WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The man who has served as interim Sedgwick County’s interim EMS director for almost a year has been given the job permanently.

On Thursday morning, Sedgwick County announced that Kevin Lanterman has been hired for the job.

Last year, when Lanterman was named the interim director, he was a major. Sedgwick County stated he is an experienced and well-respected EMS leader and paramedic, having served with EMS for three decades.

Sedgwick County Assistant County Manager Rusty Leeds said they did two nationwide searches for the position.

“At the end of the day, after evaluating all of the skill sets and the unique qualities of each applicant, we came to the conclusion that we had talent right here in our own backyard,” Leeds said.

He said the County also took input from EMS employees.

“It was an easy decision at the end of the day,” Leeds said. “Good competition, good people that came forward to apply, but we believe that Kevin is the guy who can step in. He can maintain continuity within this organization. He’s the guy for today, and he’s also the guy for the future that can help us move forward.”

Lanterman said he wants to do what it takes to help the EMS workers.

“This is about the hard-working men and women that are out there working in very difficult environments on a daily basis, that deliver the best clinical care,” he said. “They do it with a lot of compassion and empathy, and that’s what this is, and that’s what this job is about.”

Lanterman acknowledged that EMS is still down employees. He said they have 14 full-time paramedic positions currently open.

He is working on the recruitment and retention of employees.

“Our main goal right now is improving our core function of running emergency calls and getting the staff, get the staffing tables full to where we can do that adequately,” Lanterman said.

The previous EMS director, Dr. John Gallagher, resigned last July after an investigation into his leadership.