Rowan County names new emergency services chief

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2017

Staff report

SALISBURY — A Colorado native with Department of Defense experience will be Rowan County’s new emergency services chief.

Chris Soliz, most recently a battalion chief for the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, will begin his new role Feb. 1.

He succeeds Frank Thomason, who will retire Jan. 1 after 13 years as chief.

Soliz has 24 years of experience working in emergency services and served honorably in the Air Force National Guard for eight years.

The last 17 years, Soliz worked for the U.S. Department of Defense at a Military Command and Control Installation at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

According to a press release from Rowan County Manager Aaron Church, Soliz has extensive experience in all aspects of emergency services as a volunteer and career employee. His experience includes U.S. Forestry wildfire, structural firefighting, hazardous materials, ambulance service, emergency department and emergency management work.

That’s no accident, according to Soliz.

“I have very intentionally gained a variety of experience because I prioritize comprehensive customer service,” he said in the release. “It is essential to thoroughly understand each emergency service element in order to find the best solutions to emergency situations.”

Most recently at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, otherwise known as NORAD, Soliz specialized in interagency partnerships, strategic planning and leading all-hazards response efforts. Some highlights include working simultaneously for the fire department and emergency management branch, serving as manager for the fire department’s international accreditation status, and supervising the wildfire and EMS services.

Soliz earned the USAF Civilian Award for Valor for his leadership during the Black Forest Fire, the largest in Colorado history. He graduated from the USAF Emergency Management School and the U.S. Army Chemical/ Toxic Agent Course.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in fire and emergency services management from Columbia Southern University. Soliz is a credentialed incident commander in accordance with the DOD and National Emergency Responders Credentialing System.

Soliz will move to Rowan County with his wife, Stephanie, and children, Payton, 6, and Samuel, 3.

“We are excited to become part of the community and take advantage of the great quality of life that the county offers,” Soliz said.