Know Your Leader: Kevin Johnson, Newton Medical Center

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Compiled by John Brieske, Pulse managing editor. Do you work with someone who’s an exceptional leader in the health care field? If so, please send email to

Title/credentials: Paramedic and firefighter since 1983, master's degree in fire service leadership.

Current job: Chief of Emergency Medical Services, Newton Medical Center.

Family: Wife, Ellen, 25 years; four children, ages 22, 18, 15 and 14.

What makes a good leader? "Lead by example — mentoring if you will. This applies to attitude and effort. Know that most people watch a leader and expect good things from them.
"An ability to understand the work environment and how it changes is crucial. Attitude and energy are essential."

What are you most proud of in your career? "Lives saved, new people energized to do well in this industry. Being the go-to person was important as it illustrated that others had confidence in me. I always heard that if you save one person there is no telling what that one person could go on to achieve."

Who has inspired or mentored you? "Lt. Virgil Warren, DeKalb County Fire Department. I was working in a restaurant in the late '70s, out of high school, when a man died in our restaurant. The rescuers came and made an impression on me. Years later, I got a job in the fire department and Virgil was my first officer and remembered the call. What an inspiration."

What's your favorite thing to do away from work? "Family, video games, camping."

Who's your favorite influential leader in your field? Why? "In our EMS industry, it is James Page, leader of the movement to have field rescue be a profession and the value it (would) come to hold to the public. (He was) one of the founders for what EMS could be in a community."

What's your favorite guilty pleasure? "(I) sneak by Dairy Queen once in a while to splurge on a Butterfinger Blizzard, but you gotta throw away the cup before you get home so the kids don't want any."

Tell us something that nobody at work knows about you: "I like to clean up, vacuum the carpets and do dishes. It is gratifying to have it clean and looking good, (but it) doesn't last but a minute because of four kids, but it also shows the three boys and my daughter that it takes a combined effort to keep things and (that) others should not be responsible for your mess.
"It shows pride in the things we have and then compare our blessings to those less fortunate. I want them to go see what others don't have so they get reminded about our blessing and to always pay it forward."