Meet the Rural/Metro Medical Services Staff
Division General Manager
Rural/Metro Medical Services named Jay Smith Division General Manager in November of 2011. Jay is responsible for the Western New York Division serving Erie and Niagara counties, one of the largest divisions across the 21 states in which Rural/Metro operates. His responsibilities include oversight of EMS service consisting of the Communications Center and all Field Operations, as well as business departments including Finance, Human Resources, Education, Scheduling, Fleet and General Administration.
Jay Smith began his career at Rural/Metro in 2006 as the Public Affairs Manager. During his tenure in that position he helped develop and launch the HomeHelpLine personal emergency response service which continues to gain subscribers not only in Western New York but other regional markets served by Rural/Metro. Prior to joining the company Smith gained invaluable experience in business, healthcare and politics working for the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association, Assemblyman Dick Smith and County Executive Dennis Gorski.
Smith received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University at Buffalo and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. Active in the community, he sits on the Williamsville School Board, serves as Chairperson for the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Kenmore Mercy Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. Smith lives in Williamsville with his wife Sara and their three children, Brianna, Caden and Jacob. When not at work, Jay enjoys running, hockey and golf.
Director of Public Affairs
| (716) 882-8400, ext. 7246
Brian Lawson joined Rural/Metro of Western New York as Director of Public Affairs in July 2012. He serves as a close advisor to the Division General Manager, developing and implementing all public relations efforts and serving as the operation’s primary media contact. In addition, Brian oversees Rural/Metro’s social media platforms, community relations including event sponsorships, government affairs and management of the operation’s contracts with municipalities, healthcare providers and special events.
Lawson brings over 15 years of experience in public relations and broadcast media to his role at Rural/Metro. A transplant to Western New York from Traverse City, Michigan, he served six years as Director of Public Relations for Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa. Prior to joining the resort, Brian spent nine years as an award-winning sports anchor covering everything from Super Bowl XL to high school athletics with stints at both the local CBS and NBC affiliates. His experience in strategic communications, customer service and background in media are critical in maintaining the trusted relationships Rural/Metro has earned with the communities it serves.
A graduate of Butler University (Indianapolis) and member of the Public Relations Society of America, Lawson serves on the Mercy Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees and the Health Sciences Charter School Internship Advisory Board. He resides in Kenmore with his wife and daughter. Brian is an avid sports fan and enjoys playing golf, skiing, hunting and fishing.
Manager of Field Operations
Rich Bartel was promoted to Manager of Field Operations in November 2011. With over 20 years of experience at Rural/Metro, Rich leads our team of Operations Managers, Field Supervisors, Paramedics and EMTs working closely with first response agencies and healthcare partners to ensure the highest level of care for the communities we serve.
Bartel joined the management team in 2001 as a Field Supervisor. He has a strong passion and commitment to EMS that began in his days with the volunteer fire service. Rich is committed to creating an environment that engages EMS personnel through positive feedback and training that is focused on clinical excellence. He works closely with departments across the operation to ensure expectations are met and exceeded with our contracted municipalities, healthcare partners, and the Department of Health.
In addition to his duties at Rural/Metro, Rich is also active with the Government Affairs Committee for the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Depew with his wife Deb and is a proud father of three. Off-duty, you might find Rich behind the wheel of a street-stock race car on Saturday nights at Elegant Builders Speedway in Lancaster.
Manager of Business Development
Mike D'Orazio was named Manager of Operational Development in August of 2009. D'Orazio is a primary advisor to the Division General Manager tasked with analyzing operations and implementing systems to maximize efficiency. He also manages the 911 contract with the City of Buffalo maintaining an open dialogue with city leaders regarding EMS operations.
D'Orazio served two years as Buffalo Fire Department Commissioner, appointed by Mayor Anthony Masiello in 2004. He also served on the Buffalo Emergency Medical Services Board. D'Orazio brings with him over twenty five years of professional experience in Fire and EMS, first as a Firefighter/Public Safety Officer at the Buffalo International Airport, where he worked for three years. He later joined the City of Buffalo's Fire Department where he remained for over twenty two years and rose through the ranks taking on duties as Lieutenant, Arson Investigator, Training Officer and Deputy Fire Commissioner with oversight of EMS.
There are few greater advocates of Buffalo than Mike and that pride is also reflected in his community service as a Board Member for the 100 Club of Buffalo and Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce. He resides in Lancaster with his wife Kathy and son Dante. Mike is a devout fan of the Bills and Sabres and an avid golfer.
Business Operations Manager
No Rural/Metro employee has a longer tenure than Clifford Smith who joined LaSalle Ambulance in 1971 as an EMT. He brings a wealth of knowledge to his role as Business Operations Manager where his responsibilities include oversight of the scheduling and supplies department as well as working with countless organizations to provide EMS coverage for special events.
Over the last four decades Cliff has steadily worked his way up the ranks, holding positions of Field Supervisor, South Area Manager and Operations Manager before being named to his current post. He graduated from the Mechanical Engineering program at Erie Community College and holds certifications in CPR, IS-800, ICS-300 and as a New York State AEMT-P (Paramedic). He received an honorable discharge from the United States Navy and his career accomplishments include Lead Flight Paramedic for Mercy Flight, Rural/Metro liaison to the Western Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Council, a seat on the Erie County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, and was named Western New York delegate to the National EMS Preparedness Summit.
Cliff also serves on the Wyoming-Erie Regional EMS Council, the Quality Improvement and Government Affairs Committees of the New York State EMS Council, the City of Buffalo Special Events Advisory Board and is formerly a Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.
John Rusinski has served as the Risk Manager for the Western New York Division since 2005. In this role he is responsible for incident investigation, drafting company policy, health and safety, OSHA compliance and training as well as serving as a liaison in legal matters. John also currently manages the Continuing Quality Improvement (CQI) and Education Departments.
John has been with Rural/Metro since 1982. He became a paramedic in 1984 and maintains his certification. He has worked as a Field Paramedic, Field Supervisor, Area Manager and prior to joining Rural/Metro, Flight Paramedic. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 32 years, served as fire chief and was publicly elected to a pair of five-year terms as a Fire Commissioner. Rusinski has also served as President of the Association of Fire Districts for the Town of West Seneca.
John is a Councilman in the Town of West Seneca where he resides with his wife and son.
Zone Billing Manager
Deb Streety brings over 20 years of experience in hospital, physician and ambulance billing to her position as Zone Billing Manager. In addition to Western New York, her department handles insurance verification, data entry, claims processing and customer service for operations in Ohio and Kentucky with the additional local responsibilities of cash posting and records management.
Deb joined Rural/Metro in 2002 and is a member of the American Health Information Management Association and the National Academy of Ambulance Coders.
Regional HomeHelpLine Manager
| (716) 882-8400, ext. 7074
Sheryl Maher is the Regional HomeHelpLine Manager. HomeHelpLine is a division of Rural/Metro Medical Services that installs and monitors personal emergency response systems that provide the elderly, disabled or infirm living independently, added peace of mind. Maher oversees the Western New York and Ohio markets that currently serve over 4,000 customers.
Maher joined Rural/Metro in 2009 to manage the development and launch of HomeHelpLine in Erie and Niagara counties. Sheryl has a very extensive management background with previous experience at Fidelity Electronics, a Toronto-based manufacturing and distribution company, where she was the U.S. Operations Manager. Prior to that, she was a Credit Manager with Jaleco Entertainment, a video game producer.
Maher serves on the Board of Directors for the Cheektowaga Senior Foundation. She resides in Buffalo with her husband and four children.