Wake County welcomes new Emergency Medical Services director

headshot of Dr. Studnek

Following a nationwide search, Wake County is pleased to announce that Jonathan Studnek, Ph.D., NRP, is the new director of Wake County Emergency Medical Services. Chris Colangelo, the most recent EMS director, retired earlier this month after 30 years of service.

“With an impressive career spanning more than two decades in the EMS industry, Dr. Studnek brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic vision that align seamlessly with Wake County EMS’ strategic roadmap,” said Shinica Thomas, chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We’re thrilled to welcome him to Team Wake.”

Dr. Studnek comes to Wake County from the Mecklenburg EMS Agency (Medic). During his impressive 11-year journey with the organization, Dr. Studnek has held various key roles that have deepened his understanding of the core functions and operations of a complex and dynamic EMS system.

  • As quality improvement manager, he led strategic planning initiatives that resulted in sustained clinical and operational improvement.
  • In the capacity of deputy director of professional services, he successfully managed projects focused on training and professional development.
  • Currently, as deputy director of operations, Dr. Studnek applies a systematic approach to process improvement, ensuring operational excellence while fostering collaboration with multiple stakeholders.

  • He recently led a project to improve how Medic staff respond to calls, which reduced red lights and sirens response and optimized utilization of resources.

“With his blend of operational expertise, leadership skills and passion for research, Jon is poised to do great things here in Wake County,” said Dr. José Cabañas, chief medical officer for Wake County. “We are confident that his leadership and wealth of experience will continue to propel Wake EMS forward, enabling us to accomplish our mission of delivering prompt, compassionate, clinically excellent care.”

Dr. Studnek will take over as director on Jan. 16, 2024.

“I am very excited to begin leading the Wake County EMS team,” Dr. Studnek said. “The opportunity to work with talented providers in such an innovative system is something that I am looking forward to.”

Press Release