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Start & Positions
Rick Welle first came to Edwardsville in April of 2010 as the city’s interim fire chief following the retirement of Chief Brian Wilson. In July of 2010 Welle was named as the permanent fire chief, and now works to oversee one deputy chief, 30-full-time firefighters, four volunteers and one administrative assistant. He also serves as the City’s Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator.
Chief Welle’s career started with the Collinsville Fire Department in 1981. Once involved with the Fire Department, Welle worked to advance his career and education in the fire service, eventually obtaining a fire science degree from Belleville Area College (now Southwestern Illinois College). He also achieved a multitude of specialized certifications, including the following and technical rescue certifications:
He has been an Emergency Medical Technician since 1981 and a paramedic since 1998. Since 1992 Welle has worked as a lieutenant and captain, and was appointed interim fire chief in Collinsville twice.
Helping Institutes & Unions
While employed by CFD, he spent a few years teaching fire service management and basic firefighting skills for the Illinois Fire Service Institute. He also worked part time in construction as a laborer / carpenter, as a hazardous materials cleanup technician, as a cabinet maker and in a counter top manufacturing company. For the six years prior to accepting the fire chief position in Edwardsville he worked as the service representative for firefighter unions across all of Southern Illinois for the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois.
Welle is a 1975 graduate of Collinsville High School, where he met his future wife Kim (nee) Gray. The two married in 1978 and have three grown children (Matthew, Jill and Benjamin), and three grand children. He is also a 1979 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a BA in Mass Communications.