The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has hired Paul “Otto” Feather as interim Director of Emergency Services. Feather recently worked for U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan as State Director and most recently as flight operations director for Alaska Missionary Aviation. He returns to the Borough after a deputy director of fire post he held here in 2013-2014.
Feather is a retired Air Force Colonel with experience in combat command and crisis management. As a command pilot he flew 241 combat sorties while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. In March 2011, as the Wing Commander of Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Feather directed the U.S. hub for Japanese relief efforts after the earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear disaster.
Feather holds a Masters in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University. He also has an MA in Human Resources from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. and a BS in electrical engineering from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
“I’m very pleased Otto agreed to quickly fill the interim,” said Borough Manager John Moosey. “Our emergency call volumes continue to rise. We’re building two public safety building projects. We’re migrating 911 dispatch from Palmer to Wasilla. The work is too important to leave idle while we conduct the interview process. His leadership is a nice fit,” Moosey said.
Borough emergency services runs the second largest fire department in the State, Central Mat-Su Fire. Some 450 responders serve the Borough with most of them working on-call. There are eight fire service areas spanning more than 600 square miles and EMS, Rescue, Water Rescue, and HazMat teams.
Feather started work today, Jan. 31. “I’m happy to accept the opportunity to serve once again with the incredible men and women of the Department of Emergency Services. Their commitment to selflessly serving our community and the professional approach they take in accomplishing their duty is inspiring,” Feather wrote.
“I’m committed to working hard every day to provide the organizational structure, training and resources our responders need to provide the first class service and standard of support our community expects,” Feather wrote.
“Bill Gamble has given our Borough decades of tireless leadership in support of his responders and the community. His standard of professionalism and dedication have inspired all who follow him. I’m proud to call him friend, and pleased to know he won’t be far away if I need his counsel,” wrote Feather.
After 27 years of service as a responder for the Borough, Director Bill Gamble is resigning to pursue entrepreneurial work with his daughter. His last day is Friday.
The Borough will continue its candidate search with a formal interview process.