Skip Navigation LinksCity brings three fire chief candidates to Topeka for final interviews

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The City of Topeka has narrowed its potential fire chief candidates to three people, each with more than two decades in the fire service, for final interviews and a chance to interact with Topeka residents.

Randy Adams, former fire chief/district manager for South Metropolitan Fire Protection District in Raymore, Mo.; Craig Duke, former deputy fire chief of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.; and Gregory Hoggatt Sr., deputy chief of operations/emergency manager for Boynton Beach Fire Rescue in Boynton Beach, Fla., will visit the City of Topeka Feb. 22

After a daylong interview process, Adams, Duke and Hoggatt will be present at a public meet and greet from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jayhawk Gallery, 720 SW Jackson. Light refreshments will be served.

The City received 68 completed applications after the position was posted June 2, 2016. After interviewing a total of 18 candidates, Adams, Duke and Hoggatt emerged as top choices for Topeka, said interim city manager Doug Gerber.

“These candidates have exceptional maturity and leadership skills,” Gerber said. “They are problem solvers and service-minded, and we are looking forward to bringing them into our City to meet the rest of the Topeka’s leadership team and the community.”

The three candidates will spend the day in interviews and learning about the City of Topeka and its fire service, including a meal with Gerber and Mayor Larry Wolgast, panel interviews with senior and Topeka fire staff and facilities tours. All of this leads up to the public meet and greet at Jayhawk Gallery.


Randy Adams has more than 22 years of experience in fire service, and for the last 15 years until October 2016 served as the fire chief/district manager for the South Metropolitan Fire Protection District in Raymore, Mo. As fire chief, Adams enhanced fire district safety, productivity and sustained performance; planned and administered the annual budget; and provided command and control during emergency operations.

Prior to being appointed fire chief, Adams served as deputy chief from 2000 to 2002, as captain from 1998 to 2000, as a paramedic/firefighter from 1996 to 1998 and as a firefighter/EMT from 1995 to 1997. He also served in the union leadership from 1996 to 2000.

Adams’ key achievements as fire chief for the district in Raymore include guiding the passage of a half-cent sales tax to support firefighting operations and helping to pass two separate bond issues worth more than $10 million for various capital investments, including new apparatus, a new fire station and a new training complex. He also wrote two successful federal fire grants for safety and emergency response equipment.

Adams has completed several fire protection courses, including Missouri Paramedic, EMT, Firefighter I and II, Fire Instructor, Fire Investigator and Fire Officer I. He earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Fire Science Technology from the Metropolitan Community College, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Columbia Southern University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University.

“My wife and I are excited about the opportunity presented with the Topeka Fire Department and the City of Topeka,” Adams said. “As a fellow mid-westerner, I appreciate the ethos and commitment to excellence that we all share, and if selected I believe that my experience, leadership skills and education would be a great asset to the fire department and the community it is charged with serving.”


Craig Duke has more than 31 years in fire service and served as deputy fire chief for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., until his retirement Sept. 17, 2015. In that position, which he held for four years, Duke managed nine divisions, including Fire/EMS dispatch, Logistics, Employee Recruitment and Selection, Fire Marshal’s Office, Fire Department Budget, Grant Applications and a Performance Measurements Program.

Duke started with KCKFD in May 1984, working his way up from a firefighter through the ranks of apparatus driver, captain, battalion chief and assistant chief before becoming deputy fire chief.

In his time with the Unified Government, Duke developed the Fire Departments first Fire Cadet Program, which brought opportunities to those who were economical disadvantaged. He also developed a First Responder Program within Kansas City District 500 School system and CPR and First Aid classes for Spanish-speaking citizens; oversaw the transition of Fire/EMS dispatch from Police to Fire Department; was a charter member of the Unified Government Diversity Team; and served as the Kansas Fire/EMS Commander for the Katrina Hurricane Response. He has served on the Mid-America Regional Council as co-chair for the Regional Technical Rescue Teams. He also has been on the development team for a number of regional exercises.

Duke has completed several professional training programs, including Master Exercise Planner Practitioner and through level 800 of Incident Command and management of Emergency Medical Services. He also served on the board of directors for American Red Cross, assisted with USD 500 Summer Reading Program and is the past president of the Parent-Teacher Organization for Christ the King Church.

Duke earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management and Human Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University and an Associate of Arts Degree in Fire Science from Kansas City Community College. He has also been certified as a Kansas Emergency Manager.

“I feel my thirty-one years plus of Fire/EMS experience, as well as my educational background and extensive training, makes me a viable candidate for this position,” Duke said. “I have a solid background of successfully achieving goals through partnerships and teamwork. This philosophy makes for a more positive and productive work environment.”


Gregory Hoggatt Sr. has 29 years of experience in fire service, primarily with the Orlando Fire Department. Since 2012, he has served as the deputy fire chief of operations/emergency manager of the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue. For four months last year, he served as interim director of fire and EMS Services before returning to his role as deputy chief.

As deputy chief of operations, Hoggatt is responsible for day-to-day fire operations as well as the training division, EMS, budgets, fleet maintenance and facilities. As emergency manager, he was tasked with reviewing coordinated response plans, developing a disaster checklist for the city manager and training city personnel to be prepared for all potential disasters, especially hurricanes.

Hoggatt began his career in fire service in 1984 as a volunteer firefighter, and he started working full time in the fire service in 1988. For most of his career, Hoggatt has served on the City of Orlando’s fire department. There he started in 1998 as a firefighter/EMT, became a paramedic and worked his way up to deputy chief paramedic in 2009, a position he filled until 2012, when he accepted the deputy fire chief position in Boynton Beach. While as the deputy chief for Orlando, he led the creation of the EMS Transport program. That program started cost recovery for EMS and returned several millions of dollars a year to the city to help offset public safety needs.

Hoggatt is involved in numerous community activities, including helping with dozens of charity events each year. He has his Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center of Public Safety Excellence and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He earned an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Valencia Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Barry University.

“I am dedicated to the fire service and consider it my career, not just my job,” Hoggatt said. “With my experience, I have been responsible for managing almost every division and program in the fire department. As I approach close to 30 years as a professional firefighter, I believe I have the experience you are looking for in your next fire chief.”