Nic Wilson to take over as new Madison Township fire chief Jan. 12 – The Daily Telegram

MADISON TWP. — A transition from one fire chief to the next is taking place in Madison Township.
Outgoing Madison Township Fire Chief Ryan Rank, who is retiring effective today after serving the township as its chief since 2014, will be succeeded by Assistant Chief Nic Wilson, who will officially become the township’s new chief Wednesday, Jan. 12.
Rank’s career of more than 30 years in firefighting in Lenawee County draws to its conclusion today. He has worked as a firefighter/paramedic with Madison Township since 1996. He intends to run for the 34th District in the Michigan House of Representatives. Because of terms limits, current state Rep. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, cannot seek reelection in 2022.
Residents in Madison Township will probably not even notice a change in leadership from Rank to Wilson, Rank previously said in an interview with The Daily Telegram. The two have worked together as chief and assistant chief since 2015. Rank said Wilson is “well groomed” for the fire chief position.
“When I took over as chief, I wanted to make sure that when the day came that I left, there is a person that will be able to step in and take over,” Rank said. “Nic has been groomed for the position. And the (Madison Township Board), after they accepted my resignation, approved my recommendation and promoted (Nic) to take over for me. It will be a flawless transition.”
In all actuality, Wilson already has a bit of a head start in leading and managing the fire department. In October, while Rank said he took nearly the entire month off to focus on his future career plans, Wilson was named acting chief and operated the department in Rank’s stead.
“One thing about Ryan is that he makes sure and trusts in everybody to do their part. And we all trust in him,” Wilson said.
A Hudson native and a 1999 graduate of Hudson High School, Wilson joined the fire department team at Madison Township in 2002 after a stint as a paid, on-call member of the Adrian Fire Department. Wilson said he realized he wanted to be more involved with assisting the community, so he applied at Madison Township and was accepted to the department as a paid, on-call employee. He began enrolling in emergency medical technician courses and officially became a rostered member in 2002.
In 2011, Wilson became a full-time employee at the Madison Township Fire Department.
“I enjoy the township, I enjoy the residents we serve, and I enjoy the outlying residents we serve, because it’s not just Madison Township,” he said. “(Our department) takes pride in treating each of those communities as our own. We want to make sure we give them the best service that we can because that’s what we are here for.”
The fire department, which consists of eight full-time employees, not including the fire chief, and roughly 25 paid, on-call employees, services not just Madison Township, but also Dover, Fairfield and Ogden townships. The department has a longstanding working relationship with Blissfield Township for advanced life support services, and it also works closely with Deerfield and Riga townships and the fire department in Adrian.
Wilson said he is excited to begin this next chapter in his career of service to the community.
“As with anything new, there are going to be challenges,” he said. “As a township and as a fire department as a whole, we are in a good spot. We have a really good group of people to keep moving us forward. So I think it’s just trying to stay ahead and on top of everything.”
Recruitment of members and then retention of those members are some of the biggest challenges Wilson said he expects to face as chief. The number of people getting into the fire service and staying there, he said, gets lower and lower each year.
At Madison Township, he called the fire department “unique” in its offerings to those interested in serving its community. The department partners with Adrian College and instructs EMT classes, of which Wilson is one of the teachers. Other members of the department also teach courses about fire and emergency services.
Wilson also teaches an EMT/fire safety course in Bedford Township in Monroe County, and he works closely with the Michigan State Police on hazardous materials training protocol. During what little down time he has, Wilson operates a small information technology consulting business.
“That’s the unique part about this job and the big draw, I think,” he said. “Everybody just sees it kind of like the fire department and the EMS portion, but we have a lot of really cool opportunities to educate people and to get into different avenues in which we can still serve the community.”
Because Wilson is being promoted to chief, there will be a shakeup of officers at the department, which Wilson said will take shape within the coming weeks. The officer positions will be posted internally and there will be a testing and interview process to conduct. Typically, the department operates with three captains, three lieutenants and one assistant chief.


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