Steve Haemmerle has made a career of saving lives. But when he advanced from hands-on patient care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital to the administration of its Angel One Transport operation, he turned to UALR for the management and leadership skills he needed to shift his career focus.
“I used to ride in the helicopter to get sick kids and bring them to the hospital,” said the director of Angel One Transport operation. Now, he is responsible for the coordination of the hospital’s four ground ambulances and two helicopters, plus the jets made available when needed to transport burn victims, children, babies, and pregnant mothers with problems in Arkansas and 10 surrounding states.
“I went to UALR to get the leadership skills I needed through the Masters of Business Administration program to be a better director,” Haemmerle said.
A native of New Jersey, Haemmerle and his wife had enough of blizzards and the cold and moved South, ending up in Little Rock five years ago when he joined the hospital. In transitioning to the front office of the transportation operation, Haemmerle said he realized he need an advanced degree to further his career in hospital management.
“When I first came to ACH, I knew I wanted to get a master’s degree,” he said. “I have a science background, so I had to take all the business undergraduate type courses before I could apply for an MBA. But I thought I had so much on-the-job experience already, I wanted something to quantify that.”
He found exactly what he was searching for.
“I had just dropped my boys at school and was driving down Rodney Parham Road to I-430. And there is an electric billboard sign in the K-Mart plaza with an advertisement about the UALR Executive MBA program,” he said. “There it was – in lights – calling my name.”
Within the week, he was enrolled in the program designed for working professionals with convenient weekend classes. He still was able to squeeze in time to coach his boys’ soccer teams.
“It was a challenge,” he said. “My bosses here were supportive of giving me every other Friday off. They’ve seen my work ethic, and they knew I wasn’t going to let anything slide. I stayed up later than I usually do, extended my other work days, and they were willing to give me those days off with the understanding that I was spending 12 hours a day in class and it would benefit them in the long run.”
“The EMBA program at UALR was excellent,” Haemmerle said. “I was able to work with my job here and balance my work like and school life. At the end, the program provided me with the skills to make a better manager at the hospital.”
That’s important, he said, “because we haul precious cargo every day.”