Austin-Travis (TX) County EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez to Retire after 40-Year Career

A headshot of Austin-Travis County EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez.
Austin-Travis County EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez (Photo/Austin-Travis County)

Austin-Travis County EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez will be retiring at the end of May with 40 years of experience in Emergency Medical Services (EMS)  including fire service, state government, private sector, and municipal third service models.   

Chief Rodriguez was hired after a national search by the City of Austin as Deputy Director in 2006 and promoted to Chief of Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) in 2008. Chief Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management Administration from West Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in Ministry from Liberty University.  


Chief Rodriguez completed training through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and is an Improvement Advisor specializing in EMS.  He also served on the Technical Expert Panel of the EMS Agenda 2050 project. As one of ten members of the Agenda 2050 project, Chief Rodriguez is playing a pivotal role, along with experts from across the nation, in developing the future vision of the EMS industry. He is a founding member of the Texas EMS Alliance (TEMSA) and serves on the TEMSA board. 

His creative spirit and passion for innovation has helped make significant strides towards the ongoing improvement of patient care, system efficiency and employee resilience in Austin. He has been instrumental in convening community stakeholders to address a wide range of issues related to homelessness and is working to help improve social equity and access to quality healthcare services in underserved populations. 

In his retirement Chief Rodriguez plans on enjoying his time with his wife, son and daughter, and their pets to include playing tunes on his guitar and building projects in his wood shop.  

Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano announced that “the search for our next EMS Chief will start soon” and has appointed Assistant EMS Chief Jasper Brown as Interim EMS Chief.

Interim Chief Brown has been with the department for 23 years and began his career with ATCEMS as a Communications Medic. He has served the department at the ranks of Commander, Division Chief, Chief of Operations, and previously Chief of Staff for a little over 5 years.  

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