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University of Maryland Announces Appointment of New Director for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute

January 2, 2018

Katie Lawson 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland announced today the appointment of Michael E. Cox, Jr., as the new Director of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) after a nationwide search.  Cox replaces Steven T. Edwards whose retirement begins January 5, 2018.

Headshot of Michael Cox Jr. Headquartered at the University of Maryland, MFRI is the state’s comprehensive training and education system for emergency services. The institute plans, researches and delivers high quality, state of the art programs that enhance the ability of emergency service providers to protect, life, property and the environment. MFRI employs 65 full-time faculty and staff positions supported by more than 700 state-certified instructors who deliver programs at six statewide regional training facilities, as well as site specific locations.

“I commend Steve Edwards on his quarter century of excellence in guiding and preparing Maryland first responders to be among the best in the country and around the world,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “In our search for a new Director, we determined that Michael Cox was the right emergency services leader to continue the level of quality training and continue to move MFRI forward.”

Cox has been a MFRI employee and management team member since January of 2015.

“I want to thank President Loh for this tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to working in an innovative and collaborative fashion with the MFRI faculty and staff to continue to provide world class programs and customer service that the agency is known for nationally, and internationally,” said Cox. “Director Edwards has been a mentor to many people over the years and has contributed greatly to our profession.  I am honored to serve in this role and look forward to building on his accomplishments.”    

At age 16, Cox began his career in the fire service at the Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department in Edgewater, Maryland where he remains a life member. At age 20, Cox accepted a career position within the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.  Throughout his 27-year career, Cox worked in virtually every bureau and division in the Department. Cox ultimately advanced through the ranks to become the Department’s tenth Fire Chief where he led a combination force of more than 1,400 career and volunteer personnel serving a population of more than 550,000.

During his time as Anne Arundel County Fire Chief, Cox worked on numerous new initiatives to address critical issues facing the department, including the enhancement of responder and citizen safety, the correction of substandard insurance service office ratings in multiple areas of Anne Arundel County, the improvement of 911 call processing times and work flows, the development of a diversity recruitment plan, and the enhancement of communications with volunteer and career associations and groups within the department. 

Cox earned an associate’s degree in emergency medical services from Anne Arundel Community College; a bachelor’s degree in fire science from the University of Maryland University College, and a master’s degree in executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University. Cox also is a graduate of the United States Fire Administration’s Executive Fire Officer Program and has been designated as a Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Additionally, Cox holds national and state certifications as a fire officer, an emergency medical technician paramedic and an emergency services instructor.  Cox is also a graduate of Leadership Anne Arundel’s 2015 Flagship Program and Leadership Maryland Class of 2017.

Cox has been a resident of Anne Arundel County for the last 36 years and currently resides in Edgewater with his daughter Megan and his son Michael.