EY (Ernst & Young Global Limited) has announced Mark Brewster, President and CEO of Brewster Ambulance Service as a semifinalist in the Entrepreneur Of the Year 2018 New England Awards program. As the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Of The Year has been at the forefront of identifying gamechanging business leaders for the past 32 years.
The program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, John Mackey of Whole Foods Market Inc., Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn Corporation and Mindy Grossman of HSN, Inc. We’re honored to have Mark recognized among so many other notable business luminaries in New England.
Fast Facts About the Program
- The Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program takes place in more than 145 cities in 60 countries around the world
- Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs
- For more than 32 years, EY has been at the forefront of identifying game-changing business leaders and celebrating American ingenuity
- Past leaders have disrupted industries, created new product categories and successfully brought new innovation and technology to traditional industries
- The program makes a difference by encouraging entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement
- Prior winners from New England include New Balance, Vistaprint, L.L. Bean, Akamai, TripAdvisor, Planet Fitness, Staples and HubSpot
- The Entrepreneur Of The Year program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as financial performance, innovation and commitment to their businesses and communities
- Entrepreneur Of The Year is the only competitive awards program in the world for entrepreneurs and leaders of high‑growth companies
- To be eligible for an Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, the nominee must be the manager or owner of a private or public company and be primarily responsible for the company’s recent performance
- The independent judging panel includes previous award winners, leading CEOs, private equity and venture capital investors, and other regional business luminaries
- The New England award recipients are announced at a black‑tie gala held on June 28, 2018
- Regional award winners are eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards in Palm Springs, California, on November 10, 2018
- The US overall award winner will go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in Monaco in June 2019
Where it all started
Founded in 1906 by brothers George Jr. and Mark Brewster’s great-great grandfather, Brewster Ambulance Service grew to be one of the most well-respected private ambulance companies in the Commonwealth. In 1997, the brothers’ father, George Brewster Sr., sold the company to Laidlaw, Inc., a Canadian company. At the time, both George Jr. and Mark Brewster worked for Brewster Ambulance as EMTs and Field Training Officers.
In the years following the sale, Mark Brewster noticed a sharp decline in the quality of patient care, lack of responsiveness and sense of entitlement that was happening with ambulance providers throughout a market his family’s business once dominated. Concerned about this alarming trend and the looming health care reform, Mark could no longer watch from the sidelines and decided to take action.
In 2010, Mark and his older brother George Jr. opened the Brewster Ambulance Service of today. To build his initial workforce, Mark turned to Facebook where a community of former Brewster Ambulance employees responded in full force to his launching the next iteration of the company. Investing $200K to renovate their first location southwest of downtown Boston, they started operations with 32 employees, a small communications center and five ambulances. The new company was ready to bring a new level of quality and performance to EMS.
This was not good news for the competitors, who were operating in a variety of capacities throughout the region. Over the ensuing months and years, Mark and his brother George Jr., with the mentorship of their father, George Sr., began their mission to improve EMS delivery and expand throughout the South Shore region. Today, Brewster Ambulance has over 150 vehicles, three communications centers, multiple locations, six municipal contracts and over 100 retail contracts with hospitals and nursing facilities.
about the semifinalist
Mark Brewster grew up sweeping garage floors, washing ambulances and running errands at the original Brewster Ambulance Service. It was in his blood. In his early 20s, Mark was certified as an EMT and learned the ambulance business as well as how to deliver quality care to patients.
His family legacy was known for quality service, clean vehicles, professionally dressed EMTs and medics and most of all, for consistently demonstrating excellence, kindness and courtesy toward every person served. For decades Mark had first hand experience watching his father lead by example. He learned what mattered most: people.
When Mark launched the new company in 2010, he faced a myriad of obstacles: an EMS delivery system riddled with entitlement, where competitive ambulance providers fought to maintain the status quo and a substandard level of service delivery.
