You Can Come Home Again

Dan Williams

When the Door County Emergency Services Committee held its regular monthly meeting the morning of Feb. 13, members got a chance to meet Dan Williams, the man who, with the county board’s approval on Feb. 25, will take over leadership of the county’s Emergency Services department. It’s a role he’s familiar with since he held the position from 1986 through 2001.

“I think we’ve hit a home run with the addition of Dan Williams,” County Administrator Maureen Murphy said in introducing Williams to the committee.

Williams is well known to emergency medical services personnel throughout Wisconsin. He is known for leading and managing the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin conference since 1986. He is the founder of the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin. In 2006, Williams was named by the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin as its first honorary lifetime member.

Williams began his emergency services career as an EMT/volunteer firefighter in 1972, and in 1977 was among the first group of EMTs to earn a paramedic license. From 1975 through 1986 he was an EMS instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Since 1983 he has been an EMS planner and consultant. From November 2003 to March 2007 he served as chief of Emergency Medical Services for the State of Wisconsin, then served as corporate compliance officer and special projects director for the Flight for Life emergency transport system, and from June 2009 to Jan. 2013 was program director for the University of Wisconsin’s Med Flight program.

The word was that Williams was retiring when he left UW’s Med Flight program a year ago.

“Well, I tried to retire a couple of times and I just feel like I have too much energy. I still think I have some things to offer to this profession,” he said.

Door County Emergency Medical Services Operations Manager Anthony Luchini, who joined the county’s EMS department last spring, has served as interim director since the abrupt departure of department head Eric Christensen on Oct. 11, 2013, after 18 months in the position. The county’s official account of his departure simply stated that he “resigned to pursue other opportunities.”

“The experience I’ve gathered the 40-plus years I’ve been doing this work, I’ve seen almost everything you can see. I think that background will help me here,” Williams said. “I think there are some issues I can help them with and I appreciate their confidence in me.

“I love what I do,” he added. “I’m lucky because I’ve never in this profession gone to work wishing I didn’t have to go to work. You’re lucky when you have that in your life.”