Chief Kelly Cope Recognized as Emerging EMS Leader

Inspiring EMS leadership welcomes new achievements as Kelly Cope, a recent Ambulance Service Manager graduate from Fitch & Associates, was recognized with the Pinnacle Emerging EMS Leader Award, which honors rising executives in EMS who demonstrate excellence in the profession. Currently, Cope serves as Chief Executive Officer for Saint Charles County Ambulance District in Missouri, which is the state’s largest ambulance district, serving more than 400,000 citizens.

“I’m very proud to know Kelly and have had the privilege of teaching Pinnacle Power Seminars with him over the past few years, including one just this week,” said Anthony Minge, Fitch & Associates Senior Partner and Pinnacle Co-chair. “Kelly is a well-read individual, and he enjoys sharing the wealth of leadership knowledge he has absorbed and retained over the years.”

Cope began his career after taking an EMT course on a whim during college. He fell in love with EMS, and shortly thereafter began his paramedic training while working as an EMT in a super-rural Missouri community. Cope completed his paramedic training while working at a hospital-based program in urban Saint Louis and continued working in the high-volume, fast-paced urban environment for several years before moving to Saint Charles Ambulance District.

There, he served as a front-line paramedic and started taking on additional responsibility with special projects, including the implementation of electronic charting.

A voracious reader, he takes every opportunity to listen to business and leadership books, whether in the car or at home. He applied those leadership principles in his career as he took on increasing responsibility. He was elected Executive Steward of the Union before transitioning to management and serving as the Battalion Chief overseeing non-emergency transport, where he relished the role of training and mentoring younger personnel. He was later promoted to Assistant Chief of Operations, where he oversaw planning and construction of a new $32 million, 140,000 square foot operations and training facility, which opened shortly after he was promoted to Chief Executive Officer earlier this year.

He is passionate about his own leadership development, and in developing leaders around him. He recently launched an endeavor at (Saint Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) to create a multi-part series of education for its leadership team designed to give a more well-rounded perspective of their operations and of the EMS industry.

Cope is a 2019 graduate of the Ambulance Service Manager program and a graduate of the Priority Ambulance Foundation’s EMS Leadership of Tomorrow program. He has also been recognized as the Missouri EMS Association’s Paramedic of the Year.

Cope was recognized on Tuesday, Aug. 10 during the 15th annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix.