Robert IsbellFire Chief
Robert Isbell was named Chief of the Midland Fire Department in December of 2010. Chief Isbell has over 30 years of municipal fire service experience. He holds a Master firefighter, Master Inspector, Investigator, and Instructor certifications as well as licensed Paramedic. Chief Isbell has earned a Master of Executive Leadership degree, Baccalaureate in Public Administration and Associates in Fire Protection Technology. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy, and the Certified Public Manager program at Texas Tech University.
Chief Isbell is responsible for all the programs and service delivery of the fire department, including the Fire Marshal’s office and the office of emergency management.
Chief Isbell is very involved in the fire service at the state level, serving as the West Region Director for the Texas Fire Chief’s Association, Chair of the Best Practices Board for the Texas Fire Chief’s Association’s program, as well as Instructor and advisor for the Texas Fire Chief’s Academy.
Chip BalzerAssistant Chief of Support Services
Clifford ‘Chip’ Balzer is the Assistant Chief of Support Services with the Midland Fire Department. Chief Balzer began his career with the Midland Fire Department in January of 1982, rising through the ranks, having been promoted to his current position in 1997. Chief Balzer holds state certifications as a licensed paramedic, Fire and EMS Instructor, and Master Firefighter in both structural and ARFF disciplines. He earned a Baccalaureate in Business Administration from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and a Master of Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University.
Chief Balzer’s current duties include the oversight of the Department’s Training Division, the Records Division, and Human Resource functions. Chief Balzer is also responsible for several other administrative functions within the Department such as budgeting, policies, and the majority of EMS activities.
Fritz NiggelerAssistant Chief of OperationsFritz Niggeler is the Assistant Chief of Operations with the Midland Fire Department. Chief Niggeler began his career with the Midland Fire Department in August of 1988, rising through the ranks, having been promoted to his current position in 2009. Chief Niggeler holds state certifications as a licensed paramedic, Master Instructor, and Master Firefighter. He graduated from the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. He earned a Baccalaureate in Organizational Management from Midland College.
Chief Niggeler’s primary duties include the direct supervision of the on duty Battalion Chief (or shift commander) and the Aircraft Rescue Fire-Fighting (ARFF) Coordinator. As a member of the executive administrative staff, he is also assists with strategic planning, budget development, policy implementation, project management, and team building and leadership activities.
Michael CotaAssistant Fire Chief of Community Risk Reduction
Assistant Chief Michael Cota has served with the Midland Fire Department since February of 1996. His career in suppression as a Firefighter and as an Investigator in the Fire Marshal’s Office has offered an opportunity serve in an array of disciplines for the City of Midland. Chief Cota holds state certifications as a Master Firefighter, Arson Investigator and Fire Inspector, while maintaining an EMT-I and Peace Officer license since joining the executive staff of the Midland Fire Department. He earned an Associate’s Degree at Midland College and is currently pursuing a Baccalaureate Degree in Business Administration.
Chief Cota’s duties include overseeing the Community Risk Reduction program, while balancing relationships with internal and external resources to make a positive difference in the lives of our community. Chief Cota is also responsible for departmental functions such as policies, budget, health and wellness, and personnel matters.
Chief Cota serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Midland Municipal Employee’s Credit Union since 2004 and is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Midland Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Board since 2007.
David HickmanFire MarshalDavid M. Hickman is a 26 year veteran with the Midland Fire Department. Beginning his paid fire career for the City of Big Lake, David served as Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal for the Big Lake Volunteer Fire Department before moving to Midland in 1988. In 1991, he became a Driver/Operator and then promoted to the Fire Marshal’s Office in 1999 as a Fire Inspector/Investigator. David then promoted to Assistant Fire Marshal in 2006 and became Fire Marshal in 2013. David holds Masters Certificates as a Peace Officer, Fire Fighter, ARFF Fire Fighter, Fire Inspector and Fire Investigator. David is also received his Paramedic certification in 1990. It is David’s mission to reduce the cause of fires through education, investigations and fire code enforcement.