City officials met first of four candidates for Conway Fire Chief at an informal reception on Monday.

 Joe Gorman said that he liked what he saw of Conway on Monday, and that the city has "all the pieces set up for a lot of growth with eclectic shops and boutiques; it’s exciting."

Gorman toured fire department facilities also, and said that he’d take an analytical approach to bringing change to the department based on a study of the frequency and type of calls it gets.

"If you can look at the statistics and say, 'there's a 75-percent chance that the next call is going to be a medical, those are good odds.'" Based on this sort of analysis, he said, the department can be more narrowly tailored to better serve the community's needs while gaining in efficiently.

"Change is inevitable," he said. "What I see often is room for positive change, and also that people are afraid that in the change they’ll lose something that they hold dear."

He also said that he was impressed with the motivation and professionalism of the firefighters he met. 

Gorman has served as the head of fire departments in Ann Arbor and Cedar Rapids and, most recently, Texas City, Texas. He was also under contract with the U.S. 3rd Army to provide fire protection for U.S. assets in Iraq from 2001 to 2003. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fire protection and a master’s degree in adult education. 

The reception was held at the Conway Chamber of Commerce. Jerome Gaines, another out-of-town candidate, and local candidates Mark Jones and Mike Winter will have receptions later this month.