The city of West University Place will soon have a new fire chief.
Jennifer Drake, the city’s fire captain, was tapped for the promotion by City Manager Dave Beach and unanimously approved by the City Council during its Nov. 8 meeting.
“Captain Drake is well-qualified; she’s been working for the city since 2004 and has served the city faithfully in that timeframe,” Beach said during the meeting. “She clearly understands the West [University Place] model, the service delivery expected by our residents, and [she] embraces that every time she comes into work.”
Drake will be taking the reins from Fire Chief Aaron Taylor, who recently announced his retirement effective Jan. 3. The timing of the new appointment is designed to allow Drake and Taylor the opportunity to implement a transition plan for the fire department, according to a Nov. 8 agenda report.
Drake has worked up the ranks within the department. In January 2020, she was promoted to her position as fire captain, and recently she completed the Texas Fire Chiefs Association Academy to become a Certified Fire Executive, according to the agenda report.
The city will host a swearing in ceremony for Drake in December ahead of her first official day in the chief’s role in January.
“I’d like to extend my deepest heartfelt gratitude for being selected for the next fire chief position,” Drake said during the meeting. “Thank you for your confidence in me, and I truly accept the roles and responsibilities of this position. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to lead our extraordinarily diverse men and women in the West [University Place] Fire Department.”
Drake began her career in emergency services in 2000 as a volunteer firefighter for the Friendswood Volunteer Fire Department before becoming a Texas State Licensed Paramedic in February 2001. In April 2001, she became a full-time paramedic, before later joining the West University Place Fire Department in April 2004. In 2018, she was promoted to lieutenant.