Job title: Director, Clinical Operations, STARS Air Ambulance
Why he's a 2016 Top 40:
In his role as chairman of the Association of Air Medical Services and as a director with STARS Air Ambulance, Evans has helped improve life-saving protocols and procedures. A trained paramedic, he has also helped countless patients through medical emergencies.
photograph by Jared Sych. Photographed at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.
At the age when kids dream of being firefighters or police officers, Dave Evans was in love with a different siren-wailing profession.
“Ever since I was two years old, I admired ambulances. From junior high all through high school, I knew that was the career I wanted to go into,” says Evans.
He began his career as a paramedic with the City of Calgary. Then, in 2007, he became a flight paramedic with Calgary’s Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS). This experience has given him a wealth of knowledge, which he’s used to improve patient care and procedures in his current role as director of clinical operations with the air-ambulance non-profit, a role he’s held since 2013.
Part of Evans’ job is to constantly re-evaluate the way STARS operates, making adjustments big and small in order to improve care. Two years ago, STARS needed new transport ventilators, the implementation of which would be a significant strain on the organization. Evans spearheaded and provided oversight for a project that quickly and efficiently brought in state-of-the-art ventilators that allow for better support for critical patients.
In addition, Evans coordinated emergency deployments to Manitoba during the severe flooding that hit the province in 2009 and 2011, helping save numerous lives. These efforts helped STARS expand from three bases in Alberta to six across the prairies, doubling the number of employed medics and nurses to 115.
When asked if there was a particular case he’s proud of, Evans mentions a young boy STARS picked up in Manitoba during the 2009 flood who had been underwater for more than 30 minutes. “We did critical care, transported him to Winnipeg and no one gave up on this kid. We got news shortly after that he was talking, which we didn’t think would happen,” says Evans. “Two years later, we got to meet his family. It’s hard to put words to what that actually means, all the thank yous and the tears.
“It’s humbling, but that’s what makes you want to get up every day and go to work.” — Andrew Guilbert