President & CEO
Industry: Hospital & Healthcare
According to Michael Donner, the secret to his success has been to surround himself with high-quality people who share his vision. That is exactly what he did when he co-founded his first ambulance company in 1997 and years later when he launched Apex Paramedics and its sister company EMS Loop.
“Apex was created to fight the commoditization of the ambulance industry in Denver and Loop was created to change the industry nationwide,” said Donner.
Donner has been in the ambulance industry for more than 37 years. What was meant to be a retirement in 2010 when he sold his first ambulance company, turned into a new venture when he teamed up with Bob Durkin, a serial entrepreneur with roots in technology, in 2015 to launch Apex and EMS Loop.
“Apex was created to address a need in the community for a high-quality medical transportation service that offers true partnership to healthcare facilities,” said Donner.
Apex has experienced significant growth and Donner attributes that to his team, many who worked for him at his previous company. Within five years, they moved into a new building to allow for even more space and growth. In the next five years, Donner said he envisions increasing their top line ambulance transport revenue by $20 million and increasing the employee count to over 225. Apex will become a certified “B-Corp” company by the end of this year, which will make them the only ambulance service in the country with that designation.
EMS Loop, Apex’s sister company, is currently being used in three states outside of Colorado and Donner anticipates the program being deployed in more than 20 states by 2025.
As the president and CEO of Apex Paramedics, LLC, Donner operates his companies under the core values of honesty, accountability and service. His staff describes him as innovative, bold and successful, adding that “he is a leader and mentors others to be leaders. He creates jobs, positive work environments and investor returns, all while remaining humbled and flattered that people want to join him on his journey.”
Serving as a leader is nothing new for Donner. He has worked the front lines serving as a paramedic, firefighter and flight paramedic. He mentors multiple ambulance services and public safety leaders in the community. Donner has been published in several medical journals and he lectures nationally at events such as the EMS Safety Summit.
“To be influential or to remain influential, you have to teach,” said Donner. “I will continue the mentoring that I do for young leaders both at my company and elsewhere in the industry.”
For his vision, commitment to the industry and for leading by example, Donner has earned a spot as a Titan of industry.
Greatest Leadership Lesson Learned:
The power of saying I was wrong. If you admit your mistakes openly and often, you set a tone in your organization that it is OK to make mistakes, as long as you take accountability for them.