Chris Angerman: OCM
April 18, 2017
18 April, 2017
Meet Chris Angerman, an Operations Control Manager based out of Ornge's Operations Control Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
We spoke to Chris about his role at Ornge, the education and training he completed to support his career and discussed what happens on a typical day for an Operations Control Manager.
Rachel: When did you start working at Ornge?
Chris Angerman: I started on April 1, 2014.
Tell me a bit more about you role as an Operations Control Manager at Ornge.
My job is to oversee the operation from the start to the finish of a patient transfer. Calls into Ornge tend to start with the Provincial Transfer Authorization Centre (PTAC), where healthcare partners get their Medical Transport number for infectious screening. Once the call is in our system, the medical call taking process begins; shortly after, the doctors get involved and review it to assess the level of care and urgency.
Once all of the above is determined, the call gets flipped over to the flight side of our Operations Control Centre (OCC) and we oversee that process to ensure the right asset is used for the call. So my role is to look over the entire process to ensure it happens safely, efficiently and effectively.
You work shift work right? Can you tell me what a typical shift is like?
We have one line that we tend to work with. I’m on Line 2. For the most part, due to the way the schedule works out, we tend to work with the same pilots and paramedics on a regular basis. Operations Managers work from 5:30a.m. - 5:30 p.m. I’m typically in 30 minutes prior to start our turnover and stay about 30 minutes after to ensure everything transitions smoothly. Our schedule is two days on and then two nights on.
Can you tell me a bit about your education and what you studied or where you worked in order to prepare yourself for this role?
I started out at the University of Waterloo and studied English Literature and Political Science. I took a couple years off to gain some life experience and eventually returned, attending Simon Fraser University in Vancouver where I finished my BA. To obtain transferable skills and get work experience, I joined the Navy as a Logistics Officer and spent about nine years in the regular force. After that, I took some time off to try Management Consulting in the supply chain and logistics field and completed my MBA from Schulich School of Business at York University. Disheartened with consulting, I returned to the military, becoming a full time Reservist working for the Canadian Army as an Operations Officer, running the Joint Operations Centre which monitored and coordinated everything that the military does in Ontario.
What made you decide to work in an environment like Ornge?
I was interested in transitioning from the military to civilian life, so when the opportunity presented itself to work at Ornge it seemed like a good fit. I had the logistics and operations background that would transfer over very well.
I think the thing that really attracted me to Ornge is that I get to make a difference all day every day. Each shift we’re moving patients who are having the worst day of their life, and it’s refreshing to be in a position where you can help patients -- you immediately see that your efforts can make their worst day a little bit better.
Can you tell me a bit about the team you work with?
There’s always a PTAC person on each line, along with the Communications Officers (Medical) who are responsible for collecting all the medical details for our patient transports and for the Transport Medicine Physician (TMP) to review.
There are always two TMPs available; one is a paediatric TMP, the other is for adult patients. The adult TMPs are always located at a base or in the Operations Control Centre to assess information while the paeds TMPs are remotely accessible.
It’s great having the TMPs in the OCC because you can engage them in conversation about operational variables and options.
Then there are the Communications Officers (Flight) that develop the plans to get the patients where they need to be. And of course, the pilots and paramedics that get everything done.
And last but not least are the support staff at the bases and headquarters that ensure the OCC and frontline crews have what we need to get the job done.
What are some of the skills you use on a regular basis as an Operations Control Manager?
Of course, logistics, operations and business acumen are essential but the biggest requirement for me is people skills. Our role in the OCC is to enable the front line to do what they’re experts at. Whether it’s ensuring the pilots have what they need to get where they need to go safely – our team is here to help. We enable the paramedics to do whatever is best for the patient. We take care of all the details so they can focus on the medical aspects of the call.
People skills are important when trying to coordinate all of the aspects on the front line, engaging staff as part of our team and in communicating with external stakeholders that are part of the healthcare team as a whole.
Our relationship with staff around the organization is important; we all need to be on the same page moving forwards towards the same goal –which is getting the patient moved where they need to be effectively, efficiently, safely and in a timely manner.
What kind of things do you do in order to maintain a work/life balance?
I love what I do so that makes it pretty easy, I just try to eat well, stay fit, and love my time off as much as love my time here. I’m fortunate that my significant other works shift work as well, and we have similar interests.
I am a big advocate of fitness, I like to go hiking, and I like learning more about other cultures, trying new restaurants visiting new places and traveling with my partner. It helps that she works for an airline.
I also enjoy riding my motorcycle in the summer.
Are there any common questions you get from your friends/family when you tell them about your job?
Most people have no idea that we have 12 bases located across the province with a fleet of rotor-wing (helicopters) fixed-wing (planes) and land ambulances. People always ask me if I get to ride out in the helicopter as well – the answer is no.
At Ornge, our staff work every day around the clock to ensure the patients of Ontario receive the best care available. Learn more about the people behind #teamornge.