Command Staff
Contact Info
Troy Hughes
Fire Chief

Picture of Chief Troy HughesFire 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 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 University.  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 currently enrolled in Center for Homeland Defense and Security Program at the Naval Postgraduate School.  He will complete this Master’s in Homeland Security Program in December 2017.   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 has completed the Leadership New Mexico Core and State and Local Government programs.  He has also completed the Leadership Los Alamos Program, the FBI Citizens Academy, and the Los Alamos County Leadership Academy.  Troy is very involved in his community.  He is a board member for the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation and United Way of Northern New Mexico.  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 at Pinon elementary school.  Troy and Jodi have two adult children.  Their son, Michael, is a railroad engineer in Denver, Colorado and their daughter Kaylea is a police detective in Aurora, Illinois. Their grandchildren include Emma, Liam, and Benson. 

Steven Dawald
Deputy Chief

Deputy Chief Steve DawaldDeputy 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. His Bachelor’s degree is in Occupational Education (Eastern New Mexico University) and his Master’s degree is in Public Administration (Arkansas State University). 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 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, and 3, Fire Instructor 1, 2, and 3, and hazardous materials technician & team member. He was also a member of the Technical Rescue Team and vehicle committee for many years.He is an EMS Instructor/Coordinator and is certified to teach CPR, ACLS, and PALS. Steve is also the Fire Science and EMS Program Co-Chair for the University of New Mexico - Los Alamos campus.Steve was recently accepted into the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program which should be completed in 2020. 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 part of all is working with a great group of people that would do anything for each other.” Steve is married to Melanie and they have a daughter named Cady. They enjoy spending time outdoors in the Jemez Mountains together with family and friends. They currently live in Rio Rancho and plan to move back to Los Alamos in the near future.

Wendy Servey
Division Chief (Fire and Life Safety/Fire Marshal)

Division Chief Wendy Servey
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 an acquired a small travel trailer. When they are not camping, they both volunteer for a local Fire/ EMS department in their home community.

Kelly Sterna
Division Chief (Wildland)

Chief Kelly Sterna

Division Chief Kelly Sterna was born and raised in Deadwood, SD and graduated from Lead-Deadwood High School. Kelly was very involved in sports, playing Football and Basketball for the High School. 

After High School, Kelly attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD. He currently is completing an Associate’s degree in Fire Science at Central New Mexico in addition to pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Management from Frederick Community College. Kelly was a volunteer with Red River Fire Department for 4 years prior to coming to LAFD primarily as a wildland firefighter. Kelly holds NWCG certifications for Engine Boss, Helicopter Crew member and Wildland Communications Technician. In March of 2005, Kelly was hired by the Los Alamos Fire Department.

During his 13 years at Los Alamos Fire Department Kelly has held the ranks of Firefighter I and II, Driver Engineer, Fire Captain, and Division Chief. He was also part of the Technical Rescue Team, Shift Training Team, SCBA team, and Communication team. Kelly has a daughter, Daryon, who is pursuing a law degree at UT-Austin.

Kelly describes the highlights of his career as mentoring other members, and making a positive change on a daily basis.

Kelly currently resides in Santa Fe. Kelly enjoys spending time with his family and friends, snowboarding, hiking, and is an avid sports fan.

James Thwaits
Division Chief (Training)

Picture of Chief Thwaits

Division Chief James Thwaits was born in Albuquerque, NM and moved to Los Alamos in 1985 where he lived until 1989 when he moved to Colorado.  After graduating High School, James proudly served in the United States Marine Corps.  He joined the Los Alamos Fire Department in 2006.  James has climbed the ranks from Fire Fighter, Driver Engineer,  Captain, to his current position as the Division Chief of Safety.  He has been part of the LAFD Technical Rescue Team, HAZMAT team, SCBA Team, Communications Team, Bike Team and most recently was LAFD’s Training Captain.  James currently has an A.A.S in Fire Science and is working on his Bachelor’s degree.  James lives in White Rock with his wife, Katie, and their youngest daughter, Kailey; their oldest daughter, Kelsey, is currently attending law school at William and Mary Law in Virginia.

Joseph Baca
Division Chief (Safety)

Division Chief Joseph Baca 
was born and raised in Northern New Mexico and graduated from Escalante High School. After High School he attended Adams State University in Colorado where he received his Associate of Science Degree, he then moved to Albuquerque to work and continue his education. Joseph comes from a family of public servants. His Father was a Fire Management Officer for the Carson National Forest, a brother who serves in the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer, he has 2 brothers who are career firefighters, and a son who followed in his footsteps as a firefighter for LAFD. Joseph has another brother who is the assistant field director for the NM State Land Office, and his only sister is the Executive Assistant at the health clinic in Tierra Amarilla.

Joseph joined the Los Alamos Fire Department in 1997, throughout his career he has promoted through the ranks of Firefighter, Driver Engineer, Captain, Training Captain and now Division Chief of Safety. Joseph became a paramedic in 2003 and has been part of several of LAFD’s specialty teams such as; Public Education, Technical Rescue, and Haz-Mat.

Joseph currently lives in Northern New Mexico, (Canjilon) with his wife Loretta and two daughters. Marissa who is attending the University of New Mexico and Elyssa, a senior at Escalante High School. His son Ryan, and his wife Sandra have blessed Joseph with three grandchildren; Isabella, Allie, and Ryder.

Todd Forsythe
Acting Division Chief (LANL Training)

Acting Division Chief Todd Forsythe grew up in southern California.  After graduating from Arrowhead Christian Academy he studied business at Cal State University, San Bernardino.  After working as a manager for Big 5 Sporting Goods he decided to pursue a career in fire and put himself through California State Fire Academy.  He was hired on with the USFS and was a wildland firefighter for six seasons in the San Bernardino National Forest.  After not being able to secure permanent employment with the forest service he moved to Havasu City, Arizona where he was a manufacturing manager for Sterilite for five years.  In 2000 he took a position with Intel, where he worked as a Team Leader while also earning his Associate’s degree in Engineering.   Todd never lost the desire to be a firefighter however, and he decided to follow his true calling and was hired on by Los Alamos Fire Department in 2008.

During his ten years with LAFD Todd has ascended the ranks of Firefighter one and two, Driver Engineer, Captain and Division Chief.  He is also a member of the Hazmat and Communication Teams, and is an EMT-I. 

Todd lives in Jemez Springs with his wife Cheryl and their two dogs.  His pride and joy are his two sons, who are both attending Arizona State University; Cole is pursuing a degree in Business and Jake in Computer Science.

Todd enjoys purple shakes, restoring vintage vehicles, off-roading and riding his resto-mod Ford Bronco, warm beaches, being outdoors and spending time with his wife.

Steve Saiz
Battalion Chief (A Shift)

Picture of Battalion Chief Steve Saiz
Battalion Chief Steve Saiz
was born and raised in Espanola, NM. Graduated from Pojoaque High School. He now resides in Rio Rancho, NM. Steve Saiz joined LAFD in 2003 as a firefighter/EMT-I. He promoted to Driver/Engineer in 2007. Became a member of the Technical Rescue Team and a custodian of the clothing/PPE. Steve Saiz promoted to Captain in 2009, Training Officer for an academy in 2009, received my A.A.S in Fire Science in 2015 and promoted to Battalion Chief of Operations in July of 2016 and is currently assigned to A-shift.

Jeff Wetteland
Battalion Chief (B Shift)

Division Chief Jeff Wetteland
Battalion 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).


Raul Manzanares
Acting Battalion Chief (C Shift)

Raul Manzanares