About

We create solutions. When it comes to emergency services, Fitch & Associates is the only organization that combines the depth of a national, full-time professional team with an extraordinary level of personal service and responsiveness to client needs.
The result? Exceptional value.

Let’s face a simple truth: These days, it’s easy to print a bunch of business cards, build a website and call yourself a consultant. But after more than three decades and thousands of client engagements, we’ve learned a few truths of our own.

At Fitch & Associates, we’re dedicated to one thing: Our clients’ success. We put that dedication to the test every time we answer the phone. Every time we get on a plane or shake a hand. Every time we sit down and just listen. And every single time we deliver a recommendation.

You see, we know that when we help organizations improve the quality of services, decrease response times or strengthen their financial structure, we’re helping them make a difference in people’s lives.
It’s why we come to work every day. And it’s incredibly rewarding.


Who We Serve

No organization or municipality is too big or too small to provide effective, efficient emergency services to its community. At Fitch & Associates, we have worked with fire departments in major metropolitan areas and local EMS services in rural Canada, busy county dispatch centers and regional air medical services. Whether you’re a city or county manager looking to improve local fire or EMS response, a hospital executive evaluating your organization’s ambulance or air medical service or a local chief assessing deployment and operational strategy, we can help you.


Meet Our Team

We bring together some of the most resourceful and innovative people in the industry in a collaborative, cost-efficient team approach. Our team has worked as CEOs, chiefs, directors, managers and clinicians, giving us a client’s-eye view of critical issues and real-world organizational dynamics.


The Firm's Partners

Joseph J. Fitch, PhD

Founding Partner & President

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Christine M. Zalar, MA

Founding Partner

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Anthony W. Minge, Ed.D.

Senior Partner

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Steven Knight, PhD

Partner

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Chief Operating Officer

Guillermo Fuentes, MBA

Chief Operating Officer

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Core Consulting Team

J. Todd Sheridan

Senior Associate

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Thomas J. Moore

Associate

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Roxanne Shanks, MBA

CEO, LifeFlight Eagle

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Brian Hupp, NRP

Associate

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Bruce J. Moeller, PhD.

Senior Consultant

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Melissa Coons

Audit & Compliance Coordinator

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David E. Nelson, DMin

Senior Consultant

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Dianne G. Wright, MPA

Senior Consultant

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Thomas L. Little

Senior Consultant

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Project Consultants

Joey Araiza, RN, BSN

VP of Clinical Services, LifeFlight Eagle

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Robert F. Fuller

Project Consultant

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Thomas P. Somers

Project Consultant

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Michael Weaver, MD

Project Consultant

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John C. Cunnane

Project Consultant

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Michael J. Ward, MGA, FIFireE

Project Consultant

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Jennifer Kirkland

Project Consultant

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Joe Coons

Director of Safety, LifeFlight Eagle

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Additional Team Members

Gang Wang

Project Consultant

Dr. Wang is an expert in analyzing fire department, emergency medical service (EMS) agency, and private ambulance service workload, deployment, and response time. He specializes in managing large-scale data sets, and applying advanced mathematical models to design the most efficient system to provide fire and EMS services. Dr. Wang holds a Ph.D. degree in industrial engineering from Wayne State University.

Robert O. Polk

Project Consultant

Chief Polk has more than 44 years of professional fire service experience. In 1972, he began his career at the St. Petersburg (Florida) Fire Department. During his 24 years of service with the St. Petersburg Fire Department, he worked up the ranks to become Division Chief. Chief Polk has advanced degrees in Fire Administration and Business Management, and is recognized by the National Fire Protection Association as a Certified Fire Protection Specialist.

BJ Jungmann

Project Consultant

BJ Jungmann brings over 16 years of Fire and EMS expertise with experience in career, combination and volunteer fire departments. He currently holds the position of Fire Chief for the City of Burnsville, Minnesota. BJ earned his Bachelor of Science from American Military University in Fire Science Management.

