PennWell Announces 2014 Recipient of James O. Page/JEMS Award

La Jolla, Calif., February 27, 2014 … PennWell is proud to announce Gary Ludwig, Deputy Fire Chief with the Memphis Fire Department, as the 2014 recipient of the James O. Page/JEMS EMS Award. The award was presented at the annual EMS Today Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C., produced by PennWell and its publication JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services).

The James O. Page/JEMS EMS Award, presented annually at the event, is given to individuals or agencies who have exhibited the drive and tenacious effort necessary to develop improved EMS systems, resolve important EMS issues and bring about positive EMS system changes.

The award winner receives airfare, registration and hotel accommodations for the EMS Today Conference and a $1,000 prize along with a stunning crystal award.

Eight years ago, the Memphis Fire Department (MFD) was in need of a complete transformation following a commissioned consulting study, which verified major issues in the EMS system and made 38 recommendations for improvement. Since there was no one in a senior management position directly addressing EMS issues, Fire Director Richard Arwood set out to recruit and hire a deputy fire chief. Enter Gary Ludwig, who had 25 years of EMS experience working in St. Louis, where he retired as the chief paramedic for the St. Louis Fire Department.

Chief Ludwig hit the ground running by developing a three-year plan that added 42 new EMS positions, including 36 lieutenants, five battalion chiefs and one division chief dedicated to EMS. The new positions would be assigned to field operations, training and administration, would be filled through a competitive process, and only firefighters who held a paramedic certification would be eligible. At the three-year mark, each shift had five EMS lieutenants and one battalion chief who not only provided supervision, but coaching and mentoring as well.

Additionally, prior to Ludwig’s assignment the MFD had only hired firefighters—and no paramedics—within a span of five years. Moreover, the paramedic ranks were in decline due to firings, resignations or promotions. Under Ludwig, the MFD’s short-term plan was to hire from the outside, while the long-term plan was for Memphis to train its own paramedics. Ludwig worked with state representatives to allow the MFD to conduct its own paramedic training program, which now boasts a 98% pass rate on the National Registry. In addition to the paramedic education program, the MFD also teaches EMTs, is a certified American Heart Association education center, and is the only fire department in the United States authorized by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) to issue their own CEUs.

Eight years later, the MFD EMS system has been totally transformed into a model fire-based EMS system. Today there are almost 500 firefighter/paramedics and over 1,100 firefighter/EMTs. All 56 engine companies and 36 front-line ambulances are ALS capable every day. When you add the five lieutenants and the one battalion chief, there are 98 ALS-capable vehicles in Memphis each day. This allows the MFD to deliver ALS care with an average response time of four minutes anywhere in the city. Due to these countless successes, it’s not uncommon for other EMS systems to travel to Memphis and spend several days learning the system and taking ideas back to their own communities.

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, said that “Chief Ludwig epitomizes the leadership, innovations and sacrifices that Jim Page felt were essential for EMS to advance. Ludwig is not only a dedicated EMS chief who wants his agency to excel; he is sincerely interested in the people on the street that do a majority of the work and credits them, more than himself, for the great success of the Memphis Fire Department in the delivery of optimal EMS.  He rides to calls on his off-office times and truly listens to the people who work for him.  He also works closely with his Medical Director, Dr. Joe Holley, and has fully integrated Dr. Holley as an integral part of the city’s EMS system, unlike many agencies that that limit their medical director to oversight, quality assurance and protocol development. This is the true mark of an EMS leader.”

The award, named for JEMS founder James O. Page, was created in 2003 to encourage EMS professionals to work toward improvements in prehospital care. As EMS leaders everywhere will attest, Page's influence on EMS is truly unequaled. From his writing and advisory role on the TV show Emergency! to his legendary essays and speeches, Page created an incredible legacy—one that continues to grow as the award is bestowed each year. Jim Page passed away on September 4, 2004, but his spirit continues through the work of people like Chief Ludwig.

For more information on EMS Today, the James O. Page/JEMS award or the nomination process, please visit the JEMS website at

PennWell Public Safety, a PennWell business located in La Jolla, Calif., produces public safety products and services including JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services), FireRescue Magazine, Law Officer, EMS Today Conference and Exposition,,, and other products.

About PennWell Corporation
Founded in 1910 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, PennWell Corporation is a privately held and highly diversified business-to-business media and information company that provides quality content and integrated marketing solutions for the following industries:  Oil and gas, electric power generation and delivery, hydropower, renewable energy, water and wastewater treatment, waste management, electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, optoelectronics, fiber-optics, aerospace and avionics, LEDs and lighting, fire and emergency services, public safety, and dental.  PennWell publishes over 130 print and online magazines and newsletters, conducts 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and has an extensive offering of books, maps, websites, research and database services.  In addition to PennWell's headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Company has major offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; London, England; Houston, Texas; San Diego and Mountain View, California; Fairlawn, New Jersey; Moscow, Russia; and Hong Kong, China.