Jim is assigned to the position of District 33 / Unit 2. As District 33 he is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the department which includes the scheduling of all career and part time personnel assigned to his unit day, assigning personnel to district stations as well as scheduling the day's activities such as training, public education, and maintenance of apparatus and facilities. Jim oversees the operation of the Fire Department Paramedic Bike Team and Honor Guard. As District 33 Jim responds to all fire and emergency medical calls where additional management personnel may be required and in the absence of the Fire Chief, serves as the Incident Commander at the scene.
Jim also serves as Fairfield Fire Department's Facility and Fleet Manager responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the department's three fire stations and training facility. In addition, Jim oversees the maintenance, repair, and testing of the department's fleet of 21 vehicles and apparatus.
Jim's fire career with the City of Fairfield began in 1984 as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. As the department transitioned to part time staffing, Jim was later promoted to a part-time Lieutenant and then part-time Captain. In 1993, he was hired as one of the first career Fire Captains for the department.
Prior to his full-time position with the Fire Department, he was owner/operator of Howell Heating and Air Conditioning, which he managed with his father from 1972 through 2003. He says, "My experiences in running the business, as well as the mechanical and building construction knowledge I gained through those years, have proved to be very valuable to me on many occasions in my years with the fire service."
Jim serves as a Hazardous Materials Technician with the Greater Cincinnati Hazardous Materials Team and is also a WMD Chemical / Biological / Nuclear / Radiological Technician. He has technical rescue certifications in rope rescue, building collapse, confined space rescue, and trench rescue. He also holds certifications as a Fire Instructor and a Fire Inspector. Jim is a graduate of the Ohio Executive Fire Officer "OFE" program - class 10. He received a superior achievement award from the OFE program for his research paper "Care, Maintenance and Replacement of Firefighter Turnout Gear." He has attended numerous classes at the Ohio Fire Academy and National fire Academy.
Jim has been honored for his volunteer efforts and work with the Butler County MRDD. He has helped organize fire department events with the Butler County MRDD and coordinates Fire Department help with the Butler County Special Olympic Teams. He oversees the annual student Fire Safety Poster contest that is open to all students grades K through 6.
His efforts have earned the following honors:
- Butler County MRDD Community Recognition recipient (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
- Butler County MRDD Volunteer of the year award (2006) presented to Fairfield Fire Department
- Community service award presented by the Fairfield Exchange Club (2005)
- City of Fairfield "Star" employee award
- Star of Life Award from the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians in 2008 for his role in saving the life of a motorcycle crash victim
Jim and his wife, Shirley (Moore) Howell, have 1 daughter, Rebecca.
When not volunteering or spending time with family and friends, Jim enjoys motorcycle riding, fly fishing local waterways and surf fishing the coast lines of Alabama and the Carolinas.