Longtime firefighter Dave Van Valkenburg will become South King Fire and Rescue’s (SKFR) new Assistant Chief of Operations, the agency announced Sept. 13.
His selection marks the conclusion of a multi-state search this summer to fill the position. The department has been considering three outside candidates — including Van Valkenburg — since at least August.
Van Valkenburg is by far the closest to home of the three candidates. He began his fire service career in 1986 as a volunteer firefighter in Pierce County, according to a press release from SKFR. Since then, he’s worked at Bothell Fire and EMS and the Kirkland Fire Department in roles ranging from firefighter to battalion chief. The other candidates were based in Arizona and California.
Van Valkenburg has a bachelor’s degree in leadership from Creighton University and completed the executive leadership academy at the University of Washington. He also regularly teaches at the state and national fire academies.
He’s been twice recognized with Distinguished Service Awards and was recognized by the King County Fire Chiefs for his efforts responding to the COVID-19 crisis and his participation on the group’s diversity and inclusion committee, according to SKFR.
The assistant chief of operations reports directly to Fire Chief Dave Mataftin. The position oversees all operations of the department, including all emergency response, all fire-related operations and training functions. The salary range listed on the job posting was $181,200 to $201,000.
Fire Chief Mataftin was appointed as interim chief in January and signed a two-year contract as fire chief shortly after his appointment. He is nine months into his contract, which expires at the end of next year. If mutually agreed upon by Mataftin and the South King Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners, Mataftin could extend his service by one year.
SKFR has approximately 150 firefighters and serves about 150,000 people in Federal, Des Moines, parts of Normandy Park and Auburn and some unincorporated areas.