By Samantha Hilker
Jonathan “Mark” Lockhart started as the EMS Section Chief on May 29, 2018. I had the opportunity to speak with him about his history in EMS, and his hopes for Wisconsin.
S: Mark, we saw the short bio and description come out from the state when your acceptance of the position was announced, but can you share a little bit more with us about your history in EMS?
M: Well, I initially got my start with EMS as a Boy Scout explorer in high school. My 36 year EMS career jumped off in 1982 when I started as a volunteer EMT with a service outside of St. Louis, MO. From there, I was hired by a fire department in 1983, about six months after I had finished paramedic school. I stayed with that fire district for eight years. I also flew with the air medical service during that time (for about 1.5 years) then started teaching and doing some quality assurance in St. Louis County. Working with QA and teaching led me to a full-time position within the hospital full time as the Director of EMS Education. As part of this role, I worked very closely with Medical Control which included writing policy, procedure, and protocol. After some time, the fire department I had previously spent eight years with asked me to come back as their EMS Chief, and I did for the next 12 years. The Chief retired and, after acting as interim Chief, I was appointed as Fire Chief. I began thinking about how I had been in the same area for my entire life, and it was time for a change of scenery. That is what led me to the for Stafford County, VA, where I have been for the past five years as Fire and EMS Chief and two years as an Assistant Chief before that.
S: What made you want to come to Wisconsin?
M: My passion has always been EMS, so after 36 years in the fire service, and some soul searching, I had a bit of an epiphany and decided to refocus on that passion and get back to what I genuinely love doing. I saw the position posted for Wisconsin and thought it seemed like a natural fit. I had heard and read a lot of great things about the EMS system in Wisconsin regarding how progressive it is, including the legislative changes that went through last year, and the community EMS initiative that is taking root. I’m excited to be here and be a part of it.
S: Now that you’ve been in Wisconsin and the role for a few weeks, what are your initial thoughts and goals for EMS in Wisconsin?
M: I had the opportunity to attend my first round of EMS meetings at the beginning of June, and I’ve already learned a lot. I enjoyed the opportunity to listen, learn and get a feel for the perspectives represented. I look forward to working with everyone to move EMS in Wisconsin forward.
S: What do the EMS providers in Wisconsin need to know about you, and your plans for us?
M: I come from a really broad background in that I’ve worked for rural, volunteer, career fire, air medical and hospital services. I have also been involved with professional associations at a local, state and national level. I am very blessed to have seen EMS in many different settings and from many different perspectives, and I want to be able to leverage that experience here so we can build on what is already a very solid foundation. I believe there are significant opportunities for further growth and development. I am excited about what I am hearing discussed in meetings and around WI, and happy to have met everyone so far. I look forward to meeting more EMS providers from around the state and working with the local trauma advisory councils as well.
While it was a short conversation with Mark, his energy and excitement were apparent. He brings a diverse history and perspective to the table, and I believe he wants to make a positive impact on Wisconsin EMS. PAAW looks forward to working with him in the years to come.
If you have questions for Mark, you can contact him at Jonathan.Lockhart@wisconsin.gov