The city of Mesa announced today that Interim Chief Mary Cameli has been selected as the new Fire and Medical Department chief. Cameli, a former assistant chief, has been with the Fire and Medical Department for 33 years. She is the first woman fire chief in Mesa and was among the first two female firefighters hired by the city.
Cameli was appointed interim fire chief Oct. 4 to replace Chief Harry Beck who retired. Prior to the appointment, she was an assistant fire chief overseeing the Emergency Medical Services Division, Planning and Research Division, Personnel and Wellness and the CMS Healthcare Innovation Grant.
“Mary has shown tremendous leadership ability, not only in her short time as interim chief, but in numerous assignments with the Fire and Medical Department,” City Manager Chris Brady said. “She has well established relationships with the rank and file members, other city departments and community groups and is dedicated to our mission to serve the community.”
During Cameli’s time as assistant Mesa Fire chief, the department became one of the first in the country to rename itself the Fire and Medical Department to better reflect the overall mission. The department has received several health care innovation awards. In addition, five new fire stations have been built since 2009 with voter-approved bond money.
“I am extremely honored to have been selected as chief and I am very grateful to those who have given me this opportunity,” Chief Mary Cameli said. “It is a privilege to be chosen to lead the exceptional men and women of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department. Our department has received national recognition for its innovation and we intend to continue exploring new ideas for programs to better serve our community in the future.”
Cameli received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and physical education from Southern Utah University. She holds a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.
Firefighting runs in the Cameli family. Her husband, Mike Cameli, is a retired firefighter from the Tempe Fire Department. Her brother, Gil Damiani, is a retired Mesa assistant fire chief.
The Mesa Fire and Medical Department has more than 510 employees, a budget of $80.8 million and is recognized nationally for its innovation.