Getting to Know CEO Robert F. Mateff Sr.
March 16, 2021 | Category: News
NAME: ROBERT F. MATEFF SR., AGE 54, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE MOST SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU? I owned a restaurant for three years in the late 1980s. It was called Dairee Delight and was located on Main St. in Hellertown, Pa.; currently Vassi’s Drive-in. I was the chief cook and bottle washer. Growing up I was very interested in food and cooking. I worked at a catering service throughout my high school years.
As I was growing up, my grandfather owned Hellertown bakery and both my mom and dad always had an entrepreneurial spirit which is how I caught the bug to have my own business at an early age. I have so many great memories from that experience. I had a couple of month’s transition with the previous owners and my parents helped me run the business for several years. I ended up selling it when they built I-78 leading into the town. Overall it was a great experience that has helped shape the decisions I make today.
You may also be surprised that I call myself a “value golfer.” I get more strokes per round than the average golfer. I am also a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
DESCRIBE YOUR A-HA MOMENT AT WHICH POINT YOU KNEW YOU WERE ON THE RIGHT PATH. That was definitely during the time I served as a volunteer firefighter. I would go to all these accident scenes and always wanted to render aid to the people who needed help on the medical side, but that wasn’t my job. Being a firefighter was great, but I quickly realized my need to want to help people and really make a difference in someone’s life. It was at that point that I decided to become an EMT and I absolutely loved it and everything EMS stood for.
In my current role as the CEO, I am able to create the opportunities and resources that allow our field staff to have that same impact on people’s lives on a daily basis which brings it full circle for me.
WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE ANYONE EVER GAVE YOU AND DID YOU FOLLOW IT? My mom taught me to not be afraid to fail and to try new things. While I don’t seek failure, I do believe we can all learn from our mistakes and take them in stride.
WHAT EXCITES YOU? The future of EMS. It is something that I have a passion about being deeply involved with the overall development of a better system. I am extremely excited for the advancement of the “treat and transport” model that is in rollout phases across the country. This type of model will allow EMS personnel to be able to move patients to a more appropriate facility, rather than only being able to transport to a hospital. I am also excited for the growth of community paramedicine which allows licensed providers to treat patients in home environments.
WHAT WORRIES YOU? The future of EMS. The current model is something that was developed long ago and does not work as well as it should in this day and age. The funding platform for agencies is a great area for concern. I have seen many agencies close their doors because they cannot be sustainable with the little reimbursements and tax dollars they receive.
WHO OR WHAT SHAPED WHO YOU ARE? I have had the opportunity to work with so many good leaders over the years and have taken the best of all of their characteristics, manners and roles to shape who I am today. My life experiences that have been filled with highs and lows have definitely attributed to who I am as a leader.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WELL AND WHERE IS THERE OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH? I believe that I am making a significant positive change on the culture of this organization. I want to bring us back to our roots in the communities we serve. My opportunity for growth will happen once this pandemic is behind us to the point where we are able to get out into the field and the community and prove the value of our lifesaving mission.
WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT CETRONIA AMBULANCE CORPS? Just knowing that I am at an organization where I can make a difference is an understatement. I have been in leadership roles where I was only able to make small changes because the environment was so large. I am very fortunate that I have done EMS / pre-hospital care as a volunteer and am proud to say that I have made a career out of it. EMS is my passion.
WHAT ARE YOU GOALS? My top three goals are to work on building a community bond; culture change within the organization; and to be able to provide a positive work / life balance for our associates who are on the frontlines every day dealing with extremely difficult scenarios.
WHAT ARE YOUR THREE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS? I am very proud of my involvement and instrumental efforts that led to having Pennsylvania House Bill 911 pass in 2015. This Bill changed the 911 law in regards to funding and the entire management of the system. Another top three would be my participation in the consolidation of the emergency management and 911 systems in Northampton County. I served as the first leader of Northampton County 911 emergency management. I am going to say it is a tie for my last top three accomplishments … I loved coaching my boys in baseball for roughly eight years of their lives and I am proud of myself for taking the steps to be an adult learner; earning my degree from DeSales University.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH CHANGE? I embrace change. If you’re not changing, you are falling behind. As you experience life you are always changing.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE WORK? Fishing is an absolute favorite of mine. I also enjoy traveling and seeing new places while meeting new people. I also like to partake in some fun card games.
GIVE ME ONE WORD THAT DESCRIBES YOU BEST. Collaborator