WCES Leadership - Senior Director Chris Connealy

Williamson County Emergency Services Senior Director Chris Connealy

Chris has been in public safety for 45 years. He started with the Houston Fire Department (HFD) in 1978 and promoted through the ranks to fire chief over a 26-year career before retiring. He was appointed fire chief of the Cedar Park Fire Department in 2004 and served 8 years. In 2012, Chris was appointed as the State Fire Marshal of Texas in 2012 and served six years. In July 2018, he was appointed as Senior Director of Emergency Services in Williamson County.

Highlights of Chris’ career include:

Lead the Houston Fire Department to be the world’s largest accredited fire department and the nation’s largest Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 1 city. He implemented strategic planning in HFD and worked with HFD Medical Director Dr. David Persse to implement the paramedic squad program. Cedar Park became an ISO Class 1 city and implemented various programs to improve the fire department. As State Fire Marshal, he led improvements in fire investigations that are recognized as a national best practice and worked to minimize future risks that lead to the West Fertilizer plant explosion in 2013. Through those efforts, Chris was named a Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine in 2014 and accepted a Hall of Fame award from the National Association of State Fire Marshals. He was also a 2013 Finalist as Dallas Morning News’ Texan of the Year.

He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, accredited as a Chief Fire Officer by the Center of Public Safety Excellence, master’s degree from Grand Canyon University, and completed the Harvard University State and Local Executive Program.

Chris is passionate about public service and his family

WCES Org Chart

Emergency Services Org Chart. Sr. Director - Chris Connealy, Admin Division Manager - Damaris Morales, Project Manager - Candi Semple, EMS Director - Mike Knipstein, Emergency Management Director - Michael Shoe, Fire Marshal - Hank Jones, 911 Director - Kate Wolf