The Town of Black Mountain welcomed its newest fire chief on May 9.
Town officials and staff gathered at Town Hall to welcome Scottie Harris to his new role.
Harris, who was hired by town manager Josh Harrold in mid-April, brings more than 20 years of experience in fire and emergency services to the position. He was working as a fire services contractor in Kuwait when he applied for the position, which was vacated when former chief Steve Jones retired in November of 2018.
Harris has previously worked for the City of Raleigh and Cumberland County. He was one of 45 applicants for the position.
"I was really drawn to the community itself," Harris said during a small reception to welcome him to his first day on the job. "I did a lot of research when the position became available.I flew in from Kuwait for the interview and when I was here I took a look at the community, did a lot of driving around and it felt like a good fit. It's the kind of place I can see myself being for the long-term."
The Black Mountain Fire Department is a "great organization," Harris added.
"It's a great opportunity to lead this department," he said. "The previous chief did some great things and I think with my background and experience we have an opportunity to move those things forward and continue what he started. I feel like I'm stepping into a well-oiled machine and that's because of the guys we have there."
The chief will make it a priority to familiarize himself with the department and personnel.
"I've already met with all three shifts," he said. "I'm getting general feedback from them and working with them to get them to buy into helping us develop a strategic plan and laying out our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Developing a strategic plan is our first goal because we all need to move forward together."