A Maryland firefighter with leadership experience and 25 years on the job will join the city of Goldsboro as its next fire chief on July 2.

Joseph Dixon, assistant fire chief of the Howard County Maryland Department of Fire and Rescue Services, has been named fire chief of the Goldsboro Fire Department and will oversee a force of nearly 80 firefighters.

"Joe has over 25 years of fire-service training and experience," said Scott Stevens, city manager. "He has made a lasting impression on those that work with him and has done a great job preparing himself for this position as fire chief with the city of Goldsboro.

"I feel fortunate to have someone with his background, enthusiasm and work ethic to lead our fire department."

Dixon will succeed former fire chief Gary Whaley, who retired Dec. 1. James Farfour has served as interim fire chief during the city's nationwide search.

The city received 89 applications for the post from several states, including Maryland, Texas, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina.

More than half of the applicants are from North Carolina, including one from within the Goldsboro Fire Department, Stevens said.

The applicant pool was shortlisted to a dozen candidates and seven were invited for an interview. Out of the seven, four decided to participate in the city's interview and assessment process, which included a structured interview, an exercise, presentation and interview with the manager.

"He was my best candidate by far," Stevens said.

Dixon grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and started his career as a firefighter with the Howard County Maryland Department of Fire and Rescue Services in 1993. During his career, he has continued to move up through the ranks, being promoted to master firefighter in 1996, truck lieutenant in 1997 and station captain in 1999.

In 2006, he was promoted to captain and became a battalion chief in 2010. He assumed the role of assistant fire chief in 2012.

In his post, as operations chief, he has had oversight of a $70 million budget and has led nearly 400 personnel in the department.

Dixon has also worked as an emergency services instructor, since 1997, and public information officer, since 2011.

Dixon is an adjunct University of Maryland instructor in hazmat, rescue, EMS and management. He received a bachelor's degree in fire service from the University of Maryland University College and master's degree in organizational leadership from Waldorf College.

He has completed numerous specialized fire-related programs, has captured an array of awards and is active in several fire-related associations.

"I look forward to this next chapter in my life with great anticipation," Dixon said. "I am proud to become a part of the Goldsboro leadership team and will work hard to gain your trust and exceed expectations."

Dixon, 51, will earn a salary of $95,000.

Stevens expects Dixon to visit Goldsboro to meet area officials and others prior to his start date in July.