Brian Scribner, left, will take over for Tim Gray, who is retiring as executive director of Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service at the end of the month. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)
Brian Scribner, left, will take over for Tim Gray, who is retiring as executive director of Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service at the end of the month. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

Archived Story

SMCAS changing leadership

Published 9:16am Monday, June 23, 2014

Director Tim Gray to retire at end of month

Tim Gray will retire as executive director of the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service at the end of the month, making way for a Michiana native to fill his shoes.

Brian Scribner, former director for Life EMS Ambulance in Kalamazoo, will assume the role of executive director on July 1. The SMCAS board chose him out of 25 applicants in late May.

Gray, 47, has been with the municipality-owned ambulance service for 30 years, working in a variety of roles, including operation’s manager from 2004-08 and director since April 2008.

His decision to retire came after having surgery on the first of his elbows during the week of Thanksgiving and after spending part of his recovery in Florida.

Helping reinforce that decision was a growing tension between SMCAS and members of the board of trustees for Niles Township — one of the municipal owners of SMCAS. Niles Township expressed concern with the way SMCAS was run financially and refused to back a feasibility study created by Gray and Niles Fire Chief Larry Lamb for the merging of fire and ambulance services in the area.

Gray said he will be moving to Florida at the end of the month, but would return for the remainder of the summer to work on his home, which he plans to keep.

“(I will) most likely find something fun to do in Florida, possibly as a flight medic or being a paramedic at one of the theme parks, but something not having to deal with politicians that have their own personal agendas,” he said.

Gray said he would miss the great people he has worked with.

“I have given my whole life as a public servant in EMS, fire and police work and have given my heart and soul to helping people,” he said. “I was fortunate to be able to be at SMCAS early on after it started and have been able to see it grow into the great service it is today. We have a great group of paramedics and EMTs here at SMCAS and you couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.”

Scribner, 47, was born at Pawating Hospital (now Lakeland Hospital) in Niles and grew up in the Berrien Springs area.

A paramedic for 25 years, Scribner got his start in Berrien County volunteering for small ambulance services before going to Kalamazoo, where he has been working ever since. In 1998, he became director of Life EMS Ambulance before stepping down from the position in 2012 to devote all his time to pursuing a degree in health care administration.

“I am almost done with school now and this position opened up at the perfect time,” he said.

The reputation of SMCAS drew him to the job.

“It’s always been a high quality ambulance service and it is community based. You have a lot of community support and great people working for it,” he said. “I saw an opportunity to work with an organization where you can create some best practices and build on the excellence they have already established.”

Scribner is in the process of moving from Kalamazoo to the Niles area. He is excited to return to the area where he grew up.

“As I look around, things have changed but it still feels familiar to me,” said Scribner, adding that he can see himself being in the position for a long time.

He will receive a salary of $80,000.

 

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