Tuesday, January 4, 2022

City of Austin identifies top five candidates for Austin’s next Emergency Medical Services Chief


Public Input meeting January 13 at City Hall 

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has announced the top five candidates for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Chief out of a field of 37 applicants.

The top five selected individuals are:
  • David Abrams
  • Jasper Brown
  • Robert Luckritz
  • William Sugiyama
  • James Winham
The City Manager plans to announce a new EMS Chief in early 2022.

The City of Austin's EMS Department provides 9-1-1 emergency medical response to the citizens of Austin and Travis County, serving a population of over 2.2M citizens in a service region of over 1,039 square miles.

The EMS Chief is responsible for directing the strategic planning, leadership, and oversight of all operations of the EMS Department. The Office of the EMS Chief includes the Community Relations Team, Human Resources, Businesses Analysis & Research Team, and Safety. This group is responsible for a variety of tasks, including working with and educating the community, analyzing data to improve performance, ensuring continued employee safety, recruiting , and providing  needed resources to staff.

“I am excited about the top candidates we have selected for the EMS Chief position,” said Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano. “All of these individuals have extensive knowledge of EMS services and programs, and I am confident that any one of them could bring the visionary leadership to the EMS Department that we are seeking in our next EMS Chief.”

Applications for the position opened September 8, 2021 and were submitted by applicants to the consulting firm Affion Public which is managing the recruitment process. Following screening and review by City leadership, the candidate pool was narrowed to five top candidates.

Interviews with the EMS Chief candidates will occur in January and will include a community input meeting with the top finalists on January 13, 2022 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Austin City Hall.

Candidate Bios

David AbramsDavid Abrams is Chief of EMS for Charleston County Government, a position he has held for six years. In the past two decades, he also co-founded and operated a private advanced life support EMS Service, held the role of EMS Director in the corporate sector, and was Director of EMS for the University of South Carolina, a state operated Level 1 trauma center. Leadership interests include promoting a quality work environment through genuine employee engagement, improving clinical outcomes for patients, partnerships with the community to create greater access to healthcare and health education, process improvement in a fiscally responsible manner, and EMS laws and regulations.

Abrams holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina; and a Juris Doctor from Mercer University and is a non-active member of the Georgia Bar Association. He has been a Nationally Registered Paramedic since 1996. 
Jasper BrownJasper D. Brown has served as Interim Chief of Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) after being appointed by City leadership in June 2021.
Brown’s career in Public Safety spans almost three decades, with humble beginnings as a volunteer firefighter while attending Texas State University, where he studied Criminal Justice. He later became a certified EMT- Basic and spent three years working for an EMS system that provided 9-1-1 services in south Texas.
Brown’s career with ATCEMS began in November of 1997. His ambition and strong work ethic allowed him to rise through the ranks, serving as Communications Medic, Commander, Division Commander, Assistant Chief of Operations, and Chief of Staff for six years.
His accolades include being an integral part of migrating the Department to the Computer Aided Dispatch system, transitioning to enhanced radio technologies, serving as a key stakeholder in the development of a combined communications center, gaining designation as the first Accredited Center of Excellence with NAED in Texas, achieving accreditation through Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Service and serving as a member of the Sobering Center Board since its inception.
Brown holds an Advanced EMT certification through Texas DSHS and is a member of several professional organizations.
Robert Luckritz has been in EMS for more than 25 years, serving many roles including Paramedic, instructor, field supervisor, EMS Chief, and hospital leader. He currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Transformative Healthcare, a multi-state EMS, Medical Transportation, and Public Health organization in New England. Luckritz previously served as the Chief and Executive Director of Jersey City Medical Center EMS, the exclusive EMS provider for Jersey City and Medical-911 and paramedic provider for Hudson County, which responds to more than 100,000 911 requests annually and serves 700,000 residents.  Through his tenure as EMS Chief, Luckritz led the organization and its 500+ providers through significant growth despite organizational and political upheaval. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Luckritz served as Vice President of Hospital Operations for a major metro-NYC academic medical center. 
Luckritz continues to serve on the Board of the National Association of EMTs for over 7 years, serves as Chair of the NAEMT Workforce Committee, was President of the New Jersey Association of Paramedics, and was a Board member of the National Association of Urban Hospitals. Luckritz is a licensed attorney and is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant on Leadership Theory, Organizational Behavior, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

William “Bill” Sugiyama is an accomplished healthcare leader with 30+ years of service within the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) public and private sectors as an EMS Chief and currently as the Chief Executive Officer for Mobile Healthcare Systems - West. 

As President of the International Association of EMS Chiefs (2012 – 2014), Sugiyama has provided testimony to the White House National Security Staff, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the First Lady, the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response, the National Highway and Transportation Administration: EMS Division and representatives from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sugiyama is a licensed paramedic, earned his Associate Degree in Nursing and Baccalaureate Degree of Science from Excelsior College; a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security: Emergency and Disaster Management from American Military University; an M.B.A. from Louisiana State University at Shreveport; is a Harvard Fellow of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government through the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program for Homeland Security at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey California.
Jim Winham first began his career with EMSA in 1984 as a paramedic. He has spent over 37 years working for several Oklahoma first-responder agencies including EMSA, the Tulsa Fire Department, Paramedics Plus, Tulsa Lifeflight and the OMD. Winham was named EMSA’s COO in 2014 and Chief Executive Officer in 2017. He manages, monitors, coordinates, and leads the daily operations of the EMSA system. He ensures and oversees the high-quality and cost-effective delivery of all the services that EMSA provides. Winham is responsible for a $76 million dollar budget and 600 members.
Winham is a former Tulsa firefighter/paramedic and was named Firefighter of the Year in 2004. He also spent a decade as a medic and flight nurse for Tulsa Lifeflight.

He earned an Associate Degree in Emergency Medical Services and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Tulsa Community College and Oklahoma City University, respectively.

He currently is a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves and is the former Executive Officer for the 120th Medical Company Area Support of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. He is also a member of the University of Oklahoma Special Operations and Medical Oversight team, and an adjunct professor at the OU School of Community Medicine.