Mark Brewster, EY's Entrepreneur of the Year, New England Region

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Before the gala

Entrepreneurship Hits the Spotlight with EY

EY announced on April 24, 2018 that Mark Brewster, President and CEO of Brewster Ambulance Service was a semifinalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018 Award in the New England region. Mark was nominated by Jeff Morris of Merrill Corporation earlier in 2018, which began Mark's journey toward this important recognition.

The awards program is celebrating its 32nd year and recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Mark was selected as a semifinalist by a panel of independent judges, and on June 28, 2018, at the Westin Waterfront in Boston, Mark Brewster was awarded the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Award, New England Region.

Receiving the award

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Mark and the award photos

Entrepreneur Of The Year, founded by EY, is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, chosen from an independent panel of judges including entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance, and the local community. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries.

Now in its 32nd year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National competition. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 10, 2018. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services EY delivers help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. EY develops outstanding leaders who team to deliver on promises to stakeholders. In so doing, EY plays a critical role in building a better working world for people, for clients and for communities.

The Brewster Family

About Mark Brewster

Award speech

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.

Delivering the speech

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.

Reception entourage

About Brewster Ambulance Service

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.

Jeff and Theresa Morris, Jill and Mark Brewster

Jeff and Theresa Morris, Jill and Mark Brewster

Company Culture and Initiative

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.


Brewster Ambulance's Innovative Approaches

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.

2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award Recipients, New England Region