Conyn is new Spencer FD chief

Webster City Fire Chief John Conyn has accepted a job with the Spencer Fire Department as the head of the fire department.

The Spencer City Council approved his hiring in a Tuesday special meeting. Conyn will replace current Spencer Fire Department Chief Doug Duncan. His last day in Webster City will be July 27 and he will begin his duties in Spencer is July 29. Conyn decided to take the position in Spencer for growth opportunities.

“I chose Spencer because of the opportunity for growth after strong deliberation,” said Conyn. “It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Conyn hopes to take the training and education he used in Webster City and apply it to enhancing the Spencer Fire Department.

“I will need to learn the target hazards, the men on the department, strengths and weaknesses at the station, and how to employ tactics in a new community,” said Conyn.

According to Conyn, his duties in Spencer will be more EMS-focused.

“I want to spread my wings out and diversify,” said Conyn.

Conyn also thanked the community, city workers, and the men on the Webster City Fire Department.

“I was very lucky with the staff and people in Webster City,” said Conyn. “They are very knowledgeable and open for change.”

“I could not praise Webster City enough,” said Conyn. “The lessons I have learned here will help me in my future. It’s bittersweet.”

“Bottom line, I have to thank the men,” Conyn said. “They’re the true heroes.”

He also offered thanks to Mayor John Hawkins and Kent Harfst, acting city manager.

Conyn also hopes the next candidate will receive as much support from the community as he was afforded in his two years in Webster City.

“I wish the next person well,” Conyn said.

Hawkins said that Conyn was a good fit for Webster City.

“I think he has been a lovely addition to Webster City,” said Hawkins. “He has been a mover and a shaker for the town. It’s a shame we’re losing him to Spencer. He’ll be sadly missed.”

“This is a good opportunity for John,” said Webster City Assistant Manager Kent Harfst. “We wish him all the best in Spencer. Spencer is a nice community.”

Harfst noted Conyn’s push for all Webster City firefighters to succeed and do their best.

“He had a lot of high energy,” said Harfst. “Training is the big thing he pushed for. It was constant training and improvement for both full-time and part-time firefighters.”

Conyn began his career with the Great Lakes Fire Department in North Chicago, Illinois. During his career he has served in several training and instructing roles both inside the EMS and for Gateway Technical College on campuses in both Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Conyn has been Webster City’s fire chief since 2014. In 2015, he became a spokesperson and trainer for the Iowa Pipeline Association.

According to Hawkins, a possible plan of action pending council approval, is that the city will advertise in publications that reach fire departments across the Midwest and United States in the search for a new fire chief.

“It will be up to the council,” said Hawkins.

Four other candidates were finalists for the Spencer position: Jay Bohan, current building safety instructor for the city of Rochester, Minnesota; Blake Deiber, Denison Assistant Fire Chief; Chuck Stansfield, Derby Fire Department Fire Lieutenant in Derby, Kansas; and Mark Stover, wildland firefighter type 2 for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Milford. Stover also previously served on the Spencer Fire Department from 2001-2008 at which point he was promoted to deputy fire chief.