Hazardous Materials technician, a rope rescue technician, a member of several committees, an active instructor in the departments fire academies, as well as a Wild fire investigator.
Ben describes the highlight of his career as the ability to work with such a professional and caring group of people.
Ben is happily married to his Wife Deborah, and has two daughters, Izzabel and Samantha. During his time at home, he stays busy with the girl’s gymnastics classes, cycling, hiking, camping and frequent trips to the Albuquerque Bio Parks.
Battalion Chief (LANL)
Battalion Chief Paul Grano was born and raised in Orange County, California. Paul moved to New Mexico in 1998 when he was offered a position as a firefighter with the Los Alamos Fire Department (LAFD). He started pursuing a career as a firefighter in 1992 when he enrolled in the Fire Science Program at Rancho Santiago College in California, where he graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science. He then enrolled at California State University, Fullerton and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He was a Paid-call firefighter with the Orange County Fire Authority until moving to New Mexico.
In 1998, Paul joined the Los Alamos Fire Department as a firefighter. He was promoted to Captain in 2005 and most recently to Battalion Chief in 2012. Paul worked in Operations as the C-Shift Battalion Chief. He is currently assignedas the LANL Training Coordinator. Paul has been involved with numerous programs with LAFD at one time or another including: the Respiratory Protection Program, the Public Education Team, and the Technical Rescue Team. Prior to promoting to BC, Paul considers his involvement with the Union (Local 3279) as one of his proudest achievements with LAFD. He was the Vice-President for three years and the Secretary for one year.
Paul is happily married to his wife, Laurie, and they are the proud parents to a beautiful daughter, Keira. Paul enjoys spending as much time as he can with Laurie and Keira. He also enjoys traveling, mountain biking, and skiing.
Division Chief (Safety)
Division Chief Wendy Servey
was raised in a Northeast Ohio suburb just outside of Cleveland. The youngest of four children, Wendy received the gentle encouragement from her mother to pursue a public service career that exemplified kindness, compassion and hard work and from her father she gained strength, determination and perseverance.
After her first degree in computer graphic design and spending several years in the corporate environment, Wendy started taking community college courses at night in the fire and EMS. She got her first job in public service as a city paramedic for Cleveland EMS. Competition was fierce for a fire career in Ohio, but she eventually earned a place at Coventry Fire in Akron. She was actually the first female fire medic to be hired in Akron and it made the local papers. She spent 7 years there and decided that the Land of Enchantment may offer more than just a fire career.
In New Mexico, Wendy first worked for Santa Fe County as firefighter/ paramedic for two years before applying to Los Alamos. After completing her third Academy in 2006, she quickly promoted to Captain in 2009 and Battalion Chief in 2014. She was a recipient of scholarship to attend Tampa 2 Life Safety Summit in Florida in 2014; and has attended courses at the National Fire Academy in Baltimore. Wendy recently completed a Health and Safety certification course in Phoenix and had the opportunity to liaise with other Safety Officers across the country.
Wendy's partner Liz is a Registered Nurse in Albuquerque, and they've recently discovered the RV life and have a acquired a small travel trailer. When they are not camping, they both volunteer for a local Fire/ EMS department in their home community.
Battalion Chief (A Shift)
- Battalion Chief Steve Dawald grew up in southern California and graduated from Arcadia High School. He holds two Associate’s Degrees – one in Fire Protection Technology and one in Emergency Medical Services. He is working on his Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Education which will be completed this year. Steve’s education pursuits won’t end there as he has plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in either Management or Education.
Steve began his firefighting career in 1989 as a fire explorer with the Los Angeles County Fire Department and became an EMT in 1990. During his college years, he worked for a private ambulance service and then in the mid 90s, volunteered for three local fire departments and attended paramedic training. These experiences solidified his interest and desire in becoming a full-time firefighter/paramedic - which led to his joining the LAFD in December of 1998. He quickly promoted to the rank of Driver Engineer in May of 2003 and Captain in July of 2005. He has acted as an Operations Battalion Chief for eight months prior to his promotion to Battalion Chief in February of 2012...
