Chief & Staff Biographies
Aaron Lowe - Fire Chief
Fire Chief Lowe came to Aptos/La Selva in September of 2018, after 23 years of experience with Chico Fire-Rescue. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) focused in Fire Services Administration from University of Maryland University College. He served as the interim fire chief of Chico Fire-Rescue, and served on the U.S. Forest Service Incident Management Teams the last 13 years.
A 24-year veteran of the fire service, Chief Lowe has worked in all operational ranks, from firefighter up to Interim Fire Chief for the City of Chico, California. He has also served as a member of U. S. Forest Service’s Incident Management Teams for the past 13 years. Chief Lowe has had extensive experience managing multiple divisions within the fire service, including Operations, Training, Community Risk Reduction, and the City of Chico’s Emergency Management/Disaster Preparedness program.
With an Associate Degree in Fire Service Technology and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Administration, Chief Lowe comes well prepared to lead the District into the future. His experience serving as an active member in State and National emergency management associations as well as involvement with several community non-profit organizations makes him very well suited to serve and protect the citizens and visitors of the Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District.
Scott Cullen - Division Chief Operations
Division Chief Cullen began his career with the District in June of 1989. He began as a Firefighter, then Captain, before his promotion to Division Chief. He has overseen such projects as Apparatus purchasing, mobile communications upgrades and other operational needs. His current oversight is Operations for both Aptos/La Selva and Central FPD, as part of our Shared Services agreement.
Scott Vahradian - EMS Chief EMSIA
EMS Chief Scott Vahradian has worked in the EMS field since 1986, and as worked wtih EMSIA for 14 years. Through the EMSIA, he works with multiple fire agencies (including Aptos/La Selva and Central FPD's). His oversight includes the EMSIA’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Quality Assurance and Training Programs for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and paramedic personnel; EMSIA’s Continuous Quality Improvement Program; continuing education development and training for EMT and paramedic personnel; and monitoring and evaluating field activities of EMT and paramedic personnel.
EMS Chief Vahradian has a BA degree from UCSC, teaching credentials from San Jose State University, and is licensed as both a Paramedic and Physicians Assistant. He also currently works as a Physicians Assistant with Stanford Medical.
John Walbridge - Division Chief Logistics
Division Chief Walbridge has been in the professional fire service since 1990 when he worked with Cal Fire. In 1991 he began his career with the Central Fire Protection District. His current responsibilities include Emergency Medical Services, Designated Infection Control Officer, Safety Officer, Emergency Response Coordinator, Facilities and Inventory. Battalion Chief Walbridge’s past duties have included Operations Chief, Apparatus/Equipment, and the Central Fire Investigation Team. His past assignments have included: Paid Call Firefighter, Firefighter/Engineer/Paramedic, and Captain Paramedic. Battalion Chief Walbridge is one of the first three Firefighter/Engineer/Paramedics employed by the Central Fire Protection District. Battalion Chief Walbridge holds an Associate Degree in Fire Protection Technology from Cabrillo College and a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry from UCSC. He is also a California State Certified Fire Investigator I, Fire Officer and Chief Officer.
Anthony Cefaloni - Battalion Chief C Shift
Battalion Chief Cefaloni is a shift Battalion Chief and oversees support services. He has held the positions of Firefighter Paramedic and Captain. Chief Cefaloni has managed the radios and communications systems for Central Fire Protection District since 2000. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Management and an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection Technology. He is a state certified Fire Officer and state certified Chief Officer. Chief Cefaloni started in the fire service in 1986 with the Santa Cruz County Fire Department and has worked for Cal Fire and Pacific Grove Fire Department prior to joining Central Fire Protection District. He has also served as a paramedic and ski patrol. He still has strong memories of responding to emergencies the night of and weeks after the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Jason Nee - Battalion Chief B Shift
Battalion Chief Jason Nee has been with Central Fire Protection District since 1999. He previously served the City of Watsonville as a firefighter. During his time at Central Fire, Battalion Chief Nee has held the positions of Paid-Call Firefighter, Firefighter/Paramedic and Captain. His formal education includes an Associate Degree in Fire Protection Technology from Cabrillo College and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. He is also a California State Certified Fire Officer and Chief Officer.
Chad Akin - Battalion Chief Training
Battalion Chief Chad Akin has been with the Central Fire Protection District since 1991. He previously served as a Captain with the Central Fire Protection District. His primary oversight includes Training for both Aptos/La Selva and Central Fire Protection Districts.
Mike DeMars - Fire Marshal
Fire Marshal DeMars began his career in the fire service in 1988 as a Paid-Call Firefighter with Central Fire Protection District. Since then he has been employed as a full time Firefighter first with the Lockheed Fire Department in Sunnyvale, California and then with Central Fire Protection District. In 2000 he transferred into the Fire Prevention Division at Central Fire Protection District as a Fire Inspector. He was promoted to the position of Fire Marshal in 2016. As the Fire Marshal, Mike is responsible for managing the Fire Prevention Division. This includes supervising fire inspections of new and existing buildings, investigation of fire causes, review of construction plans, and public fire safety education. He is a state certified Fire Prevention Officer, Public Education Officer, Fire Investigator and serves the District as its Public Information Officer. Mike is a member of the Northern California Fire Prevention Officers Association and serves on the Public Education Committee. He has an AS degree in Fire Technology. Prior to his career in the fire service, Chief DeMars served for eight years in the U.S. Coast Guard. During his Coast Guard service, he was trained as a shipboard firefighting instructor.
Nancy Dannhauser - Finance Director
Nancy Dannhauser has been with the Central Fire Protection District since June 2015. Prior to joining the District she worked in the private sector where she held various roles as Senior Finance Analyst, Portfolio Manager and Finance Manager. As a finance professional with 10 + years of experience in financial planning, analysis, budgeting and reporting, she possesses a Masters in Finance as well as a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. She currently oversees the District’s Finance Division which is responsible for general accounting services, budget development, annual audit and financial planning. She is also responsible for the District’s Computer Network Administration, involving system upgrades, enhancements and implementation of new technology. She is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO). She also currently serves as a budget reviewer for the GFOA budget awards program.
Gena Finch - Human Resources Director
Joining Central Fire in December 2015, Gena came to us from the County of Santa Cruz where she specialized in Human Resources for over 18 years. She oversees the Administrative Services Division which is responsible for the recruitment and hiring of new staff, payroll, employee benefits and risk management. In addition, Gena handles all Public Records Act requests, vendor contracts, and Board agendas. She is a member of the Administrative Fire Services Section of the California Fire Chiefs Association (AFSS) and the Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA). Gena has been a volunteer with the Santa Cruz County Search and Rescue team for three years.