Bowling Green Fire Department Chief Jason Colson is retiring at the end of the month after a 26-year career with the city.

Colson, a Bowling Green native, told the Daily News he is retiring to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

Colson started his career as a firefighter in Henderson in 1993. Two years later, he joined the Bowling Green Fire Department. He steadily rose in the ranks before being promoted to assistant chief in 2014 and then fire chief in 2016.

“After 28 years in the fire service, it kind of reached that point to pursue other opportunities,” he said. “I’m going to miss the people, the relationships, the co-workers.”

He said he is most proud of the work the department has done to expand and improve services in the growing city during his tenure.

“We were successful in putting together a solid strategic plan,” he said, pointing to among other things the new Lovers Lane fire station under construction as ways the department “has improved our level of services.”

The department “has been chipping away for the last four or five years,” to get to this point, he said.

Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said the new fire chief will “have big shoes to fill” as Colson has been a visionary in leading the department. “We wish him well,” Alcott said, adding that Colson "tremendously cares about his firefighters and their families."

Colson, a graduate of Warren Central High School, said he plans to remain in the Bowling Green area.

According to a job posting for the fire chief position on the city website, the department has 142 employees, and the position has a starting salary of $113,878.

Alcott said the city will look at both external and internal applicants in an effort to find the best fit for the position.

– Follow Managing Editor Wes Swietek on Twitter @WesSwietek or visit bgdailynews.com.