Walker County will have a new fire chief and emergency management director starting on Monday. Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield named Blake Hodge for the position on Sunday.

Hodge will replace David Ashburn who currently holds the position.

Hodge has been the fire chief and emergency management director of the Garden City Fire Department in Savannah, Georgia for the last two years. He started his career off as a volunteer firefighter in 1992.

At one time, he was the division chief of training for the Gordon County Fire Department in Calhoun, Georgia.

“The appointment of Blake Hodge as our Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director will bring a new level of professionalism, experience and understanding into Walker County Government”, Commissioner Whitfield said in a news release.

Whitfield said Hodge was previously a top 4 finalist for another fire chief position in Catoosa County.

“I would like to thank Commissioner Whitfield for the opportunity to be a part of the Walker County team. Walker County’s commitment to excellence, coupled with Commissioner Whitfield’s vision to improve services for the citizens is the foundation for which I accepted this position,” Chief Hodge said in the news release.

One of Hodge's goals is to expand fire protection services on the north end of the county. He hopes to provide 24-hour coverage by staffing a full time station to improve response times in the area.