MFD names new lieutenant

With the retirement of 19-year veteran Lt. Wayne Sawtelle, the Marshalltown Fire Department has promoted a firefighter that has worked under him for more than six years.

Erik Nielsen will step into the role of lieutenant Friday – the day after the MFD is set to hold a goodbye party for Sawtelle.

Nielsen has served as acting lieutenant and as lieutenant inspector as well as acting as a shift floater, said Marshalltown Fire Chief Steve Edwards. Essentially, he said, only his title will change.

Nielsen was awarded the promotion over three other firefighters. But first he had to qualify for the promotional list by demonstrating his leadership skills to various panels. Candidates must have served for at least five years and be approved by the Civil Service Commission.

Edwards interviewed Nielsen and another firefighter who was eligible following testing. He said he takes into account their education, background, experience, annual evaluations and overall preparedness for the position.

“He has a calm demeanor,” Edwards said of Nielsen. “He gets along with people.”

Nielsen has been with the MFD since June 2006.