Rocky Mount City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney has selected Corey Mercer to fill the vacancy of fire chief and Chris Beschler to serve as interim Energy Resources director.
Mercer, who has worked in the fire industry since 1994, will leave his most recent post as Elizabeth City’s fire chief.
Starting March 2018, the Wilson, N.C. native provided oversight of the fire department and expanded public protection in Elizabeth City while sitting at the helm.
Mercer will return to the city of Rocky Mount where he started January 1994 as a firefighter. The army veteran moved up the ranks, also serving as a fire engineer, fire captain and battalion chief before acquiring the role of fire chief in Elizabeth City.
Mercer is a graduate of Wilson Community College where he received an associate degree in fire protection technology. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Mount Olive College and a Master of Science in administration from Central Michigan University.
A graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program, Mercer is also a member of several other organizations, including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, North Carolina Fire Chief’s Association, North Carolina Accreditation Support Consortium, Center for Public Safety Excellence where he serves as a Level 1 peer assessor and North Carolina State Fireman’s Association.
“Corey Mercer’s 25 year of service in the fire industry and knowledge gained while serving as fire chief in Elizabeth City will be an asset to the city of Rocky Mount,” said City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney. “Corey’s previous work with the Rocky Mount Fire Department, including his experience in the accreditation process, will also be a tremendous benefit to the city.”
Mercer will start work with the city of Rocky Mount within the next 30 days.
Assistant City Manager Chris Beschler has been selected to fill the role of interim Energy Resources director. The department is responsible for electric and natural gas service, load management, energy audits, area lights and tree trimming.
A majority of Beschler’s previous experience is in the area of utilities and construction. Prior to being appointed deputy chief administrative officer of Operations at the city of Richmond, Beschler started work there in 2006 as director of Public Utilities. Additionally, for 26 years, prior to joining the city of Richmond, Beschler worked at Yankee Gas Services Company, Connecticut’s largest natural gas utility. He started his career with the company as a staff engineer, ultimately transitioning to the position of vice president of Operations.
In addition to oversight of utility operations and maintenance, Beschler was responsible for the day-to-day operations of all city operating departments. He assumed responsibility for the construction of many multi-million-dollar utility and building projects, most notably the construction of a $132 million urban jail in Richmond.
Beschler received a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, both from the University of Connecticut.
“Chris Beschler has done a great job as one of the city’s assistant city managers,” said Small-Toney. “His varied experience in utilities will be beneficial to the city of Rocky Mount during this transition phase.”
Beschler started as interim Energy Resources director July 1, 2019.