Organization adopts dyad model with COO Jim Bradford and CFO Amy Gnojek at the helm

EDWARDS, Colo.—Aug. 18, 2020—On Monday, Aug. 3, Eagle County Paramedic Services (ECPS) CEO Chris Montera announced that he is resigning from the position to pursue a new job with ESO as the Director of National and State Business in Florida. Moving forward, the ECPS Board of Directors has decided not to search for a new CEO. Instead, the organization will be adopting a dyad model in which COO Jim Bradford and CFO Amy Gnojek will lead as a team.

“After working in various positions with Eagle County Paramedic Services for almost 15 years and serving as CEO for four years, Chris has been an integral part of the success of this organization,” said Jeff Babb, president of the Eagle County Paramedic Services Board of Directors. “Under his leadership, ECPS is a profitable, well-oiled machine with exceptional team members both in the field and in administration roles. He illustrates the adage, ‘leave it better than you found it.’ We will miss him both as a leader and as a friend but wish him all of the best in this new chapter of his career.” 

Montera’s last day will be Sept. 4, 2020; he will remain under contract with ECPS for at least 90 days to help assist with the transition. 

The dyad leadership model is not new and is utilized in many healthcare institutions; it has proven to be both an effective and differentiating style. In this model, the union of in-the-field and administrative leaders provides a best-of-both-worlds structure. Bradford started at ECPS as a part time EMT in 2000 and has held numerous positions within ECPS. CFO Gnojek has more than 20 years of experience in finance and administration and since her start at ECPS in 2017 she has secured the organization’s financial position. 

“With the leadership experience and excellence that both Amy (Gnojek) and Jim (Bradford) possess, we know that this is not only an ideal approach but that we also have the best people in place to execute it,” Babb said.

The organization will be testing this dyad leadership approach over the coming months; in May 2021, the Board is expected to evaluate the success of this model and assess the situation.

“As a member of the ECPS Board of Directors for more than seven years, I have seen this organization change and evolve and I can say, without any reservation, that we are in an enviable position,” Babb continued. “Not only are we fulfilling our mission to provide skilled, professional and compassionate healthcare to our community but we are also meeting challenges head-on and producing positive outcomes. I know that we will continue to be a leader in healthcare and an asset to our community.”

EDWARDS, Colo.—Aug. 4, 2020—Each year, wildfires are a threat to our community and state. When fires break out in forests and range-lands and threaten neighborhoods, firefighters are deployed to help combat the blaze. Now, a special team from Eagle County Paramedic Services (ECPS) will also be available when fires threaten the mountain region. 

The Eagle County Paramedic Services wildland fire team consists of six ECPS paramedics who are specially trained to respond to medical or traumatic events in the wildland environment: Mike Gasell, Conor Moran, Chris Rauzi, Greg Sawyer, Joel Simonson and Aaron Zinser. Hank Bevington is serving as wildland fire supervisor. These paramedics received wildland training and certifications to serve on the line or from an ambulance that is equipped with specific tools and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to deploy for weeks at a time. Members of the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District and Eagle River Fire Protection District provided integral training for the ECPS wildland fire team with administrative guidance from Ryan McCully, battalion chief of the Colorado River Region of Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

Lt. Clayton Forsyth, Greater Eagle Fire District, stands with members of ECPS wildland fire team during the last day of training: Chris Rauzi, Greg Sawyer, Aaron Zinser and Joel Simonson.

“There’s a need for paramedics on the fire line due to the remoteness of these fires. Otherwise, access to immediate medical care can be far away,” said Joel Simonson who has served on wildland fire teams previously and spearheaded the training at ECPS. “Having a wildland fire team adds to our all-hazards approach to paramedicine and we can assist other departments in our response district. It’s good for our community, our county and for the wildland crews who are on the line.” 

Wildland EMS paramedics work in tandem with firefighters and hotshot crews to help ensure the success of the overall operation by doing everything possible to ensure firefighters and support staff are at their best and as healthy as possible.

It also involves working in tough conditions. These line medics work 16 hours a day for 14 days straight when they’re at a fire. They’re prepared to camp for the entire shift and also carry provisions to be self-sustaining for three days. In addition to working with hand tools, learning how to cut a fire line, deploy fire shelters and more, these paramedics have successfully passed a pack test: walking three miles in 45 minutes or less carrying a 45-pound pack. All of this training and education leads to the paramedic or EMT being “red carded” – receiving the Interagency Incident Qualification Card. 

Members of the ECPS wildland fire team practice cutting a fire line, one of the skills necessary for these medics to assist while on scene.

“Adding additional capabilities from Eagle County Paramedic Services is a huge help to the wildfire community,” said McCulley. “As a firefighter myself, I really appreciate having those guys out there as line medics and as an ambulance that’s available…because the job is a dangerous job. It always made me feel better having those guys available—they’re professional paramedics and that’s who you want taking care of you if you get hurt. They’re much appreciated by all the guys on the ground.”

Because the wildland fire EMS group will be deploying from Eagle County, it means that response time to wildfire incidents in the mountain region can be greatly reduced. As of Aug. 3, ECPS can be deployed to locations across the state and perhaps even out of state if the need arises, providing medical care to those fighting the fires.

“We’re proud that we’re now able to offer wildland fire EMS services,” said Christopher Montera, CEO of Eagle County Paramedic Services. “It’s not only an amazing experience for our paramedics, but it expands our utility and what we offer as a service to our community.”

The ECPS wildland fire team is being utilized even more quickly than planned: Joel Simonson was deployed to the Pine Gulch fire in De Beque on Tuesday, Aug. 4. 

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About Eagle County Paramedic Services

Eagle County Paramedic Services (ECPS) operates ambulances using five stations from Gypsum to Vail, with up to 13 ambulances providing 24-7, 365-day coverage. Last year, the Paramedic Services answered 5,900 calls from Vail Pass to Hanging Lake. ECPS transports people having medical emergencies, conducts community health services to underserved people in Eagle County and also conducts education and training programs. For more information about the district, visit eaglecountyparamedics.com or call 970-926-5270.

The board packet can be found at www.eaglecountyparamedics.com/board-meetings.

Thursday, April 23, 2020
0800 Regular
Meeting Location: Virtual Meeting