New Noblesville fire chief well prepared for post

Greg Wyant was named as Noblesville Fire Chief upon the retirement of Ken Gilliam. (Submitted photo)

Greg Wyant was named as Noblesville Fire Chief upon the retirement of Ken Gilliam. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

Greg Wyant was convinced he was as prepared as he could be for his new position.

The new Noblesville Fire Chief has worked as assistant chief under Ken Gilliam for the past five years.

“The reality is Chief Gilliam and I worked close on everything,” Wyant said. “He kind of knew about when he was planning to retire. Pretty much from the day I came here, he included me in about everything he did. I feel like I’ve had the ability to impact and implement changes. I don’t think there is something bothering me that I wanted to get changed or else it would have been changed.”

Gilliam, who retired on May 22, is confident in Wyant.

“Greg will do a fantastic job,” Gilliam stated. “I’ve told Greg, ‘I hope you’ve learned some things to do as chief and I’m sure you’ve learned some things not to do as chief by working with me.’

Wyant, 47, said he doesn’t know how the transition could go any smoother.

“I was certainly as prepared as a person could be,” said Wyant, who joined the department in 1994.

Wyant graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer program in 2009.

For his project, Wyant studied the air quality as it related to firefighters during and after fires.

“There have been studies that documented the extreme high rate of certain cancers in firefighters,” Wyant said. “They studied it from when the fire is actually burning and the phases of the fire.”

But Wyant said one phase had not been studied, when firefighters looked for hot spots after the fire to be sure it was completely out. So, in Noblesville and surrounding communities, he focused on that phase.

“We did identify there is an increase of carcinogenic activity if our people are not wearing respiratory equipment during that time frame, which historically we didn’t, and most departments still don’t,” he said. “So we were potentially exposing our people to an increased risk of cancer.”

Wyant’s study was published in International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management in 2010. The study was completed in 2007.

“I feel the members of this department will reap that benefit in the future,” he said.

About Wyant

Personal: Wyant joined the Navy in 1987 and served six years as engineer on the U.S.S. Forrestal and U.S.S. Detroit. He served a year commitment in the Red Sea during Operational Desert Storm. Wyant lives in rural Sheridan with his wife Sheila and two children, Sam, who just graduated from Culver Military Academy and will be attending Purdue, and Abby, who attends University High School.

Education: Graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School in 1986. Completed bachelor’s degree in general studies and master’s degree in public management from Indiana University-Kokomo.