Fire Chief, Les Stephens
Les Stephens, a 34+ year veteran of the fire service, is the chief of the San Marcos Fire Department, where he has proudly served for over twelve years. Previously, he worked for the Garland Fire Department for 18 years, rising through the ranks to battalion chief, before leaving to become the chief in San Marcos.
He holds numerous certifications including master firefighter, paramedic, fire officer IV, and fire instructor III. Stephens served as Garland’s training officer for two years and he was also an instructor with Collin College’s fire science program, Dallas Fire-Rescue’s recruit academy, Texas A&M’s Municipal Fire School, and Fire Engineering’s Fire Department Instructor’s Conference. Stephens is also credentialed as a Chief Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence and a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s prestigious Executive Fire Officer program. He is credentialed as a Certified Public Manager and has an Associate Degree in Fire Protection from Tarrant County College and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Texas State University. In 2021, he served as President of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association and currently serves as an advisor for the Fire Science Program at Austin Community College. In 2019, Stephens was appointed by Texas Governor, Greg Abbott to serve on the One-Call Board of Texas and in 2022 he was honored as the Texas Fire Chiefs Associations’ Fire Chief of the Year.
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.