James Schultz is the new chief for the McAllen Fire Department. Schultz has been serving in an interim capacity since Chief Rafael Balderas’ retirement earlier this year after serving as assistant McAllen fire chief for the past eight years. His career, almost exclusively with the McAllen Fire Department, began in 1993 as a firefighter, a position he held also for eight years.
“The City of McAllen and the McAllen Fire Department have already benefited from Chief Schultz’s leadership as he served our community in so many different roles, always putting the safety of our residents and firefighters first,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “In every role that he previously served the department, he gave it his all to make himself and ultimately, the department better. He is the leader for this department that will stress service to the community and making sure each firefighter is trained and ready for their next level.”
“We are very fortunate to have the excellence in the McAllen Fire Department that we do. The three finalists were all internal, which gives the community a sense of the caliber of personnel that we have,” said McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez. “Our McAllen Fire Department is in good hands.”
“I am excited to continue serving the community I call home, now officially as chief of the best fire department anywhere,” said Schultz. “The MFD is ready to serve our community and I plan to make sure that our firefighters are ready to face whatever emergency, natural disaster, pandemic or fire that we may face, protecting life and property and working together with our fellow first responders and law enforcement to keep McAllen safe for every person who lives here.”
Commitment Through the Years
Working his way up from firefighter, Schultz’s service in the department includes various capacities. These include driver, lieutenant, captain and training deputy chief. It was in this capacity that Schultz was responsible for not only overseeing the mandatory continuous education of all 176 firefighters in the department, but he also managed the entry level fire suppression academy process for all cadets. While overseeing the fire training tower, he also helped in career development training and certification courses for department personnel.
As assistant fire chief, Schultz was directly responsible for the Operations, Training, Fire Prevention and Administrative Support divisions of the department. He also served as the MFD public information officer and helped to manage the department’s multi-million budget.
Over the years, Schultz established himself as a certified firefighter, earning certified designations as Certified Fire Executive (Texas Fire Chiefs Association); Fire Service Chief Executive Officer (Texas A&M University Mays School of Business); Fire Service Executive Development Institute (International Association of Fire Chiefs); and Credentialed Chief Fire Officer (Center for Public Safety Excellence). He is also a member of countless professional membership and affiliations, both at the state and international level, in addition to several local and regional boards and committees that promote fire and emergency planning, coordination and preparation.