MARATHON CO. (WAOW) -
After a long interview process, Wausau has a new fire chief.
Tracey Kujawa will take that job starting next month. She's currently the fire chief in Stevens Point.
With this move, Kujawa will be leaving a department that's been her home for 22 years. But ultimately, she says this is too good a job to pass up.
Wausau mayor Jim Tipple says he's very excited about his new fire chief.
"She can walk the walk and talk the talk," he said. "She can jump in there with crews and she's very knowledgeable and I think there's a lot of respect when people can do that."
Kujawa has been running the Stevens Point Fire Department since 2011. She almost didn't apply for the Wausau job.
"When I first got the email about the opening, I actually deleted the email," she said.
She had planned on spending her whole career in Stevens Point, but she gave the position some more thought.
"I thought, 'Well that might be an opportunity,' so of course I applied for the position, never thinking that I would actually be appointed the chief," Kujawa said.
But now, she says she's confident she has what it takes to succeed. Going forward, she says she has one priority.
"It's relationships right now, and that's about all I have on my mind right now, to try to strengthen those and grow those," said Kujawa.
It's something her co-workers say she excelled at in Stevens Point.
"It's more than just big shoes [to fill]," said Lt. Jodi Baganz of the Stevens Point Fire Department. "It's the helmet, the shoes, the pants, the jacket, everything. I don't know if we can ever have somebody who can fill those pieces of equipment here."
If what he says is any indication, Kujawa should make a big impact in Wausau.