Fire Chief, Les Stephens
Les Stephens is a career fire service professional with more than 27 years of experience, currently serving as the Fire Chief for the San Marcos Fire Department.
He began his career in 1988 as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the River Oaks Volunteer Fire Department and joined the Garland Fire Department (GFD) in 1991. While with GFD, Stephens held the positions of Firefighter/Paramedic, Driver, Lieutenant, Captain, and Battalion Chief. He received an Associate Degree in Fire Protection from Tarrant County College and will graduate in 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences and Certified Public Manager credentials from Texas State University. Stephens is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer (EFO) program, and holds the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He received his EMT/Paramedic certification from Southwestern Medical School and currently serves as an Executive Board Member of the San Marcos/Hays County EMS, and an Advisory Board Member of Austin Community College's Fire Protection Technology Department. Stephens has served as an instructor for Collin College, Dallas Fire Department Recruit Academy, and Texas A&M Municipal Fire School. He is a published author and speaker for Fire Engineering Magazine and Firehouse.com. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Stephens is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Texas Fire Chiefs Association, and Hays County Fire Chiefs Association.
Assistant Fire Chief, Karl Kuhlman
Administration and Personnel
Karl Kuhlman has been a member of the San Marcos Fire Department since November 1994. He received his Firefighter Certification from College of the Mainland in Texas City. In 1999, Chief Kuhlman attended the Hays County Basic Peace Officer Course and has since served as a certified arson investigator for the Fire Marshal's Office.
Chief Kuhlman has served as a Firefighter, Engineer, Lieutenant, Battalion Chief and Division Chief. The second Assistant Fire Chief position was created in 2009 and Chief Kuhlman was appointed as the Assistant Chief over Operations and Training by Chief Les Stephens. In February of 2014 Chief Kuhlman changed roles, and became the new Assistant Chief over Administration and Personnel.
He received his BAAS degree from Texas State University - San Marcos, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He received his Associates degree in Fire Protection Technology from Austin Community College, graduating on the President's Honor Roll. He obtained his Certified Public Manager, (CPM) Certification from the William P. Hobby Center for Public Service. Chief Kuhlman was selected as a San Marcos Shining Star under age 40 by the community in 2011. In 2012, Chief Kuhlman graduated from the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy, thus earning the professional designation of Certified Fire Executive.
Assistant Fire Chief, Jim Matano
Operations and Training
Jim Matano has been a member of the San Marcos Fire Department since 1993. He received his Firefighter Certification from San Antonio College in 1992.
Chief Matano has served as a Firefighter, Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain and Battalion Chief. Chief Matano was appointed by Chief of the Department Les Stephens in April 2021.
Chief Matano served his country for 8 years in the USAF. During that time, he served as a Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Technician, Crash Recovery Technician, Search and Recovery team member as well as a special duty assignment as a Military Training Instructor. He is currently certified as an Advanced Structural Firefighter, as well as numerous other certifications such as Hazardous Materials, Technician, Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Fire Instructor, Fire Inspector, among others.
He has attended the Texas Fire Chief’s Association earning his professional designation of Certified Fire Executive as well as the professional designation of Fire Service Chief Executive Officer from Texas A&M Extension Service, Emergency Services Institute.