Mary E. Meeks Selected as the 2024 – 25 Recipient of the Jack Stout EMS Fellowship for Leadership Development

Mary Meeks

Mary E. Meeks Selected as the 2024 – 25 Recipient of the Jack Stout EMS Fellowship for Leadership Development

PLATTE CITY, MO — Mary E. Meeks, EMS District Chief for Chatham Emergency Services (CES), headquartered in Savannah, Ga., has been named the 2024 – 25 recipient of the Jack Stout EMS Fellowship. Endowed by FirstWatch, the Fellowship was created in collaboration with the Fitch EMS Foundation. The Fellowship is named in honor of the late Jack Stout, widely regarded as the father of high-performance EMS systems. It aims to provide a platform for chosen individuals to acquire knowledge of Stout’s core principles: people-centered leadership, data-driven decision-making, impactful quality improvement, and holistic system-wide thinking.

Founded in 1961, CES is a community-based nonprofit fire and EMS agency that serves Chatham County in Georgia. CES operates with a team of 450 personnel, both paid and volunteer, answering more than 74,000 fire and EMS calls each year.

Using Date to Accentuate the Humanity of EMS Work

When asked what she hoped for from her Fellowship, Meeks said, “One of my mantras is ‘hope is not an operational plan.’ So, I want to gain a deep understanding of the Public Utility Model and learn about a metrics-driven approach. I want to be able to create change using data without losing the human element.”

“Mary is exactly the kind of emerging leader Jack Stout loved,” said Mike Taigman, Improvement Guide at FirstWatch and the chief mentor for the Stout Fellowship Program. “Her passion for taking care of her team so they can take good care of their community, combined with an insatiable curiosity, inspires hope for the future of our profession.”

Todd Stout, the son of Jack Stout and president/founder of FirstWatch, said he is deeply appreciative that his father’s principles live on through programs like the Jack Stout EMS Fellowship. “We had more than 30 highly qualified nominations,” Stout said. “We’re happy for Mary and are grateful to be able to give back to the EMS profession.”

“Mary’s been a rock-solid part of CES for 10 years, starting as an EMT-B and working up to EMS District Chief,” said Chuck Kearns, CEO of Chatham Emergency Services. “She is an emerging leader in our organization, and I’m delighted she was selected for this Fellowship named for the great pioneer Jack Stout. I had the privilege of working with Jack, and Mary has much to learn from his impressive body of work.”

What the Fellowship Offers

Jack Stout Fellows attend the Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum and either the Fitch Ambulance Service Manager (ASM) program or the Communication Center Manager (CCM) program with registration and all expenses covered by FirstWatch. The Fellowship is customized to each winner, with a curriculum designed to meet their specific interests and needs. This includes selecting mentors with specific expertise from the FirstWatch leadership team and from across the industry.

Nominations for the 2025 – 2026 Fellowship will be open starting in February 2025. For more information and to apply, go to and select the Jack Stout EMS Fellowship, endowed by FirstWatch.


About the Fitch EMS Foundation

The Fitch EMS Foundation is a non-profit entity that supports leadership development and research efforts for emergency medical services and public safety. It is endowed by Fitch & Associates, other major organizations, and individuals that believe that the future of our profession requires the aggressive development of its future leaders.

About the Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum

Now in its 19th year, Pinnacle is the only leadership-focused national meeting that serves all EMS service models. Always located in a retreat-like setting, the conference is renowned for its networking, mentoring, and cutting-edge program. This year’s Pinnacle will be at the JW Marriott Beach Resort at Marco Island in Florida August 12 – 16.

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