By Joe Covelli, PAAW Executive Director
We've all attended luncheons, potlucks and parties when co-workers leave their current jobs for something else - an internal promotion, another company, retirement or next adventure. I usually get mixed emotions at events like this, because it means things will never be the same. As is customary, you extend well wishes and good luck on their next endeavor. People, events and circumstances change - and so must we. Some change is for the better, but other change I wish never happened.
In the past couple of months, I've received emails from two individuals I've admired and respected for a number of years - not only professionally in EMS, but in their personal character too. Jim Singer and Dan Williams, two Wisconsin EMS icons in my humble opinion, recently announced their retirements. They've both dedicated their life's work and careers to EMS - Jim with 31 years of service to Flight For Life, Dan with over 45 years in EMS. EMS in Wisconsin is in a better place because of their leadership, vision and commitment.
Jim Singer recently announced his retirement, effective March 31, as System Transport Director following a 31-year career at Flight For Life, Milwaukee.
Jim joined Flight For Life in 1986 as a Flight Nurse. He became the Chief Flight Nurse in 1991 and transitioned to his current position in 2001. Under Jim’s tenure, Flight For Life has purchased new aircraft, made significant upgrades to its remaining fleet and added an additional base of operations in the City of Fond du Lac Wisconsin. Flight For Life has completed over 33,000 safe transports since it began operations as the first air medical service in Wisconsin in 1983.
Dan Williams retired as Director at Emergency Services of Door County in Sturgeon Bay, on January 12, 2017.
In 2013, he announced early retirement as Director at UW Health's MedFlight, Madison, and relocated to Sturgeon Bay. Soon after his early retirement was announced from MedFlight, Dan was asked to serve again as Director at Emergency Services of Door County - a familiar location to him since he was their director for 30 years. He's held previous leadership positions with Flight For Life and Paratech Ambulance Service, both in Milwaukee, and for a number of years has provided EMS consulting to many Wisconsin ambulance services.
Dan was instrumental in shaping EMS through his leadership as state of Wisconsin EMS Advisory Board chairman from 1992 to 2005, a Governor appointed position, and as State of Wisconsin EMS section chief.
Since 1986, Dan has been a lead organizer of the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin (PSOW), an annual conference for those with ambulance service and EMS leadership responsibilities as administrators, owners, chiefs, officers, directors, managers and medical directors. The September 2017 conference will mark the 30th anniversary for PSOW.