City of Columbia Missouri City Manager's Office

P.O. BOX 6015 COLUMBIA, MO 65205


December 2, 2019

CONTACT: Sara Humm
Community Relations Specialist
City Manager's Office
City of Columbia

Public invited to meet Columbia Fire chief candidates Dec. 5

(COLUMBIA, MO) - The public is invited to a meet and greet with three finalists for the Columbia Fire chief position on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at REDI, 500 E. Walnut Suite 102. The three finalists are Maria Beermann-Foat, Christopher Riley and Andy Woody. Information about each candidate is listed below. Photos of the candidates are attached.

Maria Beermann-Foat, Ph.D.

Maria Beermann-Foat, Ph.D. has more than 20 years of prehospital emergency care experience in privately-owned, hospital-based and county government-based emergency services. Beermann-Foat has served the community of Johnson County, Kansas since 1999 and currently serves as a battalion chief of operations for MED-ACT- Emergency Medical Services. MED-ACT is a county-based EMS agency serving 597,555 residents across nine cities over a 476-square-mile area southwest of Kansas City. Since first joining the department as a paramedic, she moved up the ranks in the roles of community education officer/PIO, captain/field training officer, battalion chief of training and division chief of quality management. 

Beermann-Foat holds a Ph.D. in organization management from Capella University and a master's of business administration from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is currently completing coursework to obtain a city and county management certificate from the University of Kansas. She holds a Six Sigma Green Belt certification through Johnson County Community College. She is a member of the International City and County Management Association (ICMA), the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Kansas City Section. She has also held a position on the Diversity and Equity Committee for Johnson County Government since 2017.

Christopher P. Riley MS, CFO, FIFireE

Fire Chief Christopher P. Riley has 38 years of fire service experience, working his way through the ranks to fire chief in both Pueblo, Colorado and Colorado Springs, Colorado. He currently serves as a member of the Branch Council with the Institute of Fire Engineers, USA Branch. 

He earned both a master's and a bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach and holds an associate degree in fire science from Mt. San Antonio College, California. Riley attained Chief Fire Officer Designation status through the Center of Public Safety Excellence and is a Fellow Grade member of the Institute of Fire Engineering (IFE). He is a graduate of the University of Denver Public Safety Leadership program. Certifications during his career include: Chief Officer, Company Officer, Strike Team Leader, Division Group Supervisor, Fire Instructor, Fire Investigator, Fire Prevention Officer, and EMT-Instructor, and EMT-Paramedic.

Andy Woody

Andy Woody is the fire chief in the City of Searcy, Arkansas, an accredited, ISO class 1 department in the central part of the state. His career began in 1997 with the Springfield, Missouri Fire Department where he worked through the ranks to Assistant Fire Chief. During his career, he also served as an adjunct instructor with the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training institute instructing firefighters statewide.

Woody earned an associate degree in fire science, a bachelor's degree in business management and a master's degree in administration. He is credentialed through the Center for Public Safety Excellence as a Chief Fire Officer and a Chief Training Officer and has completed the Executive Fire Officer Program through the National Fire Academy. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, serves as a regional director of the Arkansas State Association of Fire Chiefs and as a peer reviewer for the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

City of Columbia Vision
Columbia is the best place for everyone to live, work, learn and play.

City of Columbia Mission
To serve the public through democratic, transparent and efficient government.