Former San Luis Obispo County Fire Chief Robert Lewin has been named to the top position in the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, where he has been working as an emergency manager since January.
Lewin had a 37-year career with Cal Fire in SLO County, including five years as chief, before retiring in December 2015 and taking the OEM job, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
He will start as OEM director on Oct. 10, at which time interim director Robert Troy will move back to his position as deputy director, the county said.
Former OEM director Ryan Rockabrand, who was director during the Refugio Oil Spill response, left for a FEMA job in February.
In a statement, County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato called Lewin “a proven leader with an ability to work well with the county’s regional partners in emergency response and the broader community.
“I am confident that Rob will take OEM to the next level in planning, preparedness, community outreach and response.”
She also said he has a “collaborative, transparent, and results-oriented style.”
Lewin said he is excited for the new job.
“I look forward to serving the county by developing collaborative relationships inside and outside the department, all in support of providing residents a healthy, safe and prosperous environment,” he said in a statement.
Lewin isn’t the only former fire chief in the Office of Emergency Management.
Former Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Michael Dyer and former Acting Undersheriff Don Patterson were brought on last year to help set up a disaster-preparedness plan.
Dyer and Patterson, both retired from their full-time public safety jobs, are working part-time on the Threat Hazard Identification Risk Assessment, which is partially funded by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant.