Fire Commissioners and Staff


The District 4 Board of Fire Commissioners currently consists of three commissioners that meet monthly to discuss the issues of the district.  Commissioners are elected to a six-year term and can serve continuously if re-elected.


Commissioner Mark Lann –

Mark Lann has called Whatcom County his home since 1977. He has spent his entire professional career dedicated to public service. Recently, he retired after 23 years of local law enforcement. In addition to serving on the Whatcom County Fire District 4 Board of Commissioners, Mark serves on the Whatcom County Water District 7 Board of Commissioners. Married for 28 years, he and his wife have raised 5 children. Mark enjoys fitness through mountain biking and hiking. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration.


Commissioner Steve Cooley –

Photo of Commissioner Steve Cooley

Steve Cooley was elected to the Board of Commissioners on November 24, 2021 after serving as an appointed commissioner.

Steve moved to Whatcom County in 1998 after spending eight years in the United States Coast Guard.  He spent 21 years as a deputy sheriff at the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, retiring in 2019.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in math and computer sciences from the United States Coast Guard Academy and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University.


Commissioner Tim Johnson –


Commissioner Tim Johnson was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners on March 31st, 2022.

Tim was born and raised in Pennsylvania and New York. He relocated to Whatcom County in 2004. He completed a BS in Biology from Eastern University in St. Davids, PA and his MS in Zoology from the University of Idaho. He and his wife Tracy have raised three sons, all graduates of Bellingham schools. Two daughters also work both in Bellingham and Seattle.

Tim currently works as a Public and Government Affairs Director.  He has also been employed as an Environmental Team Leader, and Site Remediation Program Manager for Phillips 66 and Chevron in Ferndale, Seattle, and Houston. In addition, Tim has experience in the Incident Command System and serves on the refinery Emergency management team as the Public Information Officer.

Tim is also very involved in his community. He is currently a board member for the Washington State Research Council, as well as the Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County from 2012-to 2021.

In his free time, Tim enjoys golfing, hiking with his wife Tracy, and fishing/crabbing with his sons.


Jason Van der Veen 

Fire Chief

Chief Jason Van der Veen was born in Seattle and raised in Bellevue. He relocated to Whatcom County in 1994. Jason, his wife Meagan and their seven children reside in Lynden.

Chief Van der Veen began his fire service career by graduating from the WA State Fire Academy in 1998. He became part of the North Whatcom Fire and Rescue family in February 2007. Through his diligence and hard work, Jason was promoted to the position of lieutenant in 2010, to ops chief in 2019 and then to Fire Chief in April 2020.

Chief Van der Veen was raised by parents who set a wonderful example of selfless service to others. He tries to emulate these attributes and pass them on to both his children and coworkers.





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