The Priority Ambulance Leadership Foundation announced today that 10 emergency medical services (EMS) professionals from throughout the nation have been selected to represent the EMS Leadership of Tomorrow Class of 2021.
“The EMS Leadership of Tomorrow program has proven to be an exceptional experience for our students as they set their sights on long-term career goals as leaders in the EMS business,” said Board Chairman Gary Coker. “Our Class of 2021 candidates represent another exceptional group of up-and-coming leaders, and we are excited to welcome them to this prestigious executive training program.”
From managers and directors to CEOs, the Foundation’s alumni make up a diverse group of professionals from the private and public sector who seek a challenging, high-level EMS educational program taught by many of the industry’s most accomplished leaders. The EMS Leadership of Tomorrow program gets under way in spring 2021 in Knoxville, Tennessee, with the first of four weeklong course modules.
EMS Leadership of Tomorrow Class of 2021
The following EMS professionals have been selected to participate in the 2021 EMS Leadership of Tomorrow executive training program:
Matt Behl, Solutions & Reporting Manager, Maricopa Ambulance, Phoenix, AZ
Matt Behl has worked in the EMS field for 5 years, starting his career as a paramedic for Southwest Ambulance and ABC Ambulance in metro-Phoenix, AZ, before joining Maricopa Ambulance in 2016, where he served as a paramedic supervisor. His leadership history extends to the private security industry as an assistant operations manager in the Phoenix area for five years. Behl is a decorated U.S. Army veteran who lead, trained and supervised soldiers during Operational Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
In his current role, Behl serves as a bridge between operations and information technology groups to facilitate operational efficiency. He is project manager for new Certificate of Necessity (CON) applications, and maintains current CON compliance. Behl has served on the Arizona Department of Health Services Rules Committee, as well as the ZOLL Data Systems Advisory Committee.
Michael Dowe, Commander, Central EMS, Roswell, GA
Michael Dowe is a career EMS professional who excels in operations management and whose aspirations include higher-level leadership roles within the industry. Michael has worked in the EMS industry for 18 years, starting his career as an EMT for Metropolitan EMS, formerly St. Andrew’s EMS. He worked at Grady EMS in Atlanta for many years, joining the Central EMS team in 2005 as a paramedic/commander.
Michael has assumed a variety of responsibilities as a field operations leader through the years, including lieutenant, major and commander. His responsibilities include all aspects of field operations management, including personnel, unit hour utilization, documentation quality assurance, supply and inventory logistics, and station and vehicle maintenance.
He is graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in science and literature.
Tiffany Jimenez, Operational Manager/West EMS, Maricopa Ambulance, Phoenix, AZ
Tiffany Jimenez has worked in the medical and EMS industries for 10 years, starting her career as an EMT and emergency department technician and rising through the ranks to her current role as operations manager for Maricopa Ambulance’s West Valley operations. Her duties include assisting in the formulation of policies, managing daily operations, planning the use of vehicles, equipment and materials, and personnel.
Tiffany joined Maricopa Ambulance in 2019 as a part-time paramedic. Her proficiency in clinical skills led to her selection as an adjunct trainer for the Maricopa Training Center. She also assisted in rebuilding the new employee orientation program curriculum and structure, enhancing the program and increasing attendee satisfaction.
Prior to joining Maricopa Ambulance, Tiffany has held positions as a field paramedic in Arizona and Colorado, paramedic instructor, and AHA ACLS and BLS instructor/evaluator. She is a graduate of Glendale (AZ) Community College in emergency response operations and paramedicine.
Jake Lonas, Vice President of Operations, Puckett EMS, Austell, GA
Jake Lonas has spent nearly three decades in the fire and EMS industry, joining Puckett EMS 1993.
In his role as vice president of operations, he is responsible for daily field operations, dispatch, fleet maintenance and administration. He also oversees the document quality assurance process and is the primary liaison for contract relationships.
Prior to joining Puckett EMS, Jake served as a fire engineer with Cobb County Fire & EMS for 10 years and is a U.S. Army veteran. He has been named Georgia Region II EMS Director of the Year and earned recognition from the South Cobb Area Council for outstanding community leadership. In connection with the South Cobb Area Council award, Jake spearheaded a program that enabled Puckett EMS to assist more than 20 local businesses and the Powder Springs Police Department, as will as City buildings, to receive free AEDs and CPR training.
Jake earned his paramedic certification from Dekalb Community College and is currently attending Columbia Southern University and working toward a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. He has completed the Ambulance Service Manager program and is a certified ambulance coder.
Joshua McGaughey, Platoon Chief, St. Charles County Ambulance District – St. Peters, MO
Josh McGaughey has spent 18 years in EMS, in positions ranging from field paramedic to lieutenant, battalion chief and platoon chief.
Following nine years in the field, he was promoted to interfacility division lieutenant in 2016. Two years later, be became battalion chief of that division, including the management of all facets of the critical care program, as well as QA/QI processes, marketing and compliance.
In his current role, Josh oversees a 50-person interfacility transfer division, two lieutenants and a team of nine critical care paramedics. His responsibilities include hospital liaison, QA/QI oversight, hiring, operations oversight and documentation compliance. He led the conception, inception and continued management of SCCAD’s critical care ground transport program, including training, procurement, communications, deployment strategies, patient care guidelines and education.
Josh has also worked in the publishing industry as a senior health profession’s testing manager for Elsevier publishing. He holds a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications and a master’s degree in leadership from Lindenwood University. Josh is a certified critical care paramedic and EMS instructor.
Wesley Melson, Chief Operations Officer, LifeCare Medical Transports, Fredericksburg, VA
Wesley Melson has built a 25-year career in the fire and EMS business, starting out as a volunteer firefighter in Colonial Beach, Virginia, and later becoming a firefighter/paramedic and lieutenant with Caroline County Fire and Rescue.
