SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – Graham Judd is aware the career of a paramedic typically only spans a handful of years.
But Judd, Western Nebraska Community College’s new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program director, is not interested in directing a typical program.
“I want this to be a place that creates careers,” Judd said. “I want this program to instill the love and passion for EMS that I have.”
Judd, a Florida native and licensed paramedic, has built a career in EMS for the last 11 years, finding his love for the field in 2007 on a drive home from a coffee shop in Florida. On his way, Judd passed a vehicle-bicyclist accident and pulled over to offer his assistance.
Over the next several minutes, Judd saw first-hand the impact and control the EMS had on the situation.
“It was really hands-on for me,” Judd said. “I wound up with blood on my hands as a result of that. When I saw EMS get involved and I saw what they did, I thought, ‘That’s cool. I want to know how to do that.’”
Judd earned his EMT certification later that year, and his paramedic license in 2009. He served as an EMT in the area for five years, before his pressure washing business took off.
But he couldn’t stay away long. Within twyears, Judd sold his business so he could return to his passion - EMS.
“I went from making $100,000 a year to making $11 an hour, because for me, it was worth the pay cut for the job satisfaction,” Judd said.
During his time in Florida, Judd graduated from the Polk State College EMS program in Winter Haven, Fla., with an Associate of Science degree in Emergency Medical Services, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Southeastern University, and is currently pursuing his MBA in healthcare administration.
Now, Judd brings those 11 years of experience – and passion – in EMS to WNCC, which kicked off its paramedic program last year. Through just a couple of weeks on the job, Judd has begun to identify and map out lasting goals for the program.
At the top of the list for Judd is earning national accreditation status for WNCC, which would allow the program’s graduates to test for the national exam and earn jobs around the nation.
“That is going to be huge,” Judd said.
Beyond working toward earning national accreditation, Judd is also in the midst of developing a skills checklist, forming an EMS advisory committee, and producing additional courses to be implemented within the program down the line.
Plus, he’s made a point to make contact with a number of industry partners around the area.
“We are very ambitious, we are being very aggressive, and we are moving forward at absolute breakneck pace,” he said. “I think this is going to be a huge opportunity for the College, and I think it’s going to be a huge opportunity for those in the region who are looking to pursue a career in emergency medical services.
“I think ultimately we’re going to start seeing virtually an immediate return from implementing this.”
Judd moved to Scottsbluff in May and will be joined by his wife, Misty, and four of their six kids later this summer. The oldest two kids will be attending college in Tennessee.
Registration is open for all interested in WNCC’s EMS, emergency medical responder (EMR), and paramedic fall courses. For more information on the program, contact Judd by phone at 308-635-6782 or by email at [email protected]