Membership News

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Savvik Association Partner Spotlight - April 2018

Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW)

A candid interview with Dana Sechler, President

By Julie Fontaine

How long have you been with the association?

I became active with the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) when I joined Baraboo District EMS as the Chief and EMS Director in January 2010. I was elected President of PAAW in November 2017.

What do you like most about your role?

What I enjoy most about participating on the PAAW leadership team is the ability to meet and collaborate with other active and progressive EMS leaders across the State of Wisconsin. It has been a great experience to become more involved in the legislative process. It is only by educating the public and advocating in Madison that we can create laws that positively impact EMS.

Association highlights, upcoming conferences and what members are to expect at conferences.

PAAW is very excited to co-host the upcoming Midwest EMS Expo with the Minnesota Ambulance Association and American Ambulance Association. More than 200 ambulance professionals from across the Midwest and around the country will convene in La Crosse, WI May 2-3 to learn from regional and national EMS experts. We are also proud to host a sold-out exhibit hall featuring the newest innovations in vehicles, technology, supplies, and more. Learn all about the conference at www.MidwestEMSExpo.com.

Where did you get your start in the industry?

I have been involved in EMS and fire services for 27 years in a wide variety of capacities ranging from volunteer, to paid-on-call, to program resident, to full-time, to Chief. As a career public safety and health care provider, I have experience working as a Nationally Registered Paramedic and Critical Care Paramedic with fire-based EMS, hospital-based EMS, county-based EMS, third party services, and municipal services. I also even previously owned a private ambulance service. I have been employed by several colleges and training centers. In addition, I have been an EMS instructor, an educator, an administrator, a fire chief, an EMS director, and a Wisconsin State EMS Office official.

What positive changes have you been a part of in the EMS Industry?

As the Paramedic Program Coordinator with the State of Wisconsin, I was able to assist and guide many services that were interested in upgrading to the Paramedic level of care. I've enjoyed being responsive to the needs of the times, and worked on developing curriculum, guidelines, and protocols for EMS to deal with the challenges of the present and future. Through PAAW, I have been involved in collaborating and building relationships with key leaders and representatives from other stakeholder organizations including the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin (PFFW), Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association (WSFCA), and Wisconsin EMS Association (WEMSA). This cooperation led to a successful Wisconsin EMS Lobby Day, which resulted in a number of successful legislative initiatives, including the passage of a key Community EMS Bill.

What is your greatest achievement?

I believe my greatest professional achievement has been in making a difference in the lives of EMS patients and providers in the State of Wisconsin and surrounding areas. I feel privileged to have the ongoing opportunity to collaborate with providers of all sizes and types to build the best possible EMS system. I find meaning in working to ensure that every resident of our state has access to quality pre-hospital care in their time of need.

What is your long term vision for the association?

I would like PAAW to continue to build relationships and partnerships that will enable us to educate the citizens and lawmakers in Wisconsin. Together, we can promote EMS as a vital and valued healthcare service within the State.

Do you have any special interests, hobbies, other groups you belong to?

When I am not working on EMS issues, I really enjoy spending time with my wife, Logan. Whether we are riding and training horses together, staying involved at our church, or working on photography projects together, I deeply value the time that we are able to share with one another.

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Savvik Association Partner Spotlight - February 2018 

American Ambulance Association (AAA)

A candid interview with Mark Postma, President - American Ambulance Association, Vice President - Paramedics Plus

By Julie Fontaine

How long have you been with the association?

I have been active in the American Ambulance Association for more than 25 years, serving on committees and the AAA Board. I have represented AAA on the board of the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS).

What do you like most about your role?

As President the past year and four months, our industry has experienced a number of challenges caused by the many changes in Washington, DC. However, despite the bumps in the road, it has been inspiring to be surrounded by a group of such engaged and passionate EMS leaders. Together, we can do anything!

Association highlights, upcoming conferences and what members are to expect at conferences.

My proudest moment as President took place just last week when the ambulance Medicare add-ons were renewed. This was a triumph for AAA advocacy as well as a huge step for all ambulance services.

I am also proud that the AAA membership has come together to raise $250,000 toward our association's Capital Fund. The goal is to reach $1mm, so we have more progress to make. However, now that the ambulance add-ons are renewed and funding is stabilized until 2022, I'm confident we can bridge the gap.

AAA has a busy education calendar this year, and I hope you will join us for a webinar, conference, or regional workshop. I especially look forward to showcasing the best of EMS field providers at AAA Stars of Life in June. Additionally, I am excited to share with you that the AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show will take place September 6-8, 2018 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.

Where did you get your start in the industry?

I started as an EMT in South Dakota at the age of 16, then became a Paramedic at 20. My mother was a dispatcher and administrative assistant to the owner of Sioux Falls Ambulance. I just started riding along and then I was hooked. The rest is history!

What positive changes have you been a part of in the EMS Industry?

I served on the CAAS Board for more than 20 years representing AAA, during which I was Board Chair of CAAS and Co-Chair (with Mark Van Arnam) of CAAS GVS. I am deeply proud to have contributed to the development of the "gold standards" for ambulance services.

What is your greatest achievement?

I am sure this was intended an EMS question, so helping Sunstar Paramedics to win the Florida Sterling Award in 2009 and being admitted to the Iowa EMS Hall of Fame in 2007. However, I also want to share that I have two great kids who have excelled in academics and now work in other professions (nursing and financial management). I am sure that is due to their mother. However, I tried to help as much as possible along the way!

What is your long term vision for the association?

Long-term, the AAA has to be better-funded to provide critically necessary representation for our industry. Our advocacy is second to none, but it will take the commitment of each EMS provider to contribute their time and pay membership dues to move the ball forward.

Do you have any special interests, hobbies, other groups you belong to?

I am an early riser and try to read at least two newspapers, then work out for an hour before heading off to work by 0830. I love boating, playing basketball, Rays Baseball, and Indy Car Racing.

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