I’m Tony Smith, currently a Field Captain at ATCEMS. My experience and EMS educational background totals to 24 years as a paramedic, including six as a flight medic. I hold both the Flight Paramedic (FP-C) and Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) certifications, earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety Management from St. Edward’s University, and am currently working on my Master’s in Public Safety Leadership and Administration at Arizona State University. When not at work, you can find me at Avery Ranch golf course or at home studying.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to Austin?
I am originally from southern California. I was hired by ATCEMS in 2011.
What inspired you to become a medic/What attracted you to this career choice?
I wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of others. There is a lot of autonomy as a paramedic, and everyday is something different.
How long have you been with ATCEMS and what motivated you to work here?
I’ve been with ATCEMS almost eight years. The level of patient care, the opportunities that are available in the department, and the highly regarded reputation of ATCEMS were the motivating factors in my decision.
What is your favorite part about working here at ATCEMS?
Three things: Having the opportunity to work with my son, my other co-workers, and the many different things you can do within the department. I’ve worked some unbelievable overtime assignments, including meeting and shaking the hand of PGA great, Phil Mickelson.
If you had guests visiting Austin for the weekend, where is the first place you would take them?
I think anyone visiting Austin needs to experience 6th Street on a Friday or Saturday night, particularly since Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World.
What is your favorite taco joint in town?
El Jeffe’s taco truck next to fire station 17.
What do you do on your days to relax and unwind?
I play a lot of golf, and now that I have a granddaughter turning two, my wife and I enjoy spending time with her.
Who inspires you?
Both my late grandfather and father-in-law. My grandfather served his country proudly in the Navy, attended UCLA, owned his own company, was a great family man, and taught me the game of golf. My late father-in-law immigrated here from Mexico, worked as a plasterer for the city of Los Angeles for over 30 years, and not only exemplified hard work, but also embodied kindness.
What is the next place you would like to visit? Why?
Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin. On top of being iconic, the serenity there looks amazing.
Word of advice for an aspiring medic?
I’ll use a quote from Patch Adams since I can’t say it any better. “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win no matter what the outcome.”
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This publication features ATCEMS work culture and the lives of our medics. *Readings from other publications posted to Medium do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Austin-Travis County EMS, the City of Austin, or Travis County*