Shane Garrison, who founded Puckett EMS with Steve Puckett in 2001, said their crew was called to the home of a 46-year-old man last Wednesday in response to what was later determined to be a major heart attack.
“During transport the patient started to deteriorate,” Garrison said. “But probably 300 yards from the emergency room, the ambulance experienced a sudden engine failure, loss of power and everything shut down.”
The closest ambulance was about three miles away and paramedics had no time to waste. They quickly got the man out of the ambulance and rolled him on the stretcher the entire 300 yards and into the emergency room at WellStar Cobb Hospital on Austell Road.
“They continued providing the life-saving interventions on the way, and as soon as he went into the emergency room, he went into cardiac arrest,” Garrison said. In his 25 years in emergency services, he’d never heard of an incident like this, he said.
The paramedics recognized for saving the man’s life were Vicki Borgia, Chris Gudaitis and Ben Meadows.
“The outcome could have been fatal,” Garrison said. “That’s just a highly stressful situation, and when you have someone dying in front of you and you can make those quick decisions, that’s amazing.”
Garrison said it’s employees like Borgia, Gudaitis and Meadows who have led to the company’s success and why they deserve the credit for Puckett EMS receiving the 2013 award.
“We want to just make sure that our employees, the 200 folks that really make Puckett EMS, are recognized,” he said. “Without them, this would not be possible. They are just an amazing group of people.”
Small Business of the Year honor
Puckett EMS was one of 49 applicants and 162 nominations submitted for this year’s honor.
Drew Tonsmeire with the Kennesaw State University Small Business Development Center said the criteria they examine includes staying power, employment growth, financial standing, innovation and community service.
Andy Crowe, the owner of 2012’s winner, Velociteach, said Puckett was honored for being a leader in its industry and its dedication to the community it serves.
“The company is committed to its customers and sets a standard for other businesses to follow,” he said. “That’s an outstanding company (Puckett) built and well worthy of being named Cobb Chamber’s 2013 Small Business of the Year.”
A shocked Steve Puckett thanked the chamber for the honor and credited his more than 200 employees for making this possible.
“Wow!” he said while addressing the crowd. “It’s a great honor to have won this award, but I have to give most of the credit to the employees and management of Puckett EMS. They are the ones who make this possible. We have an awesome team.”
Puckett EMS’s 37 ambulances serve southwest Cobb, Douglas and Paulding counties, other metro Atlanta communities and parts of Chattanooga, Tenn. They are contracted through WellStar Cobb Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.
The company was also honored for its Ambu-TRAK product, now called Operative IQ, which is an electronic inventory software tracking program that was created when the company was attempting to cut expenses.
Today, Operative IQ is one of the largest suppliers of inventory control software for fire and emergency responders in North America with more than 3,300 licenses sold.
The Austell-based company was also recognized for its 200-plus hours of community service hours conducted in 2012 and the more than $30,000 in charitable donations made last year.
Puckett EMS was one of five finalists for the 31st annual award.
Other finalists were Genesis Elevator Co. of Acworth, LOUD Security of Kennesaw, Mopdog Creative + Strategy of Kennesaw and RYECO Inc. of Marietta.
The other Top 25 recipients were: Beaumont Products Inc., Blue Sky Exhibits LLC, Brookmeade Healthcare, Buildrite Construction, The Color Spot Inc., Cumberland Diamond Exchange, Deluxe Athletics LLC, Dogma Dog Care, Fulfillment Strategies International Inc., Gaskins Surveying & Engineering Co., Glory Haus Inc., IAG Forensics, Lase’R Ventures Inc., Moore Colson, North Georgia Staffing, Omega Learning Center Acworth, RE/MAX PURE — The Wendy Bunch Team, RGI Inc., United Medical Response and Veterinary Products Inc.