Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Wednesday named Louis Winston as the new chief of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services.
Winston, 55, of Dundalk, served three decades in the department, rising to the rank of deputy chief before his retirement in January 2020.
His appointment is effective Tuesday, according to a county news release.
“Lou Winston is a longtime respected and admired member of the fire service,” Ball said in a statement. “He is an innovative and progressive leader who has the experience to carry on the traditions of our department while shaping and preparing it for the future. I have complete confidence in his ability to lead a department that is a model and national standard for excellence.”
Winston first joined the department in 1990 and served under seven fire chiefs and six county executives.
Before his appointment as a deputy chief in 2019, Winston was a chief officer for more than six years. During that time, he served as a field battalion chief and as an assistant chief where he managed the Administrative Services Bureau overseeing the department’s budget, human resources and recruitment.
He advocated for and adopted resource management principles, as well as high performance CPR initiatives, according to the release.
“This department is important to me and … I stayed kind of connected to the department and I want to certainly always see the department thrive and move in the right direction and provide high-quality services to the citizens of Howard County,” Winston said in an interview. “I have a strong commitment to service and, even through I was retired, that fire for service never died.”
For more than 10 years, Winston served as the president of the Phoenix Sentinels, a county organization committed to improving career opportunities for people of color in the fire service.
“We are excited to welcome Chief Winston back to the department. Our leadership team had the opportunity to work closely with Chief Winston in several of his prior roles in the agency and developed a tremendous working relationship with him during his career,” said Richard Ruehl, president of the Howard County Professional Fire Fighters Association, in a statement. “Our familiarity with him leads us to believe that he will be exactly the type of leader that our agency needs right now.”
A graduate of Loyola Blakefield, Winston holds a Bachelor of Science degree in homeland security from the University of Maryland Global Campus. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Winston is a past recipient of the Howard County Government’s Mentorship Award, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks’ Shining Star Award and Turner Station Community Service Award.
“This is a tremendous honor and a privilege to serve as the fire chief and to lead this great department,” Winston said. “Having worked right there on the front lines with many of the members of this department, I know their dedication and commitment to serve and provide public safety in Howard County.”