Interview: Chase McCown, President of Spectrum Aeromed
Focused on delivering the best patient care: Chase McCown, President of Spectrum Aeromed, spoke to the ITIJ Air Ambulance Review about the importance of ensuring exacting standards and embracing the potential for change in the air medical sector
What’s your background in the aviation sector, and what attracted you to working for Spectrum Aeromed?
I was an active duty US Air Force member for 24 years, with most of that time involved in aircraft maintenance efforts. I then transitioned to the private sector, where I spent seven years with FlightSafety International, managing their defence training and simulator programmes. Spectrum Aeromed’s mission statement and vision really resonated – I knew it was the right place for me to be.
You joined Spectrum Aeromed in 2022; what have you learned so far about the aeromedical industry, its main challenges, and opportunities for further growth and development?
The aeromedical industry understands the importance of what it provides to the global public. Collectively, everyone is focused on ensuring we deliver the best patient care and service possible. I think the challenge we all face is integrating aircraft availability with supply chain challenges and certification timelines to meet operating customer needs. I believe eVTOL holds great promise and I look forward to seeing how the technology matures. I see industry-changing potential in the next decade.
How does the medical interiors sector differ from your previous experience within the aviation sector?
Of course some of the specific issues are different, but as a whole the various sectors of aviation are filled with true professionals, focused on meeting an important need. In our case, that need is to provide air ambulance equipment that allows crews to offer unmatched care while in transit.
What does your US Air Force and engineering background bring to your understanding of the medical interior customisation sector, and how do you envision moving the company forwards?
Exacting standards are vital to what we do. In both our normal production devices and more complex customised deliveries, the safety of the crew and patient depends on our work. We embrace that trust and use it to motivate ourselves to deliver exceptional products.
We are expanding our engineering team and developing partnerships with other organisations, to help us move smarter and faster to meet customer timelines and requirements.
The best approach is to build relationships with trusted partners
Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul is creating challenges for the aviation sector, with supply chain disruption and an ongoing skills shortage affecting many operators. How are you overcoming these industry-wide difficulties?
We are impacted like most others, but also fortunate to live in a community like Fargo, North Dakota, where the skills shortage you mentioned is maybe not as significant compared to other communities. We have had to get creative on recruiting engineers but are finding success, thanks to a great human resources effort.
Supply chain issues are real everywhere. We have expanded who we work with, but believe for a company of our size, the best approach is to build relationships with trusted partners, then work daily to mitigate the challenges we both face.
Can you share any information about the latest aeromedical transport products you are developing?
We are excited about getting our Infinity Series 5000X to market this year. Our patent-pending unit was designed for, and by, the crews that will use it. It provides unobstructed patient access, with centralised controls and single-lever, stretcher-locking functionality. We reduced the need for most floor adaptors and improved access for maintenance, cutting transition time and life-cycle costs.
How closely do you work with clients to develop new or customised aircraft solutions?
Very closely. Our ability to deliver solutions to meet the complex challenges our customers face is foundational to who we are as a company. Our team partners every step of the way to deliver exactly what is needed.
Our ability to deliver solutions to meet the complex challenges our customers face is foundational to who we are as a company
What do you think are the most important skills a business leader can possess?
Understanding absolute integrity and the importance of trust in every relationship you have. You can be smart, talented and have a great product, but if you are not trusted by those you work with and serve, your ability to have a real impact is drastically reduced.
Talent attraction and retention is very challenging across all industries right now. How is Spectrum Aeromed managing its employees to ensure it keeps its talent in-house, while also attracting staff?
A primary reason I joined Spectrum Aeromed was the culture. It is one of excellence, focused on saving lives. When we do our jobs right, people’s worlds are changed for the better. That message is a powerful recruiting and retention tool, aligning well with the values of Fargo, North Dakota and the upper Midwest.