Thrive & Inspire: At Orion, O’Brien and Patel's Focus Is ‘Families We Transport Every Day’

Thrive & Inspire: At Orion, O’Brien and Patel's Focus Is ‘Families We Transport Every Day’

ORION EMS Vice President Sumi Patel and President/CEO & Founder Gerard O'Brien

DESCRIBE YOUR HIGHLIGHT of 2022. A continuation of our values, our leadership within the industry and the commitment to quality that our customers have come to expect. We remain on a growth trajectory within Houston and are happy to continue to expand our customer base by providing quality care.


How did you lead through Covid and adapt for success? As an EMS company, any public health emergency places us squarely in the spotlight. While this may seem daunting, being ready and able to handle any medical needs for our community is a pillar of ORION. Our friends and neighbors were hurting, and we made a commitment to be there for them, just as we have for the last 15 years. During these last two years, ORION’s leadership team ensured that our medical personnel were fully trained on the latest guidelines in patient care, and we frequently consulted with the leading medical and government authorities. The core mission of ORION did not change: to provide professional, compassionate medical care to every patient.

How did your career journey lead you to EMS? Throughout my life, I have challenged the status quo of various industries. To me, the most insidious thought for any organization is, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” In my career, I’ve consistently rejected the concept that an organization has reached its ceiling of potential impact. Having owned several businesses, my primary strategy has been to identify new efficient and customer-friendly ways to function. My decision to enter EMS was no different; I saw an industry that was too crowded (from a competition standpoint) and barely acknowledging the needs of the people it was supposed to be serving. I founded ORION to be the premier EMS company in Houston by returning the focus of our work to where it should always be — the families that we transport every day.

What’s “the end game” for ORION? The “end” is also our “beginning”: our staff and our patients. Every decision I make with our leadership team is focused on providing the best medical care possible in every transport. We are providing the Houston region with safe, reliable care for their loved ones while showing the public, and the EMS industry, what an ambulance service should be.

Describe ORION’s “win-win strategy” in the community. Our strategy centers on people — our staff, our hospital clients, and our patients. The EMS industry is so unique because, by definition, people come to us at difficult moments. ORION has a reputation for not only the quality of care we provide, but in the kindness and empathy shown by each employee. We would not have existed in this industry for as long as we have without being a bright light for the people of Houston when they need us.

What are your favorite aspects of your team? Without question, my favorite aspect is that ORION’s leadership team is entirely “homegrown.” Beginning with Vice President Sumi Patel, every senior leader started their career with ORION at a different level and has earned promotion to their current role. Those shared experiences create exceptionally strong bonds between us, and it ensures that we come to work focused on the same goals each day. Sumi has been standing with me since the beginning of ORION 15 years ago, and her commitment to excellence is, truly, unparalleled.

What makes you excited for 2023? The year 2023 is shaping up to have the same dynamic aspects that impact all EMS companies across the industry. We are excited that our stability in the marketplace, the leadership that guides our company and our continued quality of service will carry us through any challenges that may arise.

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