Alexandria Fire Chief Adam K. Thiel will leave his job next month to accept an appointment by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe as deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, the city announced Friday.

Thiel became Alexandria’s fire chief in 2007 and opened two fire stations, replaced the city’s front-line fleet of fire and EMS units, and found funding for a new fireboat. Under his leadership, the department increased staffing on key units. Thiel also served as the city’s operations section chief for several presidentially-declared disasters.

City manager Rashad Young praised Thiel’s “strong leadership, strategic vision and passionate commitment” to the city’s safety. The city will launch a nationwide search for his replacement.