BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Battle Creek has hired a new fire chief.

Bill Beaty will start in his new role Oct. 17.

“I look forward to becoming an active member of the wonderful Battle Creek community,” Beaty said in a statement released Monday. “The Battle Creek Fire Department has an exemplary team of dedicated professionals, and I am excited to become part of that.

“The future of the fire department, and our service to the community, has great promise, and I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead those efforts into the future.”

Beaty comes to Battle Creek from Divernon, Illinois, south of Springfield, where he was deputy chief. His career dates back to 1987 and includes roles as the fire chief in Garden City and Finnery County in western Kansas and a fire captain in Springfield, Illinois. He also served in the U.S. Air Force.

The city said that after a forum for the chief finalists to meet the public in August, residents said they liked Beaty’s experience, personality, communication style, focus on firefighters and comments on diversity.

“Chief Beaty has years of military, firefighter, labor union, and other experience that will serve him well in the City of Battle Creek,” Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing stated. “We believe his strong views on recruitment and diversity will make a great, positive impact on the Battle Creek Fire Department, and we look forward to his service here.”

Beaty replaces former Chief Brian Sturdivant, who took a job as the fire chief in Lansing.