Getting to know Supervisor Mat Diffenderfer
June 14, 2021 | Category: News
Cetronia Ambulance Corps has four supervisors to lead two platoons. One of those supervisors is Mat Diffenderfer. Mat has been with us for nearly nine years even though he really wanted to be a DJ growing up. Mat is one funny guy! He recently won the “Stand-up Comic” associate-driven award
We did a little Q&A with Mat …
How long have you been working at Cetronia?
August 3rd will be nine years for me. Nine. Glorious. Years.
Before Cetronia, where did you go to school, and what did you study?
I didn’t go to college or anything. I was in a band for a long time which was definitely some of the best times of my life.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be on the radio. My dad was a DJ in the Lehigh Valley for many years. His name is Joe McClain. I actually had my own little radio station set up in my basement when I was a kid. It was WMAT. I would talk into a microphone and play songs for hours. I thought I was kind of a big deal.
Can you walk me through your career path from entry level position to your current position?
I started here as an EMT in 2012. After a few years I applied for the paramedic scholarship and got one. I finished medic school and worked on an ambulance for a few years. Then a crew chief position opened up and I interviewed for that. I got the job and worked as the B platoon crew chief for two years. After that, the B platoon night supervisor position became available so I applied for it and got that position. Shortly after, the B platoon day supervisor position was up for grabs. Having been on nights for quite a while, I was DEFINITELY interested in this. I threw my hat in the ring and here we are the B platoon day shift supervisor. I’m also the point of contact for our NASCAR team and part of the Rescue Task Force.
What day-to-day responsibilities does your job entail?
I review the schedule for daily openings as well as upcoming special events and long distance transports. I get out to the crews to provide any kind of assistance that they may need. I’m also known as “The Med Guy.” I’m in charge of making sure our narcotics and medication supply is full and in date. I restock the units with supplies for the crews as needed. I am also on call for the crews with any questions or concerns they might have. This involves answering calls from the public if they should have questions or concerns. And, I try to make this fun for the crews, because somedays it can be rough to do what we do. Yes, there’s a time for business and a time for fun, but I think it’s important to remember where you came from and still be able to connect with your crews.
What project that you’ve worked on at Cetronia are you most proud of?
I think bringing attention to the fact that The Code Green Campaign® exists. I’m a big advocate for mental health and I think it’s important to have resources such as this organization which is geared for first responders and is oriented around mental health advocacy and education. Times have changed in our industry and you don’t have to “just suck it up and move on” anymore. I remember doing a presentation on this one year at our annual training. I can’t really say if it changed anything, but I’d like to think it did.
What’s really fun about your job, and what’s really challenging?
It’s fun to work with the people that I’ve become friends with over my career here, but at the same time it’s also challenging. What I mean is that sometimes you need to have a difficult conversation with someone who is on your platoon but is also a friend. You have to be able to separate that friendship and draw that line sometimes. There’s times where you have to hold people accountable even if it means having a moment of being uncomfortable. But, for the most part, we stay positive and overall have each other’s backs.
How has your job here allowed you to grow personally and professionally?
It’s definitely helped me become a better person generally. I’ve learned to not let the little things affect me so much. Professionally, I’ve never been in any type of supervisory role before so there’s been some learning to do … and, I’m STILL learning. I’m constantly trying to be the best supervisor I can be, and to be the type of leader I would want to lead me.
What might surprise people about your job, or what’s one thing people don’t know about your position?
I’m not really sure if there’s something that would necessarily surprise people. People might not know the amount of planning and preparation the supervisory teams put in on a daily basis to try and ensure the operations side of things runs smoothly. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not complaining. I actually welcome it.
What advice would you give to a young professional searching for a job like yours?
Be patient and be nice to people. It took me a little while to find out that this can go a long way. When I first started here, the thought of being a supervisor never crossed my mind. Now, I have a great position at a great organization that’s making big changes for the better. I feel pretty good about where I’m at.