William "Willie" L. McDonald

Alameda County Fire Chief

Chief's Bio

Willie McDonald is a native of Fresno, California. He possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from California State University, Fresno, and earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University, East Bay.  Willie graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officers’ Program, completed Harvard University’s fellowship for State and Local Government Officials, and earned Arizona State University’s Certified Public Manager Certificate.

In 1978, Willie began his fire career in Fresno as a Firefighter Trainee, promoting through the ranks to Firefighter-Paramedic, Engineer-Paramedic, Captain-Paramedic and Deputy Fire Chief, serving until February 1993. As a Deputy Chief, Willie oversaw In-service and Recruit Training, Emergency Medical Services, Fleet (including Maintenance, Repair and Purchasing), Hazardous Materials Response, Disaster Management and Fire Communications.

In 1993, Willie was appointed and accepted his first Fire Chief role in Foster City, CA.  He then went on to serve as Fire Chief in San Mateo, CA in 1996, Fremont, CA in 2002, and Scottsdale, AZ in 2004.  In Scottsdale, he was provided the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in creating a new Fire Department to replace the private contractor, Rural Metro. Chief McDonald helped to hire approximately 275 employees, procured necessary protective clothing, tools and equipment; and developed policies, practices and procedures. The new Department was officially launched at midnight on July 1, 2005 marking the start of City provided services.

In August 2010, Willie was appointed Fire Chief in San Jose, CA, leading the nation’s 10th largest populated city with a Fire Department that employs 790 dedicated members and staff.  He moved on to join Las Vegas Fire & Rescue as Fire Chief in August 2013. The Department is highly respected throughout the fire service, is accredited and maintains an ISO Class I designation. Willie was appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors as the Fire Chief of the Alameda County Fire Department on July 14, 2020 and transitioned into this current role on August 17.