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Fitch & Associates celebrates 30th anniversary

An interview with Jay Fitch gives a look at the man behind the company

Updated February 2015

In Quick Look we report on the intended merger between the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA) and the International Association of EMS Chiefs (IAEMSC). Best Practices is a NEMSMA membership benefit, and it will remain a benefit to members of the merged organizations.

I have worked closely with the NEMSMA board for the past five years, since taking over as editor in chief of Best Practices. Having been in this business for more than 35 years, I’ve worked in some capacity with nearly every organization serving EMS at one time or another. NEMSMA stands out. I’ve been so inspired by NEMSMA’s leadership, starting with former presidents Gary Wingrove and Skip Kirkwood, and continuing with current president Troy Hagen, president-elect Mike Touchstone, treasurer Sean Caffrey and the entire board. In just a few short years they have accomplished so much—read their current membership report and you’ll see what I mean.

More recently I’ve gotten to know better the leadership of IAEMSC, and they are also an impressive group. The merger of the two groups mirrors the maturation of the profession. EMS can only evolve and grow under the inspiration and guidance of great leaders—leaders who are selected, trained, mentored and given the resources to succeed. The merged organization will be much better positioned to do this.

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This month’s BP Interview with Jay Fitch is an interesting take on a full life. Fitch & Associates is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and I’ve known Jay for all of that and more—and I continue to learn more about him. Did you know he’s an instrument-rated pilot and commutes from his farm in Natchez, Miss., to engagements in a Mooney Acclaim, one of the fastest single-engine aircraft made in America? Or that he is an active volunteer with his local humane society with his wife, Kathy? At any given time they foster six to eight abandoned or abused horses and seven to 10 puppies. Last fall he was presented with a Key to the City of Natchez for his community service. Jay makes a difference wherever he is, however he can help.
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As a young editor at JEMS, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, I worked on several projects that recounted the history of EMS. While paramedic programs in Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles were all promoted and celebrated as pioneers, Freedom House in Pittsburgh was left out or was tangential to the conversation.

Whatever the reason for that omission, I’m glad to see these true champions get recognition now. As Jenifer Goodwin reports, their name and mission live on in the St. Paul Fire Department’s Freedom House Station 51. David Page, a nationally recognized EMS educator and paramedic in the Minneapolis area, was the guiding force behind Freedom House Station 51. I had a chance to visit the service’s classrooms last year, and it was incredibly inspiring to see these disadvantaged kids hard at work and to hear their stories about how this program lifted them up and gave them hope. Last fall I was able to see the incredible documentary on Freedom House. Students from the St. Paul service were there to meet several of the original Freedom House paramedics, a fitting and moving way for history to play out.

Produced in partnership with NEMSMA, Paramedic Chief: Best Practices for the Progressive EMS Leader provides the latest research and most relevant leadership advice to EMS managers and executives. From emerging trends to analysis and insight, practical case studies to leadership development advice, Paramedic Chief is packed with useful, valuable ideas you simply can’t get anywhere else.
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