Tag: CEO

Spotlight: Jamie Pafford-Gresham

Jamie Pafford-Gresham
CEO, Pafford EMS
Co-Chair, AAA Government Affairs Committee
Hope, Arkansas, USA
Jamie’s LinkedIn

Tell us a little about Pafford EMS.

Pafford is a family business started by my parents in Magnolia, Arkansas in 1967 with just a station wagon! Some in the industry would call this a “Mom and Pop” organization, but my brothers and I now operate in four states nearly 100 ambulances with 550 employees, three helicopters, two fixed wing medical aircraft and a large billing company. We respond to 90,000 calls a year in 28 counties and parishes. Our corporate office is located in Hope, Arkansas.

Can you share with us a little about Pafford’s culture?

Communicating to our employees our philosophy and beliefs while living by the same set of rules strengthens their understanding of how important it is to us to practice what we preach.

[quote_right]Our mission statement comes from the Bible, and is very simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.[/quote_right]Our mission statement comes from the Bible, and is very simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We teach our employees to think of each patient as a family member (one you like!) and treat them with the utmost care and respect. A verse I carry with me is Luke 10:33-34.

Because we have such a large service area, I see differences in stations and states; some it seems to be more driven by the local culture of an area. Overall, our Pafford family believe in our commitment to the communities we serve.

Do you have any tips for onboarding new employees?

Hiring quality candidates with the ability to excel in the company is very important. It is the beginning of a great relationship for both employee and employer.

[quote_left]New employees attend a series of training sessions with their field training officers that reinforce our company values.[/quote_left]New employees attend a series of training sessions with their FTOs (field training officers) that reinforce our company values. Unethical behavior is not acceptable. We are in the public eye and dealing with people’s lives, and our rules reflect our policy on such things with disciplinary action outlined in writing. Training and communication of the rules and regulations of our company is key for a successful outcome.

How do you retain employees?

We value each and every employee, and realize that they make sacrifices to be in this line of work. EMS is a very stressful job, with unusual and long hours away from family for shift work. It is also con unhealthy lifestyle with the eating on the go, not to mention the pay is not what most want but is dictated by federal programs that have limited revenues. I have the utmost respect for our crews, and that is one of the reasons that people stay—they realize that they are needed and appreciated.

The long and short of it is that you have to want to be in EMS, and you have to love what you do. The reward for most is the satisfaction of good patient care and positive outcomes, which bring them back to do more good work. We provide many benefits such as a caring environment with good benefits, good pay, and up-to-date equipment with a company that cares about their well-being.

What is your typical day like?

My job duties change from day to day—I wear many hats and the overall well-being of the company rests on my shoulders. (In case you haven’t noticed, I have really broad shoulders.) I am responsible to ensure we keep the communities we serve with the best EMS possible while maintaining proper finances company-wide.

Relationships are a huge part of any successful company, and are key to every executive. I can be found meeting with elected and public officials along with hospital administrators throughout our service area, communicating goals to our managers, and assisting with the billing company’s woes when needed. My husband, Ben, also works within the company, the ambulance discussions are never-ending!

I serve on many boards and commissions along with co-chairing the American Ambulance Association’s Government Affairs Committee.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

I attended my first AAA meeting in 1984. I knew that day that there was something special about the group. The knowledge in the room, with so many diverse types helped me learn from some of the best minds in the country. I served on the board of directors for 15 years, and learned something new every meeting—still do today. To survive in this industry, you need to stay connected with change. The AAA is the way to go!

Van Arnam Retires From AEV, Will Head CAAS GVS

Mark Van Arnam, founder and CEO of American Emergency Vehicles, has announced his retirement from the North Carolina based manufacturer of ambulances. “It is extremely difficult to leave AEV,” stated Van Arnam. “But, the company is performing well, and is run by a strong team.” Mark has been in the ambulance business for over 45 years, and is looking forward to some new challenges.

First on his list of projects is the implementation of the new Ground Vehicle Standard (GVS v.1.0), scheduled to be published in February by the Commission on Accreditation for Ambulance Services (CAAS). “Our broad based GVS committee spent over two years developing this new consensus standard for ambulances,” stated Van Arnam, who served as Vice Chair of the Committee. “We are very proud of our document, and anxious to roll it out as a successor to the KKK-A-1822 standard which the US Government will sunset in the near future.”

CAAS is an ANSI accredited organization that defines the “gold standard” for operations in the medical transportation industry. “CAAS is very excited about the Ground Vehicle Standard project,” stated Mark Postma, CAAS Chair. “We have now created the gold standard for emergency medical vehicles, intended for use by all types of providers in the broad spectrum of EMS.”

Postma went on to say “CAAS is proud to appoint an industry leader like Mark Van Arnam to serve as Administrator for the inaugural era of the GVS. We look forward to seeing the CAAS GVS standard become the new cornerstone for emergency vehicle production and certification throughout North America.”

For additional information:

www.groundvehiclestandard.org
www.caas.org

Spotlight: David Tetrault

David Tetrault
Farmington, MO, USA
Administrator/CEO, St. Francois County Ambulance District
Director, AAA Board, Region 4

Tell us a little about yourself, please.

I grew up in Jennings, Missouri, a small town in St. Louis County. I’m the baby of six kids—four brothers and a sister. I am very proud of my twin girls who just graduated from high school while simultaneously completing their associates degrees. They are now off to college to Rolla, Missouri, to finish their bachelors degrees. In addition to sharing time with my family and friends, I enjoy softball, camping, swimming, tennis, and walking.

How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?

David with some of his staff at a recent AAA workshop.
David with some of his team at a recent AAA workshop.

Years ago I was involved in part of the law enforcement arena called “Police Explorers”, primarily because my brother was a police officer. From there, I progressed through many different facets of law enforcement. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is that every time I was involved in an incident including a sick person or trauma, I really felt as if I would filling my calling. I could calm people and make them feel better, even when at that point I had only first responder training.

I have been involved with EMS for more than 30 years now, from my early days as a dispatcher, then up the ranks to Training Officer, then Manager, and now CEO/Administrator here in St. Francois County.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with the public, people in our community, and my staff. They are my second family.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

Dealing with the younger spirited individuals coming into the world of EMS. Understanding the different challenges in funding, retention of our employee’s, the right mix of people and balancing the good/bad at the same time.

Making sure the Emergency Medical Services is not the forgotten one in the mix of Fire and Police. We all have a very important roles and the same amount of responsibility.

What is your typical day like?

My day typically starts with putting out fires and finishing my to do list from the previous day. Having 24/7 responsibility for a large program has its ups and downs—including sometimes getting called into work in the middle of the night. By sunrise, I have usually been up and on the highway for several hours. During typical office hours, I attend meetings and handle projects, budgeting, scheduling, and other tasks that need to be completed to keep our service operating. I also address any concerns or needs of the board of directors.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

The American Ambulance Association has bridged the gap for me in my role as a service Administrator/CEO. AAA has many valuable resources, and provides me access to a vast network of ambulance services across the United States. My fellow AAA members as well as staff are always available to answer questions.

AAA has been the leader in ambulance services resources for many years, and they continue to strive to be the best in everything they offer. I enjoy the daily updates, and feel that the work AAA does with benchmarking and standands forms the backbone of the industry. The American Ambulance Association is truly a leader for EMS.