Lawrenceville – Gwinnett County Administrator Glenn Stephens has announced the appointment of Assistant Fire Chief Russell Knick to succeed Fire Chief Casey Snyder, who is retiring after 29 years of service to Gwinnett County. Knick, a 24-year veteran of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, assumes his new role on May 6 and is expected to announce additional promotions to fill other key leadership positions in the coming weeks.
Stephens commended Snyder for promoting long-term efficient service delivery, community risk reduction, and enhanced emergency medical operations.
“Under Casey’s watch, the department received international accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and the county’s ISO classification rating improved from a 4 to a 2,” said. Stephens. “If these accomplishments weren’t enough, the department also opened a new fire training facility, Fire Station 31, Maxwell High School Training Tower, and relocated Fire Stations 10 and 15 during the five years he served as chief. I wish Casey the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
As a core member of the department’s executive strategy-making team for many years, Knick managed the department’s balanced scorecard leading to service and program improvements; administered the program to achieve international accreditation, making GFES one of only 247 agencies worldwide to hold this designation; oversaw the successful effort to reduce the county’s insurance rating; and served as liaison for local and state level programs and events.
Knick has served for the past three years as assistant chief for the operations division, the department’s largest division consisting of more than 850 sworn personnel, 31 fire stations, and the Fire Academy. He previously held positions of fire academy director and district commander in the chief’s office.
“Our commitment to looking ahead and fostering leadership development within county government gives us the ability to choose from seasoned leaders who will provide continuity and strong direction for the organization,” said Stephens. “The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is a model for effective succession planning. Russell has worked his way up through the ranks, gaining valuable knowledge and skills from having worked in many areas of the department over the years.”
Stephens cited Knick’s advocacy of employee safety and engagement as one of his core strengths.
“Russell is well-respected for his well-rounded management experience and passion for community-focused customer care. His drive, organization and strategic planning skills are other strengths that will serve him well in this position. Russell thrives on challenges that embrace best practices, particularly those that expand the department’s reach and involvement in the community, and I look forward to seeing where he takes the department next,” said Stephens.
Knick holds a BS and a Master of Public Administration from Jacksonville State University and a career excellence designation as a chief fire officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is a member of the 2018 class of Leadership Gwinnett.
Knick, a Lawrenceville native, lives in Commerce with his wife, Patti. They have two grown children.