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South County EMS

Former BHA manager offered South County EMS director job

DEERFIELD — The job of director of the South County Emergency Medical Services Department will be offered to William Travis.

“Patient service is my passion. It’s what I love, it’s what I do,” Travis said in a public job interview Friday.

Travis, a former general manager of Baystate Health Ambulance, is currently a paramedic with Action Ambulance Service of Pittsfield and Village Ambulance Service of Williamstown.

Pending contract negotiations, Travis could be the first director of the regional ambulance service for Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately.

Travis said he got his start in emergency services as a matter of happenstance.

“In 1981, I lived next door to the Gill Fire Department. They used a siren to call the firefighters in, and I figured if it was going to go off at 2 a.m., I may as well join them,” he said. “I found that I had a passion for it, so I took every class in emergency medical services that I could.”

He decided to pursue full-time work in public safety, and found it as a basic emergency medical technician for Mercy Ambulance, the precursor to BHA. He worked his way through the ranks, becoming a licensed paramedic before taking more managerial roles.

He learned to manage a fleet of ambulances, multi-million dollar budgets, and a staff of up to 100 as operations manager for the Greenfield and Springfield branches of BHA. In 2009, he was promoted to general manager, and stayed until last year, leaving to become a full-time paramedic again.

“I missed the patient care,” he explained.

Travis was one of two final candidates for the position. A search committee sorted through dozens of applications before recommending Travis and Zachary Smith to the South County EMS Board of Oversight.

Smith is a paramedic and 13-year veteran of Deerfield’s ambulance service and a Sunderland police officer. He is also a consultant who trains others in tactical applications of medical response.

Both were enthusiastic during their two-hour public job interview Friday night, where they fielded questions from the Board of Oversight and public safety workers and residents of the three towns.

In the end, it was Travis’ extensive experience that set him apart from Smith, according to Board of Oversight member and Sunderland Fire Chief Robert Ahearn.

Before Travis becomes director, he must negotiate a contract with the Board of Oversight.

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