That changed when Mark entered the market. As he strategically grew the company, more and more hospitals, nursing facilities and municipalities left incumbent providers for Brewster Ambulance.
In 2015, Brewster was awarded 911 emergency contracts with Brockton and Quincy. Amidst a media frenzy, incumbent provider lawsuits, striking union EMS workers, Mark was able to hire the necessary staffing as well as secure financing to purchase two fleets of brand new ambulances, stock each with supplies and new equipment. At midnight, June 30, 2015, Brewster Ambulance Service simultaneously took over service for both Brockton and Quincy, a feat only Mark Brewster and his team could accomplish.
Mark’s style is assertive and strategic. He understands he is operating in a combative, political climate, yet he perseveres. Mark has assembled a savvy leadership team that drives growth, innovation and higher quality care for patients. Mark’s philosophy is, “If we raise the bar for quality in patient care and performance, others will follow.” Every community is a beneficiary of his leadership.
embedding A Family Culture
Establishing and sustaining a company culture requires deliberate effort from a company’s leadership to create a setting where a culture can thrive. Mark Brewster has accomplished this for and with his team.
Ask anyone at Brewster Ambulance and they will say that they feel part of a family. Mark knows that the only way he can improve EMS delivery is by attracting and supporting a team of skilled, caring people. He fosters this culture daily through every business decision he makes.
Mark’s leadership approach expands beyond developing a culture for high performers; it extends well into the community. Mark is constantly asking his team to find new and better ways to serve customers and give back to the community. He feels that an educated, aware community is a safer community, and embraces every opportunity to reach out and provide a helping hand. A few of the Brewster Ambulance give-back initiatives include:
- Touch-a-truck events for early education students
- Compression-only CPR and AED training for middle and high school students
- Charitable sponsorships such as little league, 5K runs and anti-drug programs
- “Operation Stay Warm” donation of gloves, hats and socks to the homeless
- Elderly safety checks, blood pressure screenings, and assistance setting up Smart 911™ profiles
- Installing donated air conditioning units to the elderly
- EMT scholarships to high school seniors pursuing EMS careers
- Free monthly Brewster Insights subscription to help people stay safe and informed
Mark models by example and invites his company to contribute ideas for not only improving EMS delivery, but also to look for ways to make life better for others as well. As a result, the company has created trust among the community, with local leaders and state officials. Brewster Ambulance people exemplify an organization which is supported, encouraged and cared for—a family.
An ongoing commitment to improving EMS Delivery
It takes a great deal of passion and commitment to return to an industry your family had championed for nearly one hundred years. For Mark Brewster, all it took was a decision to stop the decline of quality he was seeing happen in the local ambulance industry. Mark continues to hold dear what made his family’s work in EMS a success, however, he’s introduced a new level of thinking that is truly changing EMS.
Mark is driven to be the first to innovate, create and solve problems others dismiss. He has a distinctive approach to problem solving and challenges his team to find unique operational solutions as well as provide improvements to customers and the community. Industry-leading firsts Brewster Ambulance has deployed include:
- Implementing Smart911™ medical profiles to communities
- Integrating LanguageLine Solutions® for communicating with diverse ethnicities
- Mobile medical simulation unit and in-hospital medical simulation training
- Tactical EMS medical support for first responder and law enforcement
- Registered nurse units to augment basic life support transports
- Aerial drone fleet for search/rescue, storm damage and overwatch
- Deploying Narcan® to reverse opioid overdose and Albuterol to reverse bronchospasms
- Deploying Toradol® as a non-narcotic pain control alternative
Mark Brewster advocates at the local and state level for improvements in the entire EMS delivery chain, from insurance provider reimbursement to opioid-related death reduction programs. His vision for the growth of the business is based on a strong partnership with multiple entities so that he can sustain a continued improvement of EMS delivery throughout the region.
Mark’s winning formula is grounded in family values, team empowerment, community give-back and a continuous stretching to improve quality of patient care and EMS service delivery.