Wesley joined LifeCare Medical Transports in 2016 in his current role as chief operations officer. He oversees ongoing operations, procedures and business efficiencies, as well as establishing policies that promote company culture and vision throughout the organization.
Prior to joining LifeCare, Wesley served for seven years as fire lieutenant for Caroline County Fire and Rescue. Before that, he served 11 years as assistant director of communications for the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office
Wesley’s professional certifications include nationally registered paramedic, fire fighter II, fire officer, fire instructor II, technical rescue and hazardous materials. His leadership training includes National Fire Academy Leadership I, II and III. He is a 2017 graduate of the University of Virginia’s Institute and Leadership Fredericksburg class.
Wesley is a life member, former chief and past president of the Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad and continues to volunteer for the agency as a paramedic. In addition, he serves the vice president for the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads
Misty Phillips, Training Manager, Central EMS, Roswell, GA
Misty Phillips’ 18-year career in the EMS industry includes extensive experience as a field EMT, paramedic and critical care paramedic in Georgia. She has been a captain and lieutenant at Central EMS since 2012 and was promoted to training manager in early 2020.
In her current role, Misty coordinates all clinical education services for Central EMS, providing guidance and direction to clinical and management personnel for a consistent approach to clinical education and protocol adherence.
Misty also assists in new employee orientation, as well as the pre-hire testing and evaluation of prospective clinical employees. Misty works closely with the medical director to plan, schedule and implement continuing education classes, including course objectives, lesson plans and examinations.
Misty holds a bachelor’s degree in emergency medical services administration from Columbia Southern University. She is also a Level 3 instructor for PALS, ACLS, BLS and Handtevey.
Rob Rautio, Director of Operations, American Ambulance Service, Norwich, CT
Rob Rautio began his EMS career 13 years ago as an EMT for American Ambulance Service, progressing through the organization to his current position as director of operations. He is a dedicated career professional with experience in the clinical, administrative and educational aspects of EMS.
As director of operations, Rob is responsible for the overall planning, implementation and maintenance of emergency and non-emergency services, management of the operational leadership team and a liaison with local first-response agencies and contract holders. He is also a clinical instructor for American Professional Educational Services, teaching paramedic students.
Rob is a nationally registered paramedic who also is certified by the International Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch, the Institute of Certified Professional Managers, and the American College of Paramedic Executives. He holds an associate’s degree in general studies from Columbia Southern University and is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from that institution.
Rob is active in his community, having served as a member of the ACLU of Connecticut Board of Directors and the Mortlake Fire Company Board of Directors.
Richard Szymczyk, Director of Workforce Health, Safety & Education, LifeCare Medical Transports, Fredericksburg, VA
Richard Szymczyk has worked 15 years in the emergency medical and disaster response industries, including leadership roles with LifeCare Medical Transports, the National Red Cross Disaster Action Team and Americorps. He began his career as a transfer and communication center coordinator for Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, joining LifeCare in 2014 as an EMT-Intermediate.
In his current role at LifeCare, Richard is responsible for insurance claims management, risk analysis, claims reporting and the overall enhancement of the company’s risk and safety programs. He also manages the development and implementation of risk management policies and best practices. At LifeCare, Richard also has served as workforce health and safety manager and operations manager.
Richard holds a bachelor’s degree in health promotions and outdoor recreation leadership from Lynchburg College, as well as a master’s degree in global health and epidemiology from Liberty University. His EMS professional certifications include ALS, ACLS, PALS, neonatal resuscitation, international trauma life support, and SCUBA rescue diver.
He is also an active member of his community, volunteering over the years with the Vinton First Aid Crew, Boonsboro Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Fairfax City Fire & Rescue, and as a disaster relief team captain for the American Red Cross.
Anthony Tucci, Chief Executive Officer, Western Berks Ambulance Association, Reading, PA
Anthony Tucci has dedicated his career to EMS, working in the industry for more than three decades, with 24 years spent at Western Berks Ambulance Association where he started as a lieutenant supply officer and rose through the ranks to become chief executive officer.
In his current role, Anthony is responsible for the development and administration of the organization, including strategic planning, leadership and operational oversight. He approves all personnel actions and oversees the full spectrum of supervisory activities. Anthony was instrumental in the Western Berks Ambulance Association being awarded the Eastern PA EMS Council Gold Standard of Excellence Award and the AHA Mission: Lifeline Silver and Gold designations.
Anthony believes in giving back to his community, having served as a volunteer for the Friends of Reading Hospital, Heart Safe Berks Chairman. He also became the first male member of the organization’s board of directors. He also has served on the quality committee of the National EMS Management Association and as chairman of the Birdsboro Municipal Authority.
Anthony also has a passion for baseball, having served as the Mid-Atlantic assistant regional softball commissioner for the Babe Ruth Baseball and Softball League. In 2018, he was awarded the Vernon “Lefty” Gomez Volunteer of the Year award, and in 2014, he was asked to join the Softball World Series Task Force.
About Priority Ambulance Leadership Foundation
The Priority Ambulance Leadership Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the next generation of EMS managers, executives and entrepreneurs. The Foundation’s mission is to bridge the gap that exists in national management training and mentorship programs for EMS professionals. The Foundation provides a year-long educational training and mentoring program to promising leadership candidates, accessing industry experts and resources to provide a premier EMS leadership training experience for graduates of its EMS Leadership of Tomorrow course. The Foundation also provides public education programs in basic life-saving and first-aid skills.
Priority Ambulance’s 2021 EMS Leadership of Tomorrow course sponsors are North Eastern Rescue Vehicles, REV Group, Zoll and EMS1.
For more information, please visit www.priorityleadershipfoundation.org.