Peachtree City’s long-serving Fire Chief Joe O’Conor is about to step up to his next job — up in altitude, that is, to about 9,500 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The city will say goodbye to O’Conor by the end of November, as he prepares to start a new job as fire chief in Cripple Creek, Colorado, population 1,200.
It was 20 years ago that Joe O’Conor joined the Peachtree City Fire Department, and worked his way up to the top slot in 2012.
O’Conor joined the department in 2001. It was in 2012 that he assumed the responsibility as chief. With his time now up in Peachtree City and ready to move forward to the next chapter of his work life, O’Conor was quick to give credit to those under his command.
“I have a great management team, and as long as I’m here nobody can move up,” O’Conor said, commenting on his decision to retire. “And, I’m eligible to retire. So, it’s a great time for me to go.”
With family living near Colorado Springs, O’Conor said the position as fire chief in nearby Cripple Creek presented the perfect opportunity to be close to family and continue in his field.
A gambling and gold mining town, Cripple Creek is much smaller than Peachtree City, with a population of 1,200, O’Conor said.
“They have a small, professional department and I had the credentials,” he noted.
Cripple Creek sits on the southwestern slopes of Pikes Peak, 1 hour from Colorado Springs and just over an hour and a half from Denver.
Speaking of his time in Peachtree City and his tenure in leading the department, O’Conor said, “I inherited a great bunch of people. I have smart people and I let them do their job. It was the people who made the difference. We have great folks who are set up for the future.”
O’Conor added that the city has “taken good care of us.”
“I truly appreciate the opportunity I was given to lead a super organization, including through some difficult times,” O’Conor said. “And I appreciate that the city entrusted me to serve in the capacity as fire chief.”
O’Conor’s last day as chief in Peachtree City will be Nov. 30. Soon after he will arrive in the little town of Cripple Creek, situated at 9,495 feet in elevation and accustomed to plenty of snow.
“This is a good next step for me, to develop leaders for Cripple Creek’s future,” O’Conor added.