Brett Peine was named the Area Director for LifeNet’s Arkansas Division in November of 2022. In this role, he oversees all aspects of LifeNet’s operations in Garland and Hot Spring Counties.
As a child, Brett dreamed of going to medical school and becoming a doctor. Plans changed his junior year of high school when he joined the local volunteer fire department.
“The fire department sent 5 of us to EMT school, and I received my EMT license in the mail the day I turned 18,” Brett explained.
The EMS service in his hometown required him to be 23 before he could start working as an EMT, so he had to find another option for employment. First, he went to college in Leavenworth, KS, where he worked with their EMS for a few years. Then he went to work for a pay-by-call EMS service in the neighboring county.
“During that time, I started doing ride-a-longs with a police department. When I turned 21, the neighboring town was looking for a police officer, and I accepted a position with them,” Brett shared.
For the next eight years, Brett built a career in law enforcement, but his heart was still in the medical field.
“I decided to go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree in biology with a goal of going to PA School,” Brett explained. “I went back into EMS to accommodate my school schedule. While looking into PA school, I got a job offer at Missouri Southern State University to teach. That springboarded my path into EMS leadership.”
Brett served the university for almost eight years as an Associate Professor, EMS Director, and Adjunct Instructor before he felt called to get back into the field side of EMS.
“I loved teaching, but I really wanted to get back into the operations side of EMS,” Brett said.
Since leaving education, Brett has served as the Chief of Barton County Ambulance District in Joplin, Missouri and EMS Chief at Humboldt General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nevada.
“It’s different every day,” Brett said, explaining what he loves most about running an EMS system. “What I see and do has changed over the years. At first, going on calls was simply exciting and fun. Then it was about the enjoyment of just being able to help patients. Now, I like getting to help mold people who are me 20 years ago. My hope is that while they are still young and impressionable, I can mold them, and hopefully they will stay in the career.”
A servant leader, Brett comes from a place of humility and experience. His passion lies in helping grow, develop, and care for the EMS team he leads.
“I will tell new people getting into EMS, don’t be afraid to talk about the bad calls with people. If you don’t talk about the calls, it will lead to burnout. The people who try to bottle stuff up, don’t stay in this very long,” he said. “I also tell people to find ways to grow. Don’t put yourself in a box of just being an EMT or a paramedic. Instead, seek out ways to get into education, leadership, or research. That is what has pushed me to remain in this industry. If you find yourself feeling burned out, ask if there’s a project or something you can help with to do something slightly different in the field.”
Brett originally interviewed for the Director of Operations position at LifeNet in Hot Springs in 2018, but his family dynamic did not afford him the opportunity to relocate at that time.
“I made the decision to stay where I was at, but I had already liked LifeNet’s Facebook Page,” Brett explained. “So LifeNet was always in the back of my mind. Out of the blue, a few years later, I got recruited for the job in Nevada. Our family was at a point where location was an option, so we moved. Then in early 2021, a recruiter for LifeNet sent me an email about a leadership opportunity. My wife wasn’t ready to relocate yet, so I turned it down,” Brett explained.
A few weeks later, the Peine family discussed possibly relocating to either Tennessee or Arkansas. Brett reached back out to the recruiter, only to learn the position had been closed to new applications at the time.
A few weeks later, Brett did a google search for “EMS Director Arkansas”, and LifeNet popped up in the search results.
“So I emailed the recruiter. I think this is the first time in more than a decade that I feel like I’m where God has wanted me to be,” Brett explained.
In his new role, Brett is focused on continuing to lead the culture change at LifeNet in Arkansas, while working towards ensuring the company is more employee centric.
In addition to his EMS career, since 2005, Brett has been active in the 184th Intelligence Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard. He holds the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and is based out of McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.
Outside of work, Brett enjoys spending time with his wife, Emilee, who is also a paramedic. They share a blended family of two daughters and two sons.