By Graham Sweeney
Former Germantown Fire Chief John Selberg has been appointed as Collierville’s new chief and he plans to maintain the town’s emphasis on having a “premier fire department.”
The town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously named Selberg as the new leader of the Collierville Fire Department at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night.
The selection was met with a round of applause for Selberg, who Town Administrator James Lewellen said was “regarded as one of the most influential and most respected leaders in the fire service throughout the state.”
Noting that he is also a “great person,” Lewellen said that he has known Selberg since 1986, when the two were students at the University of Memphis.
“We first bonded trying to finish our master’s degrees,” he said of Selberg, who has a degree in Business Administration.
Selberg, who has more than 40 years of experience working with local fire departments, is a leader for Tennessee Task Force One, a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue response team.
He had deployments at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Selberg began his career in Germantown as a volunteer firefighter in 1977.
He was later hired by Germantown as a firefighter and driver.
Selberg served as a Germantown lieutenant, battalion chief, fire marshal, assistant fire chief, and fire chief.
In his 11 years as the Germantown chief, he managed a staff of 92 full-time staff and 20 reserve personnel, according to Collierville staff reports.
Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner said that he took a “great deal of pleasure” in nominating Selberg, who is scheduled to start his duties on July 1.
He is replacing Buddy Billings, who is retiring after 44 years of service with the town.
Selberg has been named Firefighter of the Year from the Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus organizations in Germantown, received a Governor’s First Responder Award through the state’s office of Homeland Security, and served as a President of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association.
He also served as the emergency management director for Germantown, where he worked with Collierville to oversee the two municipalities’ COVID-19 vaccination site at Germantown Baptist Church.