VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – After a nationwide search to find Virginia Beach’s next fire chief, the city found its man in-house.

Kenneth Pravetz, who has served in Virginia Beach for 23 years and has 35 years of career fire experience, has been named the city’s new fire chief. Pravetz is currently the deputy chief of services, responsible for personnel, finance, training, logistics, planning and community risk reduction. He will begin his new role Jan. 1.

“Pravetz has the proven leadership and communication skills needed to be successful across our organization, in collaboration with our community partners and through a wide range of public safety emergencies,” City Manager Patrick Duhaney said in a statement. “His decades of diversified management experience will help Virginia Beach continue to be a national leader in public safety for many more years to come.”

Pravetz, as a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search & Rescue Virginia Task Force 2, based out of Virginia Beach, has deployed to several national disasters as a planning team member and task force leader.

“It is an honor and to be selected to serve the city of Virginia Beach and lead this world class fire department,” Pravetz said. “The VBFD has a rich history. This department supplies exceptional fire, medical, and emergency services. I am truly proud to be part of this organization. The staff is mission focused and driven by our core values of service, caring, integrity, trust, and honesty. I look forward to the transition into the new role as fire chief.”

Pravetz, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has an associate degree in fire science, a bachelor’s degree in health and safety and a master of public administration degree. In 2019, Pravetz finished a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

He also has a certificate from the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is close to finishing at the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire Service Executive Development Institute.

Pravetz is active in the fire service, serving on three NFPA technical committees and the IAFC Terrorism and Homeland Security Committee. He also represents the IAFC on the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council Executive Committee..