Midland Fire Chief Robert Isbell has been selected as the new fire chief for City of Round Rock, effective Dec. 12.
Isbell has been chief in Midland since December 2010, previously serving as fire chief in Euless and Southlake. His firefighting career started in Mansfield in 1985, where he rose to the rank of captain. Isbell said that Midland is the “hardest working fire department in the state” and is a close-knit organization that genuinely cares about residents.
"Midland has been a great community for me and my family,” Isbell said. “We were able to accomplish many new endeavors at the fire department during an explosive growth period in the community. I am very proud of the department and specifically the individual passion the firefighters have shown for the organization and community."
Under Isbell’s leadership, the Midland Fire Department earned an ISO 1 rating in 2014, ensuring the best possible insurance rates for residents. Midland experienced exponential growth after Isbell’s arrival, and has witnessed the construction of the new Fire Station 10 with construction of a new Fire Station 6 still ongoing. Isbell led the department’s transition toward a data-driven, proactive approach to public safety through the Community Risk Reduction program and Community Health Paramedics program. He was named a member this year of Governor Greg Abbott’s Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services, which makes recommendations for the state’s EMS/Trauma System.
Isbell holds a master’s degree in Executive Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration, both from Grand Canyon University. He completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy as well as the Certified Public Manager Program at Texas Tech University.
Assistant Chief Chip Balzer, who oversees administration for the department, has been named interim fire chief while City Manager Courtney Sharp selects Isbell’s replacement.
Balzer began his career with the Midland Fire Department in January of 1982 and achieved the rank of Assistant Chief in 1997. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and his master’s degree in Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University.
A going away reception will be held for Chief Isbell at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Central Fire Station. ###
Media Contact: Public Information Officer Sara Bustilloz