ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today named Louis Winston to be the next Chief of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS). Winston served three decades in the Department, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief prior to his retirement in January 2020. His appointment becomes effective September 7, 2021.
Lou Winston is a long-time respected and admired member of the fire service. 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.
“It has been my absolute honor to serve 30 years with the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services and I thank County Executive Ball for the opportunity to lead this great department,” said Winston. “As a servant leader, I recognize the importance of the growth and well-being of people and communities. I look forward to leading the Department with open, honest and transparent collaborative leadership that embraces the diversity and inclusion of Howard County to help maintain safe and engaged communities.”
Winston joined the Department on February 12, 1990 and served under seven fire chiefs and six county executives.
Prior to his appointment as a Deputy Chief in 2019, Winston held a Chief Officer position 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 recruitment, human resources and the Department’s budget. He advocated for and adopted resource management principles as well as High Performance CPR initiatives.
Winston is passionate about equitable rights, and for more than 10 years served as the President of the Phoenix Sentinels, an organization committed to improving career opportunities for minorities in the fire service.
A graduate of Loyola Blakefield, Winston holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Homeland Security from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). He is also a graduate of Leadership Howard County’s Premier Class of 2015 and the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute 2015.
A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Winston is a past recipient of the Howard County Government’s Mentorship Award, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks’ Shining Star Award and Turner Station Community Service Award.
“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 L. Ruehl, President of the Howard County Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 2000. “Our familiarity with him leads us to believe that he will be exactly the type of leader that our agency needs right now. Our organization is committed to working collaboratively with him to revitalize our Department and we could not be more pleased to have him back!
“On behalf of the Howard County Professional Fire Officers Association, I would like to congratulate Chief Winston on being selected as our next Fire Chief,” said Captain Raymond Petry, President of the Howard County Fire Officers Association. “I have utmost confidence that Chief Winston will continue to uphold the values of the Department, as well as identify those areas within the Department that need to be improved to make the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue an even better department. We continue to be in some very trying times and we will offer our support to Chief Winston in any way we can.”
“The Volunteer Firefighter’s Association is very pleased with the announcement of Chief Louis Winston,” said Ray Wines, Chief of the Savage Volunteer Fire Company and President of the Howard County Volunteer Firefighters Association. “We had a great working relationship with him when was here before he retired. We are looking forward to working with him in the position of the Fire Chief.”
"Chief Winston's appointment is well-deserved. He served with distinction during his career with HCDFRS, providing mentorship and growth opportunities for many of our members,” said Battalion Chief Cerisa Speight, President of the St. Florian’s Brigade. “We look forward to working with him as we continue to address the challenges within our Department."
“We are pleased to have Lou Winston as our new Fire Chief,” said Fire Captain DeAngelo Redd, and President of the Phoenix Sentinels. “He brings experience, knowledge and professionalism to our Department, and to our community. Chief Winston defines ‘Reach back and push forward.’”