Steve holds numerous certifications including: Paramedic, Fire Officer 1 & 2, Fire Instructor 1, 2 &3, TRT member, and hazardous materials technician & team member. He is an EMS Instructor/Coordinator and is certified to teach CPR, ACLS, and PALS. He is an active member of the medical advisory and vehicle committees. Steve also teaches as an adjunct EMS instructor for Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and plans to teach Fire Science courses for the University of New Mexico in the near future.
When asked what his career highlights are, Steve’s response was “Every day that I come to work is a highlight. Loving what I do for a living and learning something new every day is a highlight. I love watching and helping others grow and develop and take great pride in seeing them reach their goals. Fighting fires and taking care of sick patients is rewarding, but the best highlight of all is working with a great group of people that would do anything for each other.”
Steve is married to Melanie and have a daughter named Cady. He and his wife enjoy homeschooling their daughter and spending time outdoors in the Jemez Mountains together with family and friends. The Dawalds currently live in Rio Rancho and someday hope to live in the Jemez Springs area.
Division Chief (Wildland)
Division Chief Ramon Garcia grew up in the foothills of the Gila National Forest in Silver City, New Mexico and graduated from Silver High School. He grew up in a large family of eight which included his parents, three brothers and two sisters.
Ramon was introduced to firefighting in 1991 while attending New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Ramon was employed with the NMSU Fire Department and promoted up to the rank of Driver Engineer. After graduating from NMSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, he moved to northern New Mexico where he taught and coached in the public school system for the next four years. In August of 1997 Ramon was hired with the Los Alamos County Fire Department. With the Los Alamos County Fire Department, Ramon has had the rank of Firefighter, Safety Specialist, Acting Safety Captain, Support Officer, Captain and now Division Chief of Wildland.
During Ramon’s career he has helped in the suppression efforts of Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos County, LANL as well as the town site. He recalls it as being the hardest fire he ever fought, because of the treacherous winds. Ramon received a Medal of Valor for his heroic actions during the Cerro Grande Fire. He also was here during the Las Conchas fire, which was also devastating to the community and all of those surrounding Los Alamos County. Ramon feels that because of our location we need a continued plan and implementation of risk reduction efforts through fire suppression and fuel hazard mitigation to provide future safety of our property, citizens, the laboratory and our visitors. Ramon received a Las Conchas Medal of Service for his actions during Las Conchas fire.Ramon feels that he has the greatest career in the world. He truly enjoys the organization and the people that he works with, all the while getting to help people at the same time. He has coached, volunteered in the community, worked for a non-profit organization, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos with their Education, Employment and Training programs as well as managed there Head Start programs. Ramon currently resides in Pojoaque, New Mexico with his beautiful wife Kathleen of 20 years and two wonderful boys James and Andrew. Ramon and his family stay busy with various sporting events, such as basketball, baseball and soccer. They also enjoy boating, camping, biking and hunting.
Battalion Chief (B Shift)
Battalion Chief Justin C. Cassel was born in Superior, Wisconsin. In his early years he relocated with his family to Iran (Dad worked for AT&T). Upon the fall of the Shah, the family relocated to Colorado Springs where he graduated high school.
After a short stint at the UND-Bottineau, he served six years in the USMC and actively participated in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. The Marine Corps decided his first duty station should be aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation CV-64, at that time if you were a Marine on sea-duty, they also made you a ship-board firefighter. He used those skills when the ship had a 20,000 gallon fuel/oil spill and subsequent fire for the next 24 hours while steaming out of the port of San Diego.
After being honorably discharged from the USMC, he decided the fire service may be a career for him and relocated to Portland, OR to further his education in the fire field.
When he was attending school he worked at the VA National Cemetery, Portland and was an Intern a Clark County Fire District # 3 (Washington). Upon graduation of Portland Community College with an AAS-Fire Science he worked for the college in the fire science program, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue at their regional training center and Clark County Fire District # 12.
In 1997 he was hired on with LAFD as a Firefighter II and has served as a Training Officer, Driver Engineer, Captain, Support Officer and Act. Battalion Chief of Safety. He promoted to Battalion Chief in 11/2008. He has worked as Division Chief of Training, Fire And Life Safety and is currently B-Shift Battalion Chief.
He has attended numerous National Fire Academy courses to include Organizational Theory in Practice and was part of the first class in Colorado to graduate from the 160 hour Chief Officer Training Curriculum course.
He is currently finishing his divisional assignment in Safety and is looking forward to his assignment to Training.