March 8, 2023 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock
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Pafford Medical Services Inc.

Pafford Medical Services Inc.
Category IV (151-499 Employees)

Starting as a small family business in 1967, Pafford Medical Services Inc. of Hope has grown into one of the largest private ambulance providers in the country. 

James and Carol Pafford founded the company under the name Pafford Ambulance Service with a station wagon ambulance donated by Magnolia city officials.  

The Paffords’ daughter, Jamie Pafford-Gresham, who grew up working for the ambulance provider, took over the company’s Arkansas locations as CEO in 1997, at a time when it served three Arkansas counties and three parishes in Louisiana. 

Pafford-Gresham and her brothers, Greg Pafford and John Pafford, became owners of the company and have expanded it into companies providing advanced life-support emergency ambulance services to more than 80 locations with 230 ambulances in five states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Pafford-Gresham’s brothers own Pafford EMS divisions in Louisiana and Mississippi.

In 2022, Pafford Medical added contracts to cover areas in Saline, Faulkner and Benton counties, giving it 17 counties in Arkansas. In Arkansas, Pafford Medical has about 500 employees and about 1,600 workers under all its brands. 

Pafford-Gresham’s segment saw an increase of 143% in revenue from 2019. 

She said she didn’t plan for the company to grow as large as it has. “But when the call for help comes out, it just seems natural for us to go take care of business, whether it’s a hurricane or another county,” she said. 

COVID was a difficult time for the ambulance industry. “We worked very hard to make sure that we could pay the bills and continue to provide services for our community,” she said. 

In 2021, Pafford Medical was awarded the prestigious National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ Dick Ferneau EMS Career Service of the Year Award for the company’s work during the pandemic and Pafford-Gresham’s advocacy for rural EMS service. “We realized early on that we had to take care of our people, our crews and our communities,” Pafford-Gresham said. 

She credits Pafford Medical’s employees for winning the award and its success. “My best assets are the men and women of Pafford,” she said. “Everybody found out [during COVID] that we are the Swiss Army knife of health care professionals.”

Previous Arkansas Business of the Year Honorees