Celina officials have narrowed their search for a new fire chief to five finalists.

The search for a new Celina Fire Department chief comes after Fire Chief Mark Metdker retired in June, which marked the end of a 17-year career in Celina public safety. Metdker, who has served as Celina’s police chief, fire marshal, director of public safety and fire chief, announced his retirement plans during a Feb. 10 fire department banquet.

A community meet and greet will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on June 26 at Celina Council Chambers, according to a June 19 Celina news release. The meet and greet will provide residents a chance to meet the candidates and learn about their visions for the department’s future.

The details

The five finalists include:
  • Robin Bergerson, executive deputy fire chief, Waco
  • Chris Connealy, senior director of emergency services (ret.), Williamson County
  • Eric Everson, assistant fire chief, city of Celina
  • Adrian Garcia, fire chief, city of Mission
  • Les Stephens, fire chief, city of San Marcos
About the candidates

Bergerson has 31 years of fire service and is a graduate of National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire Service Executive Development Institute and the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy, according to the release. Bergerson holds a master’s degree in public administration, a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and an associate degree in fire service administration.

Connealy has 45 years of experience in public safety and began his career with the Houston Fire Department in 1978, where he became fire chief over a 26-year career, according to the release. Connealy graduated from the NFA’s Executive Fire Officer Program and accepted a fellowship at the Harvard University State and Local Executive Program.

Everson has 29 years in the fire service, and began his career with The Colony and later spent two decades with Plano Fire-Rescue, according to the release. Everson, who serves as the assistant fire chief in Celina, earned his master’s degree in public administration as well as a bachelor’s degree in emergency administration and planning from the University of North Texas, and his associate degree in fire science from Collin College.

Garcia has over 30 years of experience in public safety and serves as the fire chief of the Mission Fire Department, according to the release. Garcia holds numerous certifications and academic credentials, including a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas.

Stephens, a 36-year fire service veteran, has served as the fire chief for the San Marcos Fire Department for the last 15 years, according to the release. Credentialed as a chief fire officer and certified public manager, Stephens served as the president of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and was honored as the association’s Fire Chief of the Year in 2023.