NMSU Names New Fire Chief

Nov 29, 2012

New Mexico State University has selected Mario Acosta to lead its fire department as chief. He will officially join the NMSU team Monday, Dec. 3.

"I feel like we're coming home," Acosta said. "We left New Mexico about five years ago and now we're coming full circle."

Acosta worked in Farmington, N.M. for more than 20 years, and has family there. One of his daughters is a graduate of NMSU and his wife, Carrie, is also an Aggie.

"My wife has been attending NMSU online and is now a junior studying human resources management," he said. "She will be able to finish her bachelor's degree here."

Acosta has more than 25 years of experience with public agencies that includes extensive experience in emergency response operations and experience leading and managing divisions responsible for emergency medical services, safety and risk management, emergency management and communication centers.

He was most recently employed as the deputy fire chief of the Woodinville Fire and Rescue District in Washington, and prior to that served as the Suppression Battalion chief for the Drexel Heights Fire District in Arizona. He served as the Operations Battalion chief for the Farmington, N.M. Fire Department, serving in various capacities at the organization since beginning as a firefighter there in 1986. He holds a master's in public management from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor's in arts/business from Eastern New Mexico University.

Though he has never worked in a university setting before, Acosta is excited to be able to work with the other divisions on campus, and especially with the student firefighters he will oversee.

"Not many universities across the nation have fire programs like NMSU does," he said. "We get to help train and develop our student firefighters while they are pursuing their degrees. And, we get to teach them that this business is all about service."

Acosta says that he is looking forward to moving to the Las Cruces community and working in a well-respected, professional organization, all while having family nearby.