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Networking in Hill Country: A Pinnacle 2023 preview

Fitch & Associates’ Anthony Minge shares a sneak peek of this year’s keynotes, social events and more

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The 17th annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum will be held July 24-28, 2023, at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio.


The 17th annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum will be held July 24-28, 2023, at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio.

We got a glimpse of this year’s Pinnacle conference from Anthony Minge, EdD, program co-chair (along with Jay Fitch, PhD).

What can you tell us about this year’s program lineup?

Minge: As always, we put together a program that addresses a variety of topics, from leadership and change management, to retention and mental wellness. We’ve added some new speakers and welcomed back some familiar faces too. The week starts with our pre-conference Power Seminars on Monday and Tuesday, including the season finale of the Pinnacle Shark Tank.

The main conference kicks off Tuesday evening when we’ll hear from our opening keynote speaker, Cody Byrns. He’ll lead attendees through his journey – going from “stuck to empowered” and how we can do the same, even during our most difficult challenges. It’s a can’t-miss session! We also have some fun surprises in store that we’re really looking forward to.

What can attendees expect from the venue?

Minge: I’m excited we are bringing Pinnacle back to my home state of Texas this year. San Antonio, aka the hill country, and the JW Marriott offer the ideal environment for Pinnacle. The JW Marriott resorts are known for being family friendly, so attendees can bring their spouses or whole family along and enjoy the week of learning, networking and overall rejuvenation. It’s the perfect balance of business and pleasure, relaxation and fun. All Pinnacle events take place at the JW Marriott, so with almost everyone in the same location, it’s also a great opportunity to connect, or reconnect, with your peers all throughout the week. Not to mention, we have a long-standing relationship with JW Marriott, so we’ve been able to get excellent room prices for participants. And they’ve recently made some amazing updates to the property.

Will we be hearing more from the Fitch EMS Leadership Foundation this year?

Minge: Absolutely. The Foundation is in its second year now, so we’ll be welcoming our first Pinnacle scholarship recipient to San Antonio and announcing the most recent recipients. We’ll also be welcoming FirstWatch and Hartwell Medical as they introduce their awardees of both the Jack Stout EMS Fellowship and James O. Page Legacy Scholarship, respectively. We’re really proud of the work the Foundation is doing to promote education and leadership development in EMS and hope to grow our support year after year.

What other events are happening that attendees can look forward to?

Minge: While it’s crucial in our leadership roles to continue learning and keep up on the latest information, it’s equally as important to make connections and continue to build relationships. In addition to all the great sessions at Pinnacle, there are many other opportunities to connect or just take in the atmosphere, especially if it’s your first time at the conference. The welcome reception on Tuesday evening is a chance to mingle with fellow attendees and kick off the start of Pinnacle. It’s also an opportunity to meet exhibitors who offer products and solutions specifically for Pinnacle attendees and their organizations.

Pinnacle has traditionally had a no-host reception in one of the many hotel bars or eateries. We are going to change that up a little. Stay tuned for more information on a Monday evening opportunity to meet the Fitch team.

We’ll also be hosting meet-and-greet sessions in the Fitch Hospitality Suite again this year on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. It’s a great place to grab a drink and unwind while networking with old friends and making some new ones. NEMSMA board members will be joining us there and you can expect some lively and engaging conversations. You also won’t want to miss evening opportunities hosted by FirstWatch, Brandt VX and others throughout the week. Finally, be sure to stick around for closing keynote speaker David Atkins on Thursday afternoon. In David’s career as a leader in law enforcement, he faced daily challenges and experiences that forever shifted his mindset. It’s the perfect way to close out the week.

For more than three decades, the Fitch & Associates team of consultants has provided customized solutions to the complex challenges faced by public safety organizations of all types and sizes. From system design and competitive procurements to technology upgrades and comprehensive consulting services, Fitch & Associates helps communities ensure their emergency services are both effective and sustainable. For ideas to help your agency improve performance in the face of rising costs, call 888-431-2600 or visit