Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire Chief Gary Mesaris will retire, effective January 20, 2018. Mesaris joined the Airports Authority as fire chief in 2007 after serving as chief for the Alexandria, Virginia, Fire Department and the City of Fairfax Fire Department. Mesaris began his career with the Fairfax County Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks to chief deputy fire chief, responsible for the day-to-day operations of Virginia’s largest fire and rescue department with 1,100 employees. A nationwide search for a successor has begun.
Airports Authority Vice President for Public Safety Bryan Norwood, who oversees the Airports Authority’s police, fire and emergency medical response functions, said, “We thank Chief Mesaris for his years of leadership and dedication to customer service, teamwork and emergency preparedness that benefits the traveling public. Our Fire and Rescue Department has also strengthened its role in the community through mutual aid partnerships under Chief Mesaris. We wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
While Mesaris served as chief, the Airports Authority purchased new Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting equipment, opened a state-of-the-art Public Safety Communications Center, constructed two new fire stations and added a mobile command bus to its fleet. Under his command, the 150-member department modernized its training methods and exercise scenarios to keep up with the evolving spectrum of risks and threats to public safety affecting airports and the community. The department also implemented a computerized staffing system to increase efficiency and reduce overtime costs.
Airports Authority Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Margaret McKeough added, “The Airports Authority thanks Chief Mesaris for his 10 years of service to Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and the Dulles Toll Road and his commitment to the safety of the traveling public.”
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road and also manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system through Fairfax County and into Loudoun County, Virginia. More than 45 million passengers a year pass through the two airports.