Spotlight: Ron Thackery
AAA Professional Standards Committee Co-Chair
Senior Vice President Professional Services
American Medical Response
Greenwood Village, CO
Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Wichita, KS and lived there until I graduated from high school. Most of my siblings still live in Wichita. I moved to Memphis and attended Christian Brothers University for undergraduate and taught high school for five years. I went to night law school at the University of Memphis and practiced in-house for 10 years. I have two children, Conor (31) and Kaitlin (29), who live in Memphis. Conor is an auto mechanic and Kaitlin teaches high school English. My wife, Diane, is a nurse in the operating room at Sky Ridge Hospital in Denver. I love to play golf – fortunately Diane does as well. She and I also ride road bikes and last summer took a biking vacation in the Piedmont area of Italy.
How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?
I have worked in EMS for 20 years. I am not a clinician. Previous to AMR, I worked as in-house counsel at Federal Express. I knew someone from FedEx who worked at AMR and he recruited me to take a position with AMR when they moved their corporate headquarters from Boston to Denver. I have learned plenty about EMS and have had the privilege of leading national functions in safety, risk management, fleet and real estate.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have a wide variety of duties and it is not uncommon for issues related to any of those matters to rise to the top of the to do list each day. While that presents challenges to planning, it creates opportunities to engage with people and processes that are rewarding. I do like AMR and Envision HealthCare and have been very fortunate to be part of those companies. They have enabled me to grow professionally, learn to lead others and engage in activities that enhance EMS. It seems that I work all the time because I enjoy the challenges it presents.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
I am an advocate for safety of patients, caregivers and the general public. Great headway has been made through research with regard to ambulances, stretchers, exposures, etc. More research on fatigue and EMS safety will continue in the next few years. The challenge is finding the most efficient process to introduce, influence and implement these solutions for private EMS providers.
What is your typical day like?
I maintain a running list of TO DO items and focus on completing those as time permits. I travel a few weeks each month across the country. I meet with EMS operators and caregivers, I work on many facets of safety and claims, I work strategically to influence standards, I communicate with other leaders in the organization to keep them aimed in a common direction. My days are relatively planned with the flexibility to address matters that arise each day. I try to stay out of the way of things that need to be done and are best led by others, and simply provide support for those efforts.
How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?
AAA is the glue that enables EMS operators to focus on issues of importance. AAA allows EMS operators to collectively pursue strategies to enhance the industry. AAA has enabled AMR to advance safety initiatives before national associations and regulatory agencies.