Priority Ambulance Leadership Foundation announces EMS Leadership of Tomorrow Class of 2022

January 27, 2022

The Priority Ambulance Leadership Foundation announced today that 16 emergency medical services (EMS) professionals from throughout the nation have been selected to represent the EMS Leadership of Tomorrow Class of 2022.

“The EMS Leadership of Tomorrow program has proven to be an incredibly valuable experience for our students as they set their sights on long-term career goals as leaders in the EMS business,” said Board Chairman Kevin Dillard. “Our Class of 2022 candidates represent another exceptional group of up-and-coming leaders from thought the industry, 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 2022 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with the first of four weeklong course modules.

EMS Leadership of Tomorrow Class of 2022

The following EMS professionals have been selected to participate in the 2022 EMS Leadership of Tomorrow executive training program:

Dusty Axtell, Operations Captain
Thompson Valley EMS – Loveland, CO

Dusty Axtell has served the EMS community for over 15 years as an EMT, Paramedic, Lieutenant and Captain at Thompson Valley EMS in Loveland, CO. Axtell has worked on several multi-agency response teams including technical rescue operations, law enforcement SWAT teams, and the Northern Colorado Bomb Squad. He has also originated the “Medic Team 6” program to maintain and increase morale, reduce burnout, and improve relationships amongst partners and crews.

He has earned his master’s degree in organizational leadership and wrote his thesis based on considering EMS leadership now and in the future. This thesis was published in a multi-part series in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS). He also has a bachelor’s degree in recreation with a minor in Business Administration and an associate’s degree of Applied Science.


Linda Conley, South Operations Manager
Central EMS – Savanah, GA

Linda Conley currently serves as Central EMS’s Operations Manager for the South Georgia division, including locations in Savannah and the surrounding coastal areas. For the South Region, Conley oversees day-to-day operations and employees, recruiting, inventory, supplies, vehicle scheduling and equipment maintenance.

She began her EMS career 17 years ago joining Central EMS in 2012 at the startup of the Savannah operations as a paramedic and was quickly promoted to Lieutenant. Five years ago, she was promoted again to Commander.

In her role, she supervised daily operations and maintained lines of communication among crews, dispatch and leadership. She was instrumental in growing the operation from the ground up recruiting staff members and new customers to the startup operation.

When Conley began with Central EMS, they had two ambulances in the Savannah market. Conley was one of the first team members in Savannah. She was instrumental in the startup and expeditious growth throughout the Savannah region to grow the operation to what it is today with 13 ambulances, 75 employees and an additional location in Statesboro.

Prior to Central EMS, she held positions as a paramedic with Memorial Health University/MedstarOne and Coastal Exams in Savannah, as well as Excelsior Ambulance in Statesboro.

Conley is an American Heart Association instructor, and she was a CPR instructor for Rescue Training in Savannah for many years.


Mitch Golden, Director of Operations
Ambucare – Bremen, GA

Mitch Golden currently holds the position of Director of Operations at Ambucare in Bremen, GA. He started at Ambucare in 1998 and during his 23 years of service, he has had various roles with Ambucare. His roles include Lead Paramedic, Instructor, Shift Captain, Assistant Director of Operations, Vehicle Maintenance Supervisor and his current role as Director of Operations.

His responsibilities at Ambucare are very broad, and as the Director he handles daily operations and problems that arise. He manages and oversees many people, including the captains who handle daily shifts.



Lance Hansard, Director of Communications
Central EMS – Roswell, GA

Lance Hansard is a Paramedic with more than 27 years of experience in the emergency services field both in management and as a provider. Lance currently serves as the Director of Communications at Central EMS managing requests for service from across the state of Georgia and has also served as a Station and HQ Captain, Commander, Assistant Operations Manager and Division Chief for 911 Operations.

In his role as Director of Communications, he is in charge of the dispatch center, creating and writing protocols and assuring quality control, as well as overseeing data management, reports, and daily operations in the dispatch center. He also creates and delivers training material and classes for dispatch development.

He is graduate of Kennesaw State University with an associate degree in Criminal Justice, a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s in Applied Writing.


Zachary Hierl, Paramedic, FP-C, Senior Preceptor, Training Officer, NCOEMS Agency Administrator, Local Manager of Quality Assurance & Compliance Officer
Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Critical Care Transport Team – Jacksonville, NC

Zachary Hierl’s decade long career in the EMS industry includes extensive experience as a paramedic and critical care paramedic, as well as time spent as an EMT instructor for Coastal Carolina Community College.