Chief Eric Nickel, EFO, CFC, CFO

Project Consultant

Chief Eric Nickel has over 29 years of service as a professional firefighter. Originally educated to be a banker, he graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Business Administration, Finance. A fateful summer fighting forest fires radically changed his career path. He has worked for five fire departments, large and small, in Southern and Northern California.

Mike Burton

Project Consultant

Mike Burton is a 41 veteran of the fire and EMS service and is currently the fire chief with the Tamarac, FL Fire Rescue Department, an ISO Class I department. Chief Burton holds a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Executive Fire Service Leadership, and a bachelor’s in Organizational Studies from Eckerd College.

Jason Bonney

Project Consultant

Jason Bonney is a captain for the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District (CJC) in Blue Springs, Missouri. He has over 16 years of experience in fire service and emergency management. Jason has been the accreditation manager for more than 10 years and has successfully led CJC through two accreditation processes with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International with whom he also serves as a peer assessor.

Chris Armstrong

Project Consultant

Mr. Armstrong is currently the Fire Rescue Chief for the City of Littleton, CO. His 28-years’ experience as a Firefighter/Paramedic includes 16-years in senior administrative leadership positions of Division Chief or higher. Together with extensive training and certification in Emergency Services he holds an Associates of Science in Fire Science Technology, a BS in Occupational Health and Safety and a Master’s of Science in Emergency Services Management.

Mike Dispain

Project Consultant

Micheal Despain brings to the firm over 30 years of fire/EMS experience. He is currently a Fire Chief for a medium-sized municipal fire department in Central California, and formerly served as Deputy Fire Chief and Interim Fire Chief for the City of Fresno, California.

Erwin Stedronsky, PhD

Project Consultant

Dr. Stedronsky works with the firm’s clients on complex initiatives that involve assimilation and analysis of both hard and soft data. His skills include the extraction of relevant elements from large data sets and the presentation of data interpretations in concise graphical and written forms that allow clients to make actionable decisions. A graduate of MIT, he previously served as the Senior Research Specialist for the Monsanto Corporation and as a special consultant to NASA.

Howard “Skip” Kirkwood, JD

Project Consultant

Skip Kirkwood is an EMS executive, educator, consultant, and attorney with a broad range of public safety experience, which while predominantly in EMS, included law enforcement and fire suppression. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of the State of New York, a Master of Science in Health Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Juris Doctorate (with Honors) from the Rutgers University School of Law.

Chief Melanie Bevan, Ed.D.

Project Consultant

Melanie Bevan became the Chief of the Bradenton Police Department in February of 2016. She served the St. Petersburg Police Department for 29 years, retiring at the rank of Assistant Chief. She holds a Doctor of Education degree in Leadership Education and has completed numerous professional specialty certifications including the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy and the Naval Postgraduate Center for Homeland Security and Defense, Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program. She also does contract investigative work for the office of the Commissioner for Major League Baseball.

Chuck Walker

Director of Information Services

Mr. Walker brings his expertise in air medical program operations, flight operations, and information technology to the Firm’s clients. His consulting projects have included evaluation and redesign of communications centers, process redesign for electronic and manual work flow, and design of automated systems to track and store statistical data, IT infrastructure design, development of key performance monitoring tools and reports, and procurement of aircraft and aviation management services.

Sheryl Swearengin, MBA, CPA

Director of Finance

Ms Swearengin has over 25 years’ experience with increasing levels of responsibilities with accounting, construction and retail firms. She has served as an staff accountant, tax manager and as chief financial officer. Ms. Swearengin has a BA in accounting and an MBA in addition to current licensure as a CPA in Missouri.

Sharon Conroy

Program Coordinator

Ms. Conroy has over 20 years administrative experience at increasing levels of responsibility. She serves as Administrative and Program Coordinator for Fitch & Associates. In that role, she supervises the Administrative staff and day-to-day office functions. Additionally, she coordinates the firm’s educational events including the annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership conference, the Ambulance Service Manager Program, the Communications Center Manager course, and Beyond the Street workshops.



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