The previous county emergency manager, Beth Thomas, resigned on Dec. 14, 2017. She served in the position for seven years. In the meantime, emergency management was run by Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Bob Tease.
Bonstell has been the Zeeland fire chief since 2016 and has an extensive fire and hazardous materials background. He currently serves as a hazardous material instructor for the Michigan State Police and is a contracted hazardous material instructor for FEMA.
He grew up in Zeeland and has been a firefighter for more than two decades. He’s worked for Zeeland Fire Rescue, the Grand Rapids Fire Department, was the Knoxville, Iowa, fire department chief, came back to West Michigan to work for the Kentwood Fire Department, then returned as the new Zeeland fire chief in 2016. Former Zeeland Fire Chief Bill Gruppen recruited Bonstell to become a firefighter.
“Nick will bring with him knowledge, experience and professionalism, which will lead and grow our emergency management unit at the sheriff’s office into the future, providing quality service to our citizens, communities and partnerships in and out of Ottawa County,” said Kempker in a press release.
Bonstell, who lives within the county, will begin his new position today. He is married and has a son and twin daughters.
As he will no longer serve as the Zeeland Fire Services chief, Zeeland’s city council will appoint an interim chief. Zeeland will now begin the process of selecting a new fire chief, as well.