Fridley has named Maddison Zikmund its new fire chief and deputy director of public safety.
Zikmund had been assistant chief at the neighboring Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department. He is taking over for Fridley Fire Marshal James Lange, who served as acting chief after Fridley Fire Chief Mike Spencer died unexpectedly at age 53 on Sept. 13, 2020. Spencer became fire chief in June 2019 and had a total of 14 years with the Fridley Fire Department.
“It is difficult for anyone to follow a Leader whom we laid to rest too early,” Zikmund said in an email. “I recall having a meeting with Mike just weeks before his passing and sharing his infectious laugh and discussing a project for Fridley Fire Department. As it would turn out, that’s the last time I spoke with Chief Spencer. It will be a memory that reminds me each day I step into the office the shoes I am to fill. I credit the men and women of Fridley Public Safety who had to grieve such a loss and did so with grace and dignity. Attending Mike’s funeral will be another memory that will never fade but reminds us what he helped to build at Fridley both as Chief and the many years before.”
Before coming to Fridley, Zikmund spent eight years with the SBM Fire Department, where he served as assistant fire chief, public information officer and human resources director and responded to emergency incidents as chief fire officer. Zikmund has a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Bethel University and is pursuing an MBA.
Zikmund serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Dakota Region of the American Red Cross, is chair of the Minnesota Fire Exploring Association, is chair of Spring Lake Park High School’s Opportunities in Emergency Care (OEC) program and is active in Boy Scouts of America. In 2019 Zikmund received the Spurgeon Award, which honored his outstanding service to the Boy Scouts organization.
“Deputy Director/Fire Chief Zikmund is an outstanding leader in fire service and I’m excited for him to get started with our fire division,” Fridley Director of Public Safety Brian Weierke said in a statement. “He has great vision and will provide great leadership within our Public Safety Department.”
Zikmund started his role as Fridley fire chief Monday, Jan. 4.
“Fridley is a great combination of strong history and yet an up-and-coming staff,” he said in an email. “The new facility is state-of-the-art and the staff both within the fire department and throughout other city departments have been great to work and interact with thus far.”
Zikmund added he’s also “excited about the opportunity to work in all-hazards environments like the Mississippi River, BNSF Railway, and large industrial complexes, in addition to the diverse commercial and residential communities.”
Zikmund said during his time with the SBM Fire Department he worked closely with the last three Fridley fire chiefs, which has helped prepare him for this role.
He said he does not wish to change much with the department but continue and enhance what previous chiefs have built up.
“It was clear throughout the hiring process and my previous involvement with Fridley that the department is in a good place,” he said in an email. “A clear focus on the combination model (using paid-on-call firefighter) moving into the future as well as a focus on commercial fire inspections will be two initiatives I intend to uphold. I also hope to bring a more ‘community risk reduction’ focus to Fridley. That is fire prevention, education, and involvement programs beyond emergency response and fire inspections. This ties hand in hand with our public safety motto of being a fabric of the community.”
Zikmund lives in Blaine with his wife Dani and two sons. Both his parents are actively involved in the Minnesota Fire Service, and his father, Nyle Zikmund, is a former SBM fire chief.