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Jamie Pafford-Gresham was born into the ambulance business.
Her parents formed the ambulance service that would become Pafford Medical Services Inc. of Hope in 1967, and two years later she was born. “I have literally heard the word ‘ambulance’ every day of my life,” Pafford-Gresham said. “And it was pretty obvious that being a part of the family business was a natural choice for me.”
Growing up, she was involved in various aspects of the business, from working on the ambulances to billing.
She 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 Arkansas, Pafford Medical has just under 500 employees that include paramedics, nurses and dispatchers.
Pafford-Gresham’s segment saw an increase of 143% in revenue from 2019.
In 2021, Pafford Medical Services was awarded the prestigious National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ Dick Ferneau EMS Career Service of the Year Award for the company’s service during COVID 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 take care of our communities,” she said. She said the credit for the award goes to the employees.
For nearly 30 years, she served in various roles for the American Ambulance Association of Arlington, Virginia. She was recently elected president-elect, its name for vice president.
She also serves on the Arkansas 911 Board and the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Foundation.
Pafford-Gresham said she enjoys helping others. “God gave me big shoulders to carry the burdens of others some days, and I find it easy to do,” she said. “And so managing emergencies comes natural, and I don’t know anything else I would do.”