Former Aiken County paramedic Daryl Davis said he saw himself serving in a higher role within the Aiken County EMS department.
Davis will now have that opportunity, because in the next two weeks, he will assume the role of EMS coordinator with Aiken County, overseeing the department's budget, paramedics and day-to-day operations.
The position was held by former EMS Coordinator Harvey Jay who resigned/retired last month after serving 39 years with Aiken County.
To prepare for his new position, Davis knew he had to find a steppingstone.
Davis served as the head of EMS services with Fort Gordon for almost two years, after a more than 10-year post as an Aiken County paramedic.
Assistant County Administrator Andy Merriman said Davis was the best pick for the job, because he not only worked with the County government, but his background was unique.
“He's a reservist with the U.S. Air Force – he's served overseas – so you have this unique leadership experience that we thought would mesh well with our staff,” Merriman said. “You don't find many folks with that. In Daryl's case, he's been with one organization, led another in Fort Gordon and served in the military.”
Davis will face obstacles in his new position, including retention and the seldom closure of EMS stations.
But Davis said there are issues he wants to fix.
“I feel that, if the management becomes a team approach and we can build that trust through teamwork, those employees will come and fill those positions and make Aiken County a shining star in the state of South Carolina,” Davis said. “These guys out here do an awesome job, and they do things that probably the public isn't too aware of what they go through.”
Part of Davis' goals is to make public awareness within the department a priority, be more involved with various public safety departments and build a good, strong working relationship with all employees.
Despite Davis' long-term career with the U.S. Air Force Reserves, he said there will be no “tight ship,” but “what's good for him, will be good for the lowest employee coming in.”
“I think the public has a right to expect the best, and my priority is the citizens of Aiken County and my employees who work with me – notice I say work with me,” Davis said. “Between community support and what County Council has done for us so far, it can only get better.”
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard.