Photo from Alabama Fire College
Allan Rice 2012
Allan Rice, executive director of the Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission, has been named the new executive director for the city of Hoover.
Hoover Mayor-elect Frank Brocato today announced he is naming Allan Rice, the executive director of the Alabama Fire College and Personnel Standards Commission, as the new executive director for the city of Hoover.
Rice, 45, formerly served 15 years with the Hoover Fire Department before being named the leader of the Alabama Fire College in August 2007.
He will be replacing Allen Pate, who is retiring after 29 years of service to the city of Hoover, most as executive director — a position similar to city manager.
Pate officially will retire at the end of January, but he’s pretty much leaving the office at the end of October, due to unused vacation and leave time. Brocato said Rice will begin working on Nov. 7, the same day that Brocato and the new City Council are sworn into office.
Brocato said he chose Rice for multiple reasons. Rice did a wonderful job when he served in a command role with the Hoover Fire Department and has done a great job leading the Alabama Fire College the past nine years, Brocato said.
He lives in Hoover, and he’s familiar with the community and is a first-class individual with outstanding character, Brocato said.
“He’s just the type of person you want to be associated with and you want to serve in a leadership role with the city,” Brocato said. “He has the skills we need.”
Brocato served 42 years with the Fire Department, including 24 years as a battalion chief and nine years as the city’s fire marshal. He said Fire Department officials recognized early on that Rice had leadership potential.
During his 15 years with the Hoover Fire Department, Rice held assignments as a firefighter/paramedic, lieutenant, fire inspector/investigator, public educator/public information officer and captain. He was assigned to the high angle and hazardous materials teams and worked extensively with law enforcement as a medical support officer, according to his biography on the International Association of Fire Chiefs website.
Rice also served as the program coordinator for fire science and emergency medical services at Jefferson State Community College and as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, teaching both on that campus and throughout the United States.
He has taught numerous courses pertaining to firefighting, emergency medicine and hazardous materials and has previous experience as a trauma and flight nurse.
Rice received his paramedic certificate and undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds a graduate degree in public and private management from Birmingham-Southern College.
Brocato noted that Rice took over the Alabama Fire College at a time it was in the “depths of despair” and helped turn it around to the point that it has received positive international recognition.
“I think the citizens will be very happy to communicate with Allan Rice, as they were with Allen Pate,” Brocato said. Pate has big shoes to fill, but “Allan Rice shares the same love for our city as Allen Pate.”
Rice said he has mixed emotions about leaving his job at the Alabama Fire College. There are so many wonderful people who work there and work hard every day, he said. He was not looking to leave or applying for jobs, but this opportunity came up and seems like a great challenge for him, he said.
He looks forward to returning to work for the city where he began working 24 years ago, he said.
“It’s a homecoming, no doubt,” he said. “Hoover is my home … I could not envision leaving for any other municipality.”
Rice said he rented an apartment in Hoover 24 years ago on the same day that former Fire Chief Tom Bradley hired him. When he got married three years later, he and his wife, Kelly, settled in Hoover and have never left, he said. Their older son is a freshman at Auburn University, and their second son is a freshman at Hoover High.
Rice said while he knows Hoover and the people in it, there are aspects of the executive director job that will be new to him, and he finds that both challenging and exciting.
“Hoover has so many resources, primarily the people who live here,” he said. “A clear message has been sent by the voters in the city. Now it’s time for our professional staff to work to help implement the vision of the new elected officials.”
Rice said it’s the job of the elected officials to determine the mandate from the voters. His job will be to help implement a clear vision, provide enhanced communication and help develop plans to move Hoover forward over the next five, 10 and 20 years, he said.
“Hoover’s a changing city. There’s no doubt about that. It’s our place to manage that change responsibly.”
Rice initially will officially serve in a temporary position with the city of Hoover, created as an interim job until Pate officially retires. His pay in both positions will be $188,000 a year, Brocato said.
This article was updated at 1:57 p.m. with information from an interview with Rice.