Thrive + Inspire: ‘Empowerment of Employees’ Crucial at O’Brien’s Orion EMS

Gerard O'Brien

AN INTERVIEW WITH Gerard O'Brien, President/CEO & Founder of Orion EMS

What were your biggest challenges of 2020? As an EMS company, we take seriously our duty to the community to provide safe, reliable medical service and transports. The coronavirus pandemic reinforced the call to selfless service present in our staff. Also, I understand my obligation to my people to ensure that they are safe in their health and secure in their jobs. To that end, I directed several strategic business decisions that preserved our ability to serve Houston not only during this pandemic but also into the future.


How did you adjust to overcome obstacles? While other industries shut down, ours experienced tremendous demand; however, we faced significant challenges in supply chain disruption and staffing. It took the adaptability of our management and staff to maintain continuity of service. Working with city and state public officials and local medical experts, we constantly analyzed the available data in order to predict the trends of the medical needs of Houston.

What is your secret to staying hopeful in tough times? What keeps me centered each day is my sincere belief in the mission of ORION, a key element of which is my empowerment of employees to create a distinct atmosphere within their department that fosters a self-sustaining culture of achievement and success. There is nothing about the current world environment to prevent us from upholding our 13-year tradition of excellence.

What were some of the key lessons learned last year? I continue to be amazed at the resiliency of this community and its ability to persevere. The seven million people of this city are, ultimately, united by that strongest of bonds — basic human compassion for each other. I witnessed the unyielding strength of my staff in upholding ORION's principles of safe medical transport and elite customer service. We were there to remind each other: The rain always stops; the darkness always fades; the sun always rises.

What new projects have you most excited in 2021? This year, I am serving as the President of the Texas Ambulance Association, and the 2021 legislative session in Austin promises to be one of the most important for EMS in recent memory. We are happy to have many advocates who recognize the need for a strong and united EMS industry to serve the people of Texas. Personally, I am very excited about several opportunities for ORION to augment our market share and diversify our services for the region. Soon, we will debut our Concierge Service, allowing patients to choose their destination facility. Throughout 2021, I, and ORION, stand strong and ready to do all that we can for the people of Houston.

AN INTERVIEW WITH Jon Heine President of Houston Market, Veritex Community Bank

What were your biggest challenges of 2020? Without question the biggest challenge was pivoting from the playbook we had to begin 2020 in order to quickly address the immediate needs of our clients, colleagues and communities. Working with our customers to provide loan payment deferrals and PPP loans through the SBA Payroll Protection Program (Veritex Bank provided over $400 million to 2,100 clients in Round 1) became the immediate priority. This involved a Herculean effort from over 120 of our colleagues in various departments of the Bank who raised their hand to assist not because of an opportunity, but out of obligation to the communities we serve.

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