Our executive board set the direction and strategy for the Service and ensure we are delivering an effective and efficient service for the communities we serve.
Gavin Ellis - Chief Fire Officer
Gavin joined Northamptonshire Fire Service at age 19 in 2000 before transferring to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in 2010 as Station Manager. Between 2011 and 2017 he was promoted to Group Manager and worked in a variety of roles across the Service. In 2016, Gavin was seconded to lead a team that reviewed and produced an external report on the Royal Clarence Hotel fire in Exeter.
In 2018 he was seconded to the newly formed Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS). As Chief of Staff, he successfully led dedicated teams in delivering the first round of these independent inspections. Gavin returned to Devon and Somerset in January 2020 and held the Area Manager Service Delivery Role from Feb 2020 until July 2020 when he was appointed as Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Director of Service Improvement, with key responsibility for driving service performance and preparing the launch of the 2022/2027 Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP).
In March 2022 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer. In May 2023 Gavin was appointed acting Chief Fire Officer during Lee Howell's secondment to the National Fire Chiefs Council.
Gavin is committed to leading the organisation through future challenges and driving professional standards forward to ensure the best service is delivered to our communities. His key priorities are organisational performance and cultural transformation.
Gerald Taylor - Director of Service Delivery
Gerald Taylor is Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Service Delivery. Gerald joined the Service in 2007 as an on-call firefighter in Kingsbridge, and then on a wholetime basis in 2010 as part of a UK-wide pilot developing high potential leaders. Before this, Gerald had worked in leadership roles in the public and private sectors within the public transport industry, primarily rail.
Gerald’s work experience before joining the Service has helped during his secondment as interim CEO for the Service’s trading arm Red One Ltd, and his appointment in 2021 as the National Fire Chief Council Lead for Rail.
Gerald has had several roles within the Service, including leading the on-call team in Kingsbridge, working with the Service’s data analysts, as a station manager within the Learning and Development team, Group Commander for South Devon, and Service lead for collaboration. Gerald also led the regional response to the pandemic in arranging for firefighters to drive ambulances across the southwest 15 days after the Service received the request from the ambulance service. Before becoming Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Gerald was the Head of Response and Partnerships leading our operational response from the teams based at our 83 fire stations.
Gerald is a strong advocate of providing excellent customer service and believes this applies to a fire and rescue service as much as any other industry.
Outside of work, Gerald is a passionate football fan enjoying not only the ups and downs of Norwich City but is a regular at Home Park cheering on Plymouth Argyle. Gerald also loves music and consequently enjoys leading the Service’s response to the Glastonbury Festival.
Gerald believes that the Service’s biggest challenge is to have a more diverse workforce and would encourage anyone reading this to consider becoming an on-call firefighter!
Shayne Scott - Director of Finance and Corporate Services
Shayne Scott is Director of Finance and Corporate Services, along with being treasurer (also known as the Section 151 Officer) to the Fire Authority. He joined the Service in July 2021. Shayne ensures financial rigour by providing the Fire Authority and the Executive Board with accurate, timely, and detailed financial information and advice. He is the Service’s Senior Information Risk Officer (SIRO) with responsibility for information governance and holds corporate leadership for the finance, people, corporate planning, organisational assurance and digital, data and technology departments.
Shayne joined the authority from the Department for Education (DfE) where he spent eight years in various finance roles. Most recently he was the Deputy Finance Director with responsibility for financial management covering the schools rebuilding programmes across England and the department’s corporate services functions. Before the DfE, Shayne worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Arts Council England and the Cayman Islands Government.
Shayne adopts a people-centred approach to his leadership and firmly believes that efficient and effective public services are best delivered through a highly engaged and diverse workforce. Underpinning this is his drive to secure value for money for our taxpayers and further build on the existing financial and commercial rigour that exists within the Authority.
Shayne is a chartered member of CIPFA and CIMA and holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Business Administration and Management respectively.
Nicola Bottomley - Director of Service Delivery Support
Nicola is Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) and Director of Service Delivery Support. Nicola joined Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2002 before transferring to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in 2020. During this time, she worked in a variety of roles including response, learning and development, prevention, and a secondment in 2019 as a Station Manager to the East Midlands National Operational Guidance Training Team.
Nicola transferred to Devon and Somerset in June 2022 and prior to being promoted to ACFO was the Area Manager for Service Delivery Resilience, with responsibility for people development and operational training.
Nicola has an extensive background in partnership working and learning and development, which has been at the heart of her fire service career, focusing on development of the workforce to ensure that staff are safe, effective, and efficient in delivering our services to the community.
Nicola is passionate about cultural improvement, inclusion and community engagement and ensuring that we have a fire and rescue service that best serves our communities through an engaged and enthusiastic workforce.
Maria Phillips - Assistant Director of Corporate Services
Maria joined the Service in 2016 as a Senior Project Manager and was promoted to Programme Manager in 2018 with the remit to deliver the Safer Together programme outcomes. Following this Maria became the Head of Portfolio and Programme Management utilising her professional qualifications in project, programme and portfolio management. She has recently been appointed to the role of Assistant Director of Corporate Services. Maria has also completed a secondment to His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), forming part of an inspection team for a metropolitan fire service.
Maria previously worked in the community engagement arena as part of a neighbourhood regeneration team for Plymouth City Council and then progressed to become a project manager within the city’s transformation team in 2014, leading on projects that spanned across departments.
As a teenager, Maria left home in Cornwall and made the trip to Plymouth to join the Royal Navy. She spent just under seven years working in operational communications aboard HMS Cornwall and HMS Coventry. After leaving the navy, Maria completed a BSC Degree in Sports Management at Plymouth University, and later also achieved a Post Graduate Certificate in Enterprise Leadership.
Maria is passionate to see the Service ensure that the communities we serve are at the heart of what we do, taking a balanced approach between ensuring we deliver an effective and efficient service that demonstrates value for money, and is sustainable for the future.
Maria has two daughters who still have no idea what mum does for a living!