We Are Austin's First Responders

We are Austin's First Responders

We Are Austin's First Responders

About Austin EMS Association

(Formerly known as Austin-Travis County EMS Employees’ Association)

Through the unified voice of the AEMSA, we empower medics to advocate for a rewarding, safe, and healthy career with strong benefits and fosters the practice of progressive medicine.

Association Presidents

Selena Xie
Anthony Marquardt
Steve Stewart
Chebon Tiger
Randy Vickery
Jason Martin
Dave Donnelly
Nolan Lujan
Vance Kirkhuff
Dave Williams

Association Accomplishments

Union Activity

  • 2003– affiliation with Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT)
  • 2011– EMS Civil Service placed on ballot
  • 2012– Voters approve EMS Civil Service to be adopted by City of Austin in November 6th election
  • 2019– Executives and BOD vote to rename the association to “Austin EMS Association” focusing on all employees who are city of Austin employees with the dept having an ILA agreement with Travis county.


  • 2005– SB706/HB1195- EMS Meet and Confer (M&C)- died in Senate committee after passing House
  • 2007– SB1104/HB1079- EMS M&C- passed through legislature and signed in to law by then Gov. Rick Perry
  • 2011– HB554/SB1351- EMS personnel from 3rd service providers included in TLGC 143- Municipal Civil Service for Firefighters and Police Officers


  • mid 1990s– City of Austin sued by EMS employees for violation of FLSA overtime pay law- employees prevailed arguing that employees should not be covered under the police 7K exemption from OT
  • 2005– City of Austin sued for the second time by EMS employees for violation of the FLSA overtime pay law- employees prevailed after changing workweek from 56 hours to 48 hours
  • 2004– Association supports DCs suing the COA for illegal overtime pay issues (resolved in 2014)
  • 2018– Association sues City on behalf of members due to illegal removal of accrued benefit time and prevails


  • 2008– First contract negotiation between the association and the COA
  • 2013– Second contract negotiation between the Assoc and the COA. First contract negotiated under Civil Service
  • 2018– Third contract negotiation between the Assoc and the COA

Meet Our Board

On the Scene and Off

Selena Xie, President

Selena grew up in Dallas, TX. She went to Amherst College, majoring Economics and Political Science. She moved to Austin after college to work as an Americorps VISTA member at Texas Impact tracking disaster relief bills after Hurricane Harvey. She decided to go back to direct service as a medic with Austin-Travis County EMS. She is a Clinical Specialist and has worked at ATCEMS for 7 years now and has previously served on the Workforce Committee, Bargaining Committee, Political Action Committee, and Executive Board. She has enhanced her medical practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is also a nurse at Dell Seton Medical Center’s Surgical ICU.

Cassi Lydon, Vice President

Cassi has been with the Department since January of 2006. Cassi is originally from rural Nevada and went to college in Oregon before moving to Texas when she accepted the job at ATCEMS. She was hired when the Department was dual paramedic and is now a Clinical Specialist. Cassi served on the BOD as an at large representative from approximately 2008 to 2015; Cassi brings institutional knowledge from where we first started with our initial meet and confer contracts up through civil service; She was also active on the workforce committee. “I am excited to get involved again in a bigger way and look forward to what the next two years will bring.” When Cassi is off duty, she is a voracious reader, loves going to the theater and movies, travels frequently, and loves to cook and bake.

Matt Paul, Secretary

Matt has been on the Board of Directors for over 6 years and has been involved on our bargaining committee. Matt is a Rescue Clinical Specialist. He has starred in Nightwatch and First Responders Live. Matt also is a Master Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy.

Ty Green, Treasurer

Ty is our Communications Board Member. He has worked for ATCEMS for 3 years and is also working toward his paramedic. He is a Clinical Specialist in Comm. He has been involved in EMS since he was 14 years old. Before getting his EMT the summer of 2015, he was an explorer for the department. He has also worked in law enforcement at the Kyle Police Department and fast food joints while in high school. He enjoys traveling, cooking, casual reading, and spending time with family. He’s a total extrovert and loves being around people. He can be stubborn and hard-headed at times but always with good intentions.

Phil Barquer, Board Member

Phil is a Clinical Specialist and in our Rescue division. He has been with the department for 2.5 years and has had a long history in EMS. He has been in EMS for 13 years. He worked as an ocean lifeguard/EMT, Firefighter EMT and Paramedic in Southern California. When he left California, he moved to Albuquerque and worked as a paramedic on an ambulance and SWAT paramedic for UNM EMS consortium assignments to NMSP. He left Albuquerque to work as a contract paramedic and training officer overseas in the Middle East. He moved back home to New Braunfels and it brought him to ATCEMS. He enjoys traveling, SCUBA diving and training. But his dogs consume most of his time. What is left he floats the Guad or Comal or works OT to fund his next vacation.

Bryan Fitzpatrick, Board Member

Fitz is a returning member of the association BOD. He served in a number of capacities over the past 10 years, including: PAC, Treasurer, and vice president. He has been on the bargaining committee for three of the association’s meet and confer contracts, including the very first one. With over 26 years of experience in the department, he can help add some historical perspective as the BOD endeavors to move forward in the assistance of bettering work conditions for our hard-working employees.

Rilie Flanagan, Board Member

Rilie has been with the department for 3 years. This will be his first year on the Board of Directors. Rilie looks forward to serving the membership for 2020.

Jon Kalinowski, Board Member

Jon loves long walks with his dog. And short walks with his dog. To be honest, he just really likes his dog. He has worked at ATCEMS for 2.5 years and is currently a Clinical Specialist in the Field. Before ATCEMS, Jon has 9 years in Illinois working for a private service, fire department, and teaching at a community college.

Shannon Koesterer, Board Member

Shannon is the chair of the Austin Paramedic Relief Fund. She is a Clinical Specialist and has been with ATCEMS for 3.5 years. She moved from New York where she worked EMS for 13 years with Rockland County, Westchester County, the Bronx, and the City of Yonkers. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, yoga, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and cooking.

Will Morse, Board Member

William Morse has worked over 17 years in health care. Will spent 13 years of his career at University Medical Center Brackenridge in the ICU and Emergency Dept. He has worked at ATCEMS for over 4 years.

Jake Palmer, Board Member

Jake is chair of StratComm and has worked at ATCEMS for 3 years. He is a Clinical Specialist and comes from Acadian Ambulance. He grew up on his family ranch in LaRue, TX raising cattle, chickens, goats, rabbits and corn. He has a BS in Biology from Texas A&M University with a minor in business administration in 2012. He spends most of my free time with his Boston Terrier Tate and traveling.

Matt Pearson, Board Member

Matt is a 14-year employee of ATCEMS with over 20 years of experience in EMS. He is married and has a very cute dog named Lola.

Walt Settlemeyer, Board Member

Walt is the chair of the Health and Safety Committee. He blends Defensive Tactics with jiu jitsu to create a highly effective system for our providers and all of our regional partners to go home safe at the end of each shift. He has been a Clinical Specialist in Rescue for 19 years and in EMS for 27 years. He started his career in Fire Service at Long View FD in Long View, NC. Then he worked for Lincoln County EMS and Gaston County EMS both in North Carolina.

Caiti Thornhill, Board Member

“It’s Caiti from Comm”.  A commander in Communications, Caiti has been with ATCEMS since 2011 and is a founding member of the ATCEMS Peer Support team. She got started in the medical field back in high school in Alaska before moving to the toasty warm state of Texas in 2009. When she’s not working Caiti can be found crafting away (Jane of all trades, Master of none), volunteering to run doggie playgroup at WCRAS in Georgetown, or hanging out with her own dogs who are way better than Kalinowski’s.