Ferndale Names New Fire Chief

January 25, 2021

Ferndale City Council last night unanimously approved the hire of Teresa Robinson as the City’s new Fire Chief. Robinson replaces Chief Jack Pesha, who retired last November after twenty years of service to the Ferndale Fire Department.  

Robinson, a 24-year veteran of the Lansing Fire Department, has served in a variety of fire service roles, including Firefighter, Paramedic, Fire Instructor, Training Chief, and most recently as Assistant Fire Chief. She was the first female Training Chief and Assistant Fire Chief in the Lansing Fire Department’s history.

The Confirmation comes after a rigorous national recruitment effort—typical of executive leadership positions within the City. After interviewing top candidates identified in the national search, a multijurisdictional recruitment panel unanimously agreed that Robinson was the best individual to assume the Department’s top leadership position.

“Our recruitment process was competitive, yielding a great response and a number of talented candidates,” said Ferndale City Manager Joseph Gacioch. “We’re incredibly lucky to gain a new leader with Teresa’s experience, perspective, and knowledge, and I can’t wait to see the Department’s goals and initiatives come to fruition.”

In addition to her two-plus decades of operations and leadership experience, Robinson brings advanced education and fire service roles, including:

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program instruction and coordination;
  • Community CPR training;
  • FEMA disaster response training;
  • Development of a Michigan State University Emergency Response Team program;
  • Service on the Ingham County Opioid Task Force;
  • American Heart Association instruction across multiple disciplines; and
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Development, Master’s Degree in Leadership, and Doctorate degree in Human Services with a specialization in Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention.  

Robinson says the thing she’s most looking forward to is the chance to work with the community.

“Coming from a large department to a smaller one, I’m excited for the opportunity to be more hands-on and integrated in the community,” Robinson said. “I’m looking forward to working with the talented men and women of the Ferndale Fire Department and building relationships and connections with Ferndale’s awesome community.”  

In his introduction of Robinson to City Council, Gacioch also took the opportunity to praise the Fire Department on handling the transition between Chiefs without missing a step.

“I’m grateful to Acting Chief Dennis Barr and the Ferndale Fire team for managing things so expertly while we took the time to find the right candidate for this position,” Gacioch said. “They are a credit to the team and the profession.”


Kara Sokol

Communications Director