BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - A Battle Creek native is expected to be the city's new fire chief.
City Manager Rebecca Fleury said Wednesday she has selected Brian Sturdivant, the deputy chief of Petersburg, Virginia, and made him a conditional offer to succeed Dave Schmaltz, who resigned in April.
Sturdivant's salary will be $115,000 a year, Fleury said.
Sturdivant was born in Battle Creek and raised on North Washington Avenue, he said during a public presentation last week.
"I am very humbled and excited to be selected as the next Fire Chief in Battle Creek," Sturdivant said in a prepared statement. "My transition into the city organization and fire department will be very collaborative, positive, and productive. It is truly my professional honor to have the opportunity to work with and for its dedicated staff and personnel."
He said he attended the former Washington Elementary School and Second Baptist Church and played Little League baseball at Bailey Park and went on tours of the Kellogg Co. factory.
His parents are buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery.
“I am excited to have Brian come home to Battle Creek as our fire chief,” Fleury said. “We had some excellent candidates, and it was a close call but Brian’s background and diverse fire experience as well as his excellent community presentation, communication skills, and commitment to build and strengthen relationships both internal and external to the fire department is the best fit for what our community and city need at this moment in time.
"However, what truly moved him to the top candidate position was his roots in Battle Creek. He was born and raised here and that makes a difference to me and to our community," she said.
Sturdivant has more than 25 years of experience, most recently serving as the deputy fire chief/emergency management coordinator for the city of Petersburg, Virginia. He held that position since November of 2014. He also has worked with fire departments in Milpitas, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Fulton County, Georgia.
Sturdivant attended Shorter University in Atlanta, Georgia, with an associate’s degree in business; Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, with a bachelor’s degree in public administration; and from Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterrey, California, with a master’s degree in security studies. He trained as a chief fire officer at the Center for Public Safety Excellence in Chantilly, Virginia.
He served in the United States Air Force.
He said last week he has experience working in diverse communities and organizations and a goal is to continue making the fire department reflect the community.
"Diversity is about the thought process," he said. "The ideas that are generated. That is greater than our appearance.
"As I talk to my counterparts around the country they may hear lowering standards or quotas. But we want to maintain the same level of standards but we also want to be a bit more reflective of the community we serve."
The department is professionally staffed with 77 personnel assigned to one of three 24‐hour shifts for emergency response. There is also one fire inspector, a training officer, four battalion chiefs and the fire chief. The department staffs six stations throughout the city and administrative offices are located in a seventh building at 195 E. Michigan Ave.
The department responds to more than 7,000 calls annually and provides services including fire suppression, medical and hazardous material responses, rescue, confined space emergencies, pre‐fire inspections, fire prevention and public education.