BWL Names Lansing Assistant Fire Chief as New Emergency Operations Manager
Monday, November 3, 2014
Posted by: Michelle Rahl
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS: Steve Serkaian 517-702-6735
Monday, November 3, 2014 Randy Hannan 517-483-4147
BWL Names Lansing Assistant Fire Chief as
New Emergency Operations Manager
(LANSING) – Mayor Virg Bernero and Lansing Board of Water & Light General Manager J. Peter Lark today announced that Lansing Fire Department Assistant Chief Trent Atkins will become the BWL’s first Emergency Operations Manager. Chief Atkins is a 24-year veteran of LFD who previously served as Chief of the department’s Emergency Management Division.
“Although we will greatly miss Chief Atkins and appreciate his outstanding service to the City of Lansing, he is the right person at the right time to take the BWL’s emergency preparations and response capabilities to the next level,” said Mayor Bernero. “With a deep understanding of municipal emergency operations and incident management, he will help ensure that local governments and our hometown power company work hand-in-hand to provide the best possible services to BWL customers across the Lansing metro region, especially during a crisis.”
Mr. Lark said that Chief Atkins is the perfect choice for the position because of his expert knowledge of emergency management, his familiarity with both the city and the BWL’s infrastructure and utility operations, and his strong working relationships with regional emergency management officials and their counterparts at the state and federal levels.
“Since the December 2013 ice storm, the BWL has made several communications and operational improvements to help customers get back power faster when outages happen. We couldn’t have selected a stronger candidate than Chief Atkins to reinforce our commitment and to take the BWL to the next level of emergency preparedness,” Lark said. “Natural disasters know no boundaries, and Chief Atkins is best equipped to coordinate emergency response across metro Lansing on behalf of BWL.”
Chief Atkins began his career with LFD as a Firefighter/Paramedic in 1990 and was promoted to Captain assigned to the Training Division in 1999. He was promoted to Chief of the department’s Emergency Management Division in 2005 and was named Assistant Chief of the department by Mayor Bernero in 2012. Atkins holds a Professional Emergency Manager designation from the State of Michigan Emergency Management Division, received the Chief Officer designation by the Center for Public Safety Excellence and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program.
Chief Atkins also holds a B.B.A. in Business Administration from Cleary University, as well as numerous professional licenses and certifications in firefighting, EMS, hazardous materials, and incident management, including Licensed EMS Instructor Coordinator, NIMS Incident/Unified Command Instructor and many others. Previously, Atkins served as a Senior Paramedic in Ann Arbor and Firefighter/Paramedic in Delta Township.
In the course of his career, Chief Atkins has been closely involved in or charged with managing the emergency response to numerous incidents in the Lansing region, including the 2003 cascading power blackout that began on the East Coast, the 2004 Spartan Oil refinery fire, the 2008 tornado that struck the City of Lansing, and the city’s response to the December 2013 ice storm.
“I am honored to be selected as the BWL’s first Emergency Operations Manager,” Chief Atkins said. “This opportunity represents an exciting new challenge that will allow me to bring all of my experience and expertise to the table to make the BWL an even stronger public utility. I am grateful to Mayor Bernero for his confidence in me through the years, and I look forward to joining the BWL team.”
Lark noted that creating a new Emergency Operations Manager position adds to the dozens of other measures already implemented by the utility in response to the recommendations of the Community Review Team and the Michigan Public Service Commission, both of which reviewed the BWL’s response to the catastrophic December 2013 ice storm.
“Adding a highly-qualified, highly-respected emergency management professional like Trent Atkins to our team is one more critical step toward making the BWL an even stronger utility, better prepared to handle any crisis, more in synch with our local government partners, and more responsive to our customers,” Lark said.
Chief Atkins will begin his new role at BWL on November 17.