In his current role, Hierl coordinates for various training courses through the command’s Staff Education and Training (SEAT) department and assists in the training of NMCCL staff through participation and assistance during “Code Blue” “Trauma”, and other emergency drills.

During the transport of patients, Hierl works to educate active-duty personnel by performing “ride-along” training in areas such as, but not limited to, the transport environment, patient assessment and treatment in an environment with limited resources. He is responsible for making adjustments in instructional methods in anticipation of course content changes and independently plans and presents material in accordance with lesson plans and within the prescribed course framework.

Hierl is currently completing coursework towards a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University.


Brice Jacobson, Lieutenant of EMS Coordination
Cheyenne Fire Rescue – Cheyenne, WY

Brice Jacobson is a certified paramedic with more than 20 years of experience in EMS field operations and management. He has worked for 16 years in the Cheyenne Fire Rescue Department rising to become Lieutenant of EMS Coordinator – a role that he has served in for the past six years.

As an EMS coordinator, he assisted in overseeing and administering the Laramie County Joint Powers Board Contract under Chief Martin when the Cheyenne Fire Rescue was the contract administrator, along with working to maintain high patient care standards within the county. He currently serves as the chair of the county protocol committee and is involved in many committees at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. He is a Wyoming state EMS course coordinator, AHA BLS instructor, PHTLS instructor and EVOS instructor.

During his tenure at the Cheyenne Fire Rescue Department, he also worked concurrently at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s emergency as an EMT Tech for 10 years, American Medical Response as a paramedic for six years and teaching in the emergency service program at Laramie County Community College for 16 years.


Josh Logan, Director of Operations
First Call Ambulance – Old Hickory, TN

Josh Logan is a certified paramedic with more than 15 years of experience in EMS field operations and management. His roles have included EMT, Paramedic, Supervisor, Operations Supervisor, Area Manager, and has been in his current role as Director of Operations since 2019.

He has earned several certifications in his tenure including an EMT-B Certification, a Paramedic Certification, an ACLS Certification, a PALS Certification and an EVOC Certification. He is a CPR Healthcare Provider CPR, has completed ICS 100,200,700,800, and is Ventilator Certified.

He currently oversees the daily operations of 7 middle Tennessee locations and was awarded the Certificate of Appreciation by TriStar Health in 2021.



Amanda McQuistian, Director of Operations
LifeCare Medical Transports – Fredericksburg, VA

Amanda McQuistian has spent over a decade in EMS, in positions ranging from Captain/ Director of Operations to EMT Paramedic. She has various certifications including: ACLS, PALS, CPR, BLS CPR instructor, EVOC, Basic Infection Control Designated Officer Course, EMT- Paramedic, TEMS sanctioned, National Traffic Incident Management Responders Training course, and is in the process of becoming an Education Coordinator.

McQuistian has currently completed her associates degree in Social Science and Emergency Medical Services and is attending Old Dominion University to finish a bachelor’s in healthcare administration with a minor in management.


Charles Partain, Assistant Director of EMS
National EMS – Conyers, GA

Charles Partain is the Assistant Director of EMS at National EMS assisting in the oversight of five 911 county operations and interfacility services. Charles was instrumental in the 911 start up in Newton County and Athens-Clarke County Non-Emergent market division, aggressive recruitment and retention initiatives, and has installed several leaders in the 911, dispatch and field operations markets at National EMS.

Charles began his career at Medshore Ambulance in South Carolina. Throughout his 11-year career in EMS, he advanced quickly as a provider serving in numerous capacities within field operations, including EMT-B, Paramedic, Field Training Officer, Supervisor and System Status Controller. In 2021, he transferred within the Priority Ambulance family to join National EMS in Georgia as Assistant Director of Operations.

He has completed Ambulance Services Manager (ASM) – Fitch & Associates, as well as Beyond the Streets – Fitch and Associates. He is a Certified Ambulance Coding Officer (CACO). Charles is in the progress of completing the SafeTech EMS Leadership Academy and the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA) course. Involved in the local communities, he will complete the Leadership Rockdale course in June 2022.


Jamie Patterson, Director of Communications
Maricopa Ambulance – Phoenix, AZ

As director of communications, Patterson directs the system status management deployment strategy to ensure efficient response for 9-1-1 service areas and hospital facility clients, as well as oversee performance reporting to customers and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Prior to joining Maricopa Ambulance, Patterson was the communications manager for American Medical Response in Tucson, Arizona. She has served in that system since 2008 rising from dispatcher to the communications center manager directly overseeing a team of 25 dispatchers and four supervisors.

Prior to joining Maricopa Ambulance, Patterson was the communications manager for American Medical Response in Tucson, Arizona. She has served in that system since 2008 rising from dispatcher to the communications center manager directly overseeing a team of 25 dispatchers and four supervisors.

Patterson is a member of the International Association of Emergency Medical Dispatchers and has completed the ED-Q certification course, the cornerstone of quality assurance for medical, fire and police dispatch protocols. She also is a licensed emergency medical technician and has completed numerous FEMA incident command certifications. She also attended the National Fire Academy Leadership Series from the U.S. Fire Administration.


Kristina Richardson, Captain
LifeCare Medical Transports – Fredericksburg, VA

With nearly a decade of experience in the EMS community, Kristina Richardson currently serves as Captain for LifeCare Medical Transports in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Richardson has earned both a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and a master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management. During her education, she was part of the Order of the Sword and Shield National Honor Society for academic achievement. She is an Ultrasound Guided IV provider and a certified Hospital Emergency Coordinator – both basic and advanced. She is WELLE (NAPPI) – Non-abusive Psychological and Physical Intervention Instructor.

Prior to her career in EMS, she spent seven years in early childhood education.


John Romeo, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
St. Charles County Ambulance District – St. Peters, MO

John Romeo has served as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for 8 years and has been with the St. Charles County Ambulance District for 18 years.  He has served as an educator and taught EMT and Paramedic programs and is a Registered Nurse.  His focus has been on clinical outcomes his entire career.

Other certifications include being an IBSC Certified Flight Paramedic (FP-C #8725), an AHA BLS certified Provider and Instructor, an AHA ACLS certified Provider and Instructor, an AHA PALS certified Provider and Instructor, and AHA/AAP Neonatal Resuscitation Provider, and a Certified Missouri EMS Instructor. He is also a NAEMT – PHTLS certified Provider and Instructor and is a certified Firefighter I and II in the State of Missouri. He is Hazardous Materials Awareness, Operations and Technician Level certified and has earned a CBRNE Incidents for EMS Certificate from the US Dept. of Homeland Security.


Chad Smith, Assistant Director of Operations
Kunkel Ambulance Service – Utica, NY

Chad Smith has served as Assistant Director of Operations for two years and has been with Kunkel Ambulance since 2003.  He has served in the EMS community for nearly 30 years as an EMT, Paramedic, Chief, Deputy Chief, Training Officer, Supervisor and now as Assistant Director.

He has an associates in Applied Science as well as certificates in Practical Nursing, CLI and CIC. Smith has also been a Fitch & Associates Ambulance Service Manager since 2017 and he is a member of Midstate REMSCO and a certified instructor for MVHS EMS Education. Smith is also a Certified Instructor Coordinator and a Certified Lab Instructor.



Morgan Szymczyk, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
LifeCare Medical Transports – Fredericksburg, VA

Morgan Szymczyk joined the LifeCare Team in 2018 where she became the Marketing Coordinator and then promoted to Marketing and Communications Manager and most recently Associate Director of Marketing and Communications. Prior to her promotion and going forward, she has implemented many enhancements to marketing related processes and formal communications for our company.

She has graduated from Washington State University in Spokane, WA with a master’s in Strategic Communications and from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA with a bachelor’s in Communication Studies and Theatre. She also has an EMT certification as well as certifications in CPR and EVOC.


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. In 24 years spent at Western Berks Ambulance Association, he started as a lieutenant supply officer and rose through the ranks to become chief executive officer.

In his current role, Tucci 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. Tucci 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.

Tucci 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 a 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.

Tucci 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.


Lindsey Wilson, East Valley Director of Operations
Maricopa Ambulance – Chandler, AZ

As Director of Operations, Lindsey Wilson oversees the 911 operations in the cities of Chandler and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as the interfacility operations within the East Valley.

Wilson has more than 18 years of clinical medical experience in various roles. She has been a part of Maricopa Ambulance since the company started in Arizona in October 2016. She began as an EMT and has advanced to become a paramedic and paramedic supervisor. At various times, she has served as the paramedic supervisor for City of Scottsdale, the West 911 system supporting Goodyear and Glendale and in the interfacility service throughout the Valley.

Wilson also works part-time with Amphibious Medics, a minority-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned medical staffing firm, providing first aid and medical standby for special events. Prior to joining Maricopa Ambulance, she was a certified medical assistant.


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 lifesaving and first-aid skills.

Priority Ambulance’s 2022 EMS Leadership of Tomorrow presenting course sponsors are North Eastern Rescue Vehicles and REV Group.

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