Donning the uniform of the Turlock Fire Department has been a regular routine for Tim Lohman for the past 35 years. Come Aug. 15, Turlock’s Fire Chief will put it on for one last time before his retirement from public safety takes effect and his new position in the agricultural sector begins.
Chief Lohman announced Wednesday that he will be stepping down from his position with the fire department and beginning a new career as the chief executive officer of the almond cooperative Northern Merced Hulling Association.
“I’m excited for this new start,” Lohman said. “I have been wanting to try something different and I’m looking forward to the new challenges this position will bring.”
The position with the hulling association may be a new one for Lohman, but the almond business is something he has been familiar with for awhile.
In 1989 Lohman purchased his grandparents almond farm in Ballico and has been growing and harvesting on the 28 acre parcel ever since.
“Almonds have always been a part of my life,” Lohman said.
Lohman has been at the helm of the Turlock Fire Department since 2011 and has been a member of the fire department since 1980 when he started work as a volunteer fire department.
“I was 18 and it was something that sounded like fun,” Lohman said. “Then, as they say, I was bit by the fire bug. The more I did and learned, the more I wanted to be a part of it. I could not have asked for a better career.”
He was hired as a full time Firefighter on December 1, 1983. During his career he has served as Fire Engineer, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, Division Chief of Training, and Division Chief of Operations. He served as the interim Fire Chief starting in 2010, until his permanent appointment in 2011.
"Chief Lohman has worked at all levels of the department, rising to the level of chief because of his professionalism, dedication, and integrity,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth. “He has earned the respect of his city leadership, his community and, most importantly, his firefighters. Chief Lohman's leadership has made Turlock safer and I congratulate him on a well-deserved retirement from the department."
During his time with the fire department Lohman has seen the implementation of the 911 system and other technological advances that have changed the landscape of emergency service response. During his tenure as chief, Lohman oversaw the addition of Mobile Data Computers to each fire engine, giving the crews the latest advances in mapping systems and programs designed to improve response times and personnel safety.
Lohman’s time as chief also came as the city dealt with dwindling finances during the Great Recession.
“The challenge then was to keep what we had,” Lohman said. “Now there is a foundation built for new things to come and a lot of opportunities to take and run with.”
And while Lohman is ready to begin a new chapter in his life, his departure from the fire department does come with some sentimentality.
“I’m going to miss the people here and the relationships I have with them,” Lohman said. “It’s a good family here. The opportunity to serve my hometown has been a real blessing.”
The City of Turlock has begun an active search to recruit the next Fire Chief.