Fire Chief Russell Knick
Gwinnett County Fire Chief Russell Knick began his successful career with Gwinnett County in 1990 in the Sheriff’s Office before transferring to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in 1993. Russell’s 24 years of experience in fire and emergency medical services include high-profile assignments in the areas of strategic planning, leadership development, training, accreditation, and community partnering initiatives.
Committed to the well-being of the department’s 952 employees and their families, Russell is a strong advocate for employee safety and engagement. He also thrives on challenges that embrace innovative best practices and is a respected leader for his well-rounded management experience and passion for community-focused customer care.
Russell holds a BS and a Master of Public Administration from Jacksonville State University and a career excellence designation as a Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is a member of the 2018 class of Leadership Gwinnett.
Russell, a Lawrenceville native, lives in Commerce with his wife, Patti. They have two grown children.
Operations Division Director:
Assistant Chief Frederick Cephas
Frederick Cephas began his firefighting career in 1996 as a member of the United States Air Force, where he was trained as a DOD Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter (ARFF). He joined the department in 2001 and has since earned numerous certifications as a polygrapher, Certified Ambulance Privacy Officer, and paramedic, where he is able to serve in various capacities.Chief Cephas oversees the Operations division, the department’s largest division, consisting of more than 800 sworn personnel in 31 fire stations located across the county as well as the department’s Fire Academy. Previously, Chief Cephas managed the department’s Strategic Planning Section and served as the agency’s privacy officer and accreditation manager. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in business administration and MBA from Shorter University.
Business Services Division Director:
Assistant Chief Brian Wolfe
Brian Wolfe began his firefighting career in 1996 as a volunteer in the City of Roswell. He joined Gwinnett in 1998 as a paramedic and worked his way through the ranks to the Assistant Chief of Business Services in 2018. Brian manages a $116 million budget, provides leadership to more than 30 employees, and oversees all fire facilities, apparatus, EMS billing, and resource management. Chief Wolfe earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Richmond and holds a Masters in Safety, Security and Emergency Management with a dual concentration in Fire and Emergency Services Administration and Emergency Management from Eastern Kentucky University.
Community Risk Reduction Division Director/Fire Marshal:
Assistant Chief Stephen Hrustich
In 1984, Stephen started his career in New York State where he served at every level within the organizational structure, progressing through the ranks to serve as fire chief his last 7 years. He is an experienced course developer and instructor for the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. In 2012, Stephen joined the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services as Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Division.
Stephen earned an AS in Fire Science and a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from Binghamton University and also holds a MS in Executive Fire Leadership and Emergency Management from Grand Canyon University. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy and holds both the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Fire Marshal (FM) designations from the Center of Public Safety Excellence.
Employee Support and Initiatives Division Director:
Assistant Chief Jere Jordan
Jere Jordan joined Fire and Emergency Services in 1996. Beginning in the education section, Jere’s background in public education, marketing, and business management quickly benefitted the department’s development. She now serves as director of the Employee Support and Initiatives Division with 21 years of service. Jere has a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in business administration.