Moving Behind-the-Scenes: A Small Business Success Story

How does a medical professional take skills learned in the field and translate them into a new career? One path forward is entrepreneurship. Today the CPR & First Aid Blog talks with Josh Dishaw, founder of RESTART in Middlebury, Vermont. 

Q: Josh, thank you for speaking with us. Would you start by sharing a little about your background?

A: Of course. I started by getting my undergrad degree in geology, which was a terrible idea! I then joined my local volunteer fire department when I was 21. I moved into EMS from there and spent the better part of 18 years as a pre-hospital medic.

For the past five years, my full-time job has been teaching Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS), and more. My business contracts these education services out to hospitals, bringing high-quality Association education to hospital staff.

Q: What inspired you to switch from working as a medic to owner-operator of a training company?

A: I love a challenge, and I felt that I had reached the highest point I could go in EMS. I didn’t want to have to fight feelings of complacency in my work.

I knew I wanted to do something different, but I also wanted to keep helping people. So I returned to school in 2010 and earned my master’s degree in education. That degree helped me conceive of my business, where I marry classroom education with healthcare.

Q: You have a unique approach to training. Would you tell us more?

A: I went to a non-traditional education program, and it taught me that every person in a classroom is going to learn in their own unique way.

Knowing that, in my program I take AHA’s instruction material and lay the information out for everyone to embrace in their own way. I then use open-ended questions to get everyone talking and working as a team. The important technique here is to use what comes naturally.

For example, when discussing a technique, I ask the class “why this method?” Someone typically responds, but usually only gives part of the answer. I take that and ask the classroom to elaborate. Soon we have everyone talking and the class has figured out the right answer without my having to do much one-way lecturing.

Q: What do you view as the key to your continued growth and success?

A: It goes back to fighting complacency. When you stop being a student yourself, you’re going to get stuck. Be receptive to new techniques and ideas.

Q: What would you advise to others who also want to expand their careers?

A: Keep an open mind and look for a niche you would like to be involved in. It’s tough, particularly when you want to do something familiar in a new way. You need grit, and you need to get out there and talk to people. If you have a good product, get it out there and let word-of-mouth work for you.

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