The Hawkins Company Assists City of Santa Monica in Finding New Fire Chief

February 26, 2024 – The Hawkins Company, a Los Angeles-based executive recruitment firm, has assisted in the recruitment of Matthew Hallock as the next fire chief for the City of Santa Monica, CA. He replaces interim fire chief Wolfgang Knabe, who has held the acting role since September 2023. Mr. Hallock comes to Santa Monica from the city of Monterey Park, where he has served as fire chief since 2020. He brings 24 years of experience in public safety and emergency response, having begun his fire service career as a reserve firefighter in 1994, then returning as a firefighter in 2002 and rising through the ranks. Mr. Hallock also has experience working in the private sector, spending four years as an emergency preparedness planner at Southern California Edison.

As chief in Monterey Park, he notably led his department and the community through the pandemic, as well as the tragic shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

“Chief Hallock showed outstanding leadership and compassion during his tenure in Monterey Park, shepherding the fire department and the entire community through two major crises,” said David White, city manager. “And with his vast experience in emergency preparedness and response, I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to our city leadership team.”

As fire chief, Mr. Hallock will be charged with directing, planning, and managing the activities and staff. They will be expected to plan and coordinate emergency operations to ensure the prevention of death, injury, property loss, and environmental damage. The fire chief also formulates the department’s organizational design, mission, goals, rules, policies, and procedures. Assessing the adequacy of fees, codes, and ordinances and following up appropriately to implement necessary changes are key responsibilities of the role for Mr. Hallock.

“Santa Monica is known for its commitment to community safety, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the exceptional Fire Department team,” Mr. Hallock said. “I look forward to building upon the department’s strong foundation and working collaboratively with our community to ensure the highest level of emergency services.”

The Santa Monica Fire Department has served its community since 1889. The department responds to over 16,000 calls for service each year. Anchored by five fire stations across the city, SMFD provides full-time fire and paramedic services, fire prevention, urban search and rescue, hazardous material response, and airport firefighting capabilities. The department also has its own accredited fire academy.

Related: How Executive Search Boosts Venture Capital Funds

“The Santa Monica Fire Department is known for their dedicated staff, being at the forefront of public safety technology, and being the first to share resources,” said The Hawkins Company. “Although SMFD has long maintained many of its traditions, the department also thinks beyond the traditional roles of fire suppression and emergency medical services and has emerged as an industry leader in providing creative community risks reduction public safety services.”

Respected Recruiters

Established in 1984, The Hawkins Company is a management consulting firm specializing in executive recruitment. While recognized for its expertise in diversity recruiting, the firm is a general practitioner that focuses on achieving the executive level staffing objectives of private, public, educational and non-profit clients. Early on, The Hawkins Company focused exclusively on private sector recruiting. Over time, it was requested to conduct searches for government agencies and became nationally recognized for its ability to apply private sector search strategies to meet the recruitment needs of public sector clients. Today, its client base includes educational institutions and non-profit organizations. The firm has conducted over 700 national, regional, and local executive searches for CEOs, COOs, CAOs, CFOs, and other officers, directors, senior managers and professional staff.

The Hawkins Company Assists Los Angeles Urban League with CEO Search
The Hawkins Company has assisted in the recruitment of Cynthia Mitchell Heard as its new president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL). Michael A. Lawson recently announced he is retiring as CEO. Yonnine Hawkins Garr, Todd Hawkins, and Adrienne Montgomery led the assignment. Ms. Heard will become the first woman to assume this leadership role since Katherine Barr, the LAUL’s president in the late 1920s until 1931. “I am thrilled that the Los Angeles Urban League has selected Cynthia Heard as the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League,” said Mr. Lawson. “I know that the Los Angeles Urban League will grow and thrive under her leadership and her vision. It has been an honor to serve our community under the vision of John Mack. I know that Cynthia will continue the legacy of John Mack and the Los Angeles Urban League presidents and CEOs on whose shoulders we stand. Congratulations!”

In another recent assignment, The Hawkins Company placed Veronica Garcia as chief human resources officer for the non-profit Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) in Los Angeles. Ms. Garcia was previously vice president of HR and talent management for the Skid Row Housing Trust. Yonnine Hawkins Garr, vice president, and Tisa Jones, managing consultant and director of candidate engagement and assessment, led the assignment.

In her role with CRCD, Ms. Garcia oversees all human resource and compliance functions; develops people, culture, and workplace strategies; leads change initiatives that enhance staff performance; facilitates organizational effectiveness. She also provide leadership and guidance for diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of the executive management team, Ms. Garcia collaborates with the executive leadership team to maintain positive working relationships with the board of directors, its committees, and all CRCD staff.

Related: The Hawkins Company Recruits Chief Race & Equity Officer for the City of San Diego 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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