Genoa Township names Ponzi new fire chief

By Gary Budzak -



The Genoa Township Board of Trustees has named Joseph Ponzi its next fire chief, it was announced in a press release dated July 16. Ponzi currently serves as deputy chief of the Genoa Township Fire Department.

According to the township, “Ponzi will be the seventh chief to serve the township since the fire service was established in 1973, and the third since it was converted from a volunteer department in 2001. His career with Genoa Township began in 1993 as a volunteer firefighter. He was hired as a full-time firefighter in 2001, progressing to Lieutenant in 2002 and deputy chief in 2011.”

“I am honored to have been selected,” Ponzi said. “I look forward to stepping into this new role and continuing to serve the community where I live.”

“Chief is a fitting title for Joseph,” said Trustee Connie Goodman. “He has demonstrated how prepared he is to advance his career, and he has my full confidence.”

The position was posted in April and 18 candidates applied. The township said it worked with the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association to find the best suited candidate. Of the applicants, the trustees interviewed the top three finalists earlier in the month.

Ponzi will replace current Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt, who will retire on Aug. 3. Honeycutt has a 37-year career in fire service, the last 15 as Genoa Township’s fire chief. Prior to Genoa, he spent more than 20 years with a fire department near Detroit, Michigan, retiring as chief.

Of Honeycutt, the township said, “The department advanced during his tenure, growing alongside the community as the population increased from 11,000 residents to more than 26,000. The (Genoa Twp.) Board of Trustees offers its gratitude for his dedicated service and wish him well in his retirement.”

On July 7, Honeycutt led the response when the Genoa Township Fire Department responded to a structure fire at the condominiums on Mt. Royal Avenue near Old 3C in Westerville. One firefighter was injured after a roof collapsed on him, but he is now fine. Several structures were damaged, and the Red Cross responded to assist residents.

“Hopefully, that will be the last fire he fights in his career,” wrote Genoa Township Police Department Chief Steve Gammill in a Facebook post. “Gary has been a tremendous leader to the fire department and in the township and county fire community. He has been a great mentor and role model to me and many others, and he will be greatly missed. Best wishes for a happy retirement 440, we will all miss you!”


By Gary Budzak

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.