GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ new top firefighter is a 20-year veteran of the department, the city announced Monday.

Brad Brown will take over as chief of the Grand Rapids Fire Department May 1.

“I want to thank City Manager (Mark) Washington and my fellow firefighters for the confidence that they have shown in me,” Brown said in a Monday statement. “I think we have it dialed in pretty good here in Grand Rapids thanks to Chief (John) Lehman’s leadership, and I’m looking forward to keeping that work going in the future. By managing our assets and being proactive, I really think that we’re setting Grand Rapids up for the future, and I’m really excited to continue serving the residents of this great city.”

Brown is being promoted from deputy chief of support services. He has been a firefighter for 27 years, the last of 20 of which have been in Grand Rapids. As part of his current job, he oversees GRFD’s $36 million annual budget, purchasing, planning, fleet and facilities, administrative staff and fire prevention. He also works on hiring.

He was among two finalists to replace Chief John Lehman, who is retiring. The other was Eloy Vega of the Port Neches, Texas, fire department.

“(Brown) will build upon the good foundation laid under Chief Lehman’s extraordinary leadership,” Washington said in a statement. “He cares deeply for our residents, this organization, his fellow firefighters and the department. I’m confident that he will continue to elevate the quality of life for Grand Rapidians and ensure they have a world-class fire department.”