Meet our team ... he has been with the AMS for almost two decades

A progressive organisation with its roots entrenched to invest in the development of people is one of the descriptions that fits our organisation. Our staff member featured today is testimony to this, his role has evolved with time. Gary McCormick who fulfills the role of Quality Manager and Technical Support has been with the organisation just four years shy of two decades. Here’s a look into Gary’s world…

Tell us a little about your growth in the organisation/how did your career start in the aero-medical field? “My time in the aero-medical field started during my military conscription where I was fortunate to fulfill the non-combatant roles of an ICU medical orderly and aero-medical retrieval team member. This was where a good friend of mine introduced me to the course brochure for the National Diploma in Emergency Medical Care – which sold me on the diversity of this vocation from patient care, to vehicle extrication, mountain and sea rescue and of course the aero-medical environment to mention a few - and of course help people in need whilst learning how to do all of these activities. After qualifying I was employed in the then Natal Provincial Ambulance Service as a response paramedic and shortly afterwards another taste of the aero-medical field and got hooked when I realised that I could arrive at a patient’s side a lot quicker and with less adrenaline pumping through my body from the ground response, as well as the ability to literally extend my wings to reach those in need in remote environments. It wasn’t long before I moved to the Free State with a young family to pursue an aero-medical based career in a light helicopter and aeroplane service as well as the better remuneration package in a public-private venture linked to the highlands water scheme. After a few blessed years in the highlands, we decided after a springtime family holiday in the beautiful Cape, to transfer into the private aero-medical sector in Cape Town. It was here I learned about service coordination, international flights and managing a small team of co-workers. But it was not long before the “fickle nature” of private aero-medical services resulted in me jumping planes to another private service and then again into the welcoming arms of the SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS). I came into the AMS as a helicopter flight paramedic and over the years had the privilege of working with fantastic colleagues who valued the humanitarian principles of service delivery across the air ambulance health outreach and rescue domain. 
After a tragic event in our history, my career path changed direction into the developmental role of both professional and technical support, which meandered further into my current role of quality assurance and technical support. It has been an awesome journey so far…”

Describe what you currently do within the organisation: “To keep this brief… I research what our organisational regulations / standards of compliance are, then work together with my colleagues from all AMS departments, although mainly in operations, flight operations, maintenance and training, to establish the systems to ensure we comply with our regulatory requirements and deliver on our client / customer needs, all in support of patient care. The last component of my work is the measurement of our success through internal and external audits together with recommendations for continued improvement towards our organisational goals.”

Where did you grow up, tell us a little about your background: “I was raised, just on the east of Johannesburg (eGoli) by God fearing parents and survived my childhood both in-thanks to and yet also in-spite-of my two elder brothers. But I grew up to a large extent in the Boy Scout Movement and of course once I left home and ventured off to Durban by the sea to study. My growing up has been a lifelong process and I am sure I’ve still got a way to go…”

What do you do in your spare time? “Seriously, who has this…. between my loving gorgeous wife a full house of 3 children -24yr old daughter + boyfriend, 20year old son and 18yr old Matric daughter, 2 dogs, 7 cats (all my wife’s)… I have not had much spare time to enjoy life outside of work and parental duties…. I try to squeeze in some squash, time with friends, family and church…. but ‘our season’ is changing and my wife and I are looking forward to engaging with the outdoors again after some 25yrs (like a blink of the eye)!”

What do you enjoy most about your job? “The end result of all our collective efforts…. making a positive difference in the lives of those we touch!”

What is on your bedside table? “My watch, cell phone - with a number of useful apps – Bible, calendar, weather, news, WhatsApp, email, etc.…, it’s been awhile since a novel has been there although I’m looking forward to that again… oh and my hay fever meds.”

What are your future plans? “To master my current space and then to look for new territory / challenges, along with a shift in my emphasis to spend time with loved ones…. maybe I’m getting old, not!”

What was your first thought when you woke up this morning? “What time is it…. trying to work late last night was a bad idea…”

What is your greatest indulgence? “Family…. and just perhaps more chocolate than exercise.”

What is the habit you are proudest of breaking or want to break? “I’m really trying hard to be a better listener.”

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? “Know whose you are. Secondly that any job is really about working with people… Dr PE Erasmus (2001).”

Any motto you live by? “Do my best, to leave things better than how I